“Please Don’t Let My Sister Play Soccer” – an 8 year olds plea to Mum
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This year, my son has started playing soccer. At age 8 it seems we were a little slow off the mark but now we are here, he is having a ball. After a couple of night time training sessions, my daughter aged 9 expressed an interest in also playing. Registration was long gone, but the coach told her she was happy for her to have a kick with the team at training. So the following week Bella dressed herself in blue to match the team and we put on her the spare soccer socks and boots of her brothers.
After soccer training that night my son Will tells me at bedtime that he is sad and that it had hurt his feelings to see his sister in soccer clothes because as he put it, “soccer is for me”. Now I usually have an arsenal full of solutions to little people related problems, but this? It was obvious he didn’t want his sister invading his sporting space, but what mother tells her daughter she can’t play sport!
I began by telling him that I understood how he felt, and could see he was really enjoying his time at soccer. But I also told him that as Bella’s mum, it would be the wrong thing for me to do to tell her she couldn’t play, just like I felt it would of been wrong to tell him he couldn’t play. I could see him thinking about this, and as he did I told him that he may just have to find a way to be ok with his sister playing even if he couldn’t at the moment. We ended our conversation with me telling him that if he could try and work out a way to be ok with it, I would try and work out a way I could engage Bella in an activity that she equally liked.
Oblivious to her brothers concern, I approached Bella with the suggestion of another extra curricular activity. She was not interested. While we all want our kids playing sport, perhaps it wasn’t the answer here. I needed to give Bella something she could be equally excited about, then it hit me. Bella’s two favourite things in the world, my time and macaroons. So I put it to her that when Will went to training we have a macaroon date together. With eyes wide I got the nod. So now when Will goes to soccer training, Bella and I have a macaroon date.
While it may not be as ideal an outcome as what I would of liked, swapping soccer for macaroons I know sounds crazy, but I have managed to do what all parents strive for. To foster positive sibling relationships, and for each of our kids to be happy doing things they love. I would love to know in the comments what you would of done if presented with this problem.