Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Sibling Relationships > Athletic Son Getting More Attention
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Athletic Son Getting More Attention

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

Q: Our sons are ten, nine, and six. The nine-year-old is an exceptionally good athlete. As parents we are actively involved in each child's life, but how do we encourage one without making the others feel they fall short when they are not as accomplished?

A: In our culture, a young, exceptional athlete draws a lot of positive attention. He starts being treated very differently by both his peers and other adults. It's very important for the parents of such children to place their outstanding athleticism in a healthy context. Parents must be careful not to allow their star athletes to consider themselves better or more deserving than others simply because they are exceptional in this one arena.

Your other two sons, especially your oldest boy, are readily aware that their brother is a talented athlete and receives special attention for his athletic success. Withholding enthusiasm or encouragement for your son's athletic pursuits neither serves him nor his siblings. It's every parent's responsibility to appreciate the natural talents of his kids. Make sure that you follow through on that responsibility for all three of your sons.

Allow your nine-year-old to view himself as much more than just a talented athlete. Notice all his special qualities, who he is (e.g., kind, compassionate, funny), not just what he does well. Don't forget to give your other boys the same attention. Celebrate all their respective talents and interests. They will come to know you as parents who really pay attention to the special qualities that they possess, while not valuing one son's gifts or skills above the others.

At this stage, it might be quite hard for your oldest son to feel inferior to his younger brother as an athlete. Some sensitivity to this potential problem is probably in order. I am sure that you will make all of your sons feel like you love and appreciate each one "the best." Thanks for writing.

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 FamilyEducation.com 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.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!