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Child Doesn't Like Sports

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My nine-year-old son is not interested in sports, although I was as a child. He's more interested in computers, video games, etc. I'm concerned that I'm raising a geek. I know that's mean to say about your own child, but it's true. How do I feel more comfortable with this kind of son?

A: If you maintain this present attitude, your son will grow up with a low opinion of himself, unappreciated by his mom for who he is. You will continue to see your son as a failure because he isn't the son that you wanted. What a tragedy if both those things were to happen! Your son is not you -- let's begin there. You have labeled him a "geek" because he likes computers and video games, but most of the kids in his age group have similar interests. Although you did you did not grow up with computers and gadgets, they are part of most kids' lives today.

It sounds like you are angry with your son and disappointed in him because he isn't drawn to sports as you were. You need to ask yourself why this bothers you so much. Do you think all boys should play sports in order to be masculine, to grow up right? Are you afraid that you are raising a sissy as well as a geek? Who put those fears in your mind? Unless and until you get help in finding out why this issue troubles you so much, you will continue to send your son the message that he is not what you want in a son. Hearing that repeated message, both directly and indirectly, will harm him immeasurably.

If you can look back into your own childhood, be honest about what you wanted but didn't get, and consider how that has affected you as an adult, you may begin to understand why you feel this way about your son. Giving the Love That Heals, by Hendrix and Hunt, can help you with that examination. I know that to some degree you feel guilty and disappointed for feeling this way about a perfectly wonderful son. A few counseling sessions might be extraordinarily helpful in discovering why you are hurting so much.

Your son deserves a mother who will love him and appreciate him for who he is. You deserve a chance to be that mother. Please get the help that will allow both of you to be who you were meant to be as mother and son. Thanks for having the courage to write.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


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