The followup from the driving mishap
Chase had a great hockey game. He actually had back to back games - played lights out, scored some goals, had some assists and received "played of the game." So I guess my little driving detour had little to no affect on his mental focus. (see yesterday's post!)
Usually, when Chase misbehaves or is unkind, he is able to reflect and come back and apologize later. He did just that last night and explained how he was frustrated, but his response was uncalled for. He said he knew he shouldn't have reacted that way. But, in the moment the stress and anxiety he was feeling took over. He couldn't control it. He and his brother both struggle with impulsivity and anxiety, as do I. They probably get it from me. I was proud of him for being aware of his actions and the way they affected me. He has always been a kind, empathetic kid.
I wasn't worried about his ability to apologize, reflect and recognize that he was being an entitled brat - ha! It's also good for him to see me make a mistake and for me to apologize to him. We talked about how driving, maps and directions are not my strong suit, but that is something I am working on. I was sorry for causing him unnecessary worry. He must be kind to his mom though, as I spend my days carting him to and from his activities.
I can't help but wonder - what kind of anxious, wound up children am I creating? These are the things I worry about at night. How much of it is nature vs. nurture? How much of his emotional response is due to the culture in which he has been exposed? With all of the endless sports practices, extra curricular activities and playdates he rushes to? But at the same time, as my therapist says, for these overly active, energetic kids, what else are they to do with all this social energy? They enjoy playing sports, thrive off of it in fact. He wants to participate in all of it, and he actually begs to play more things, but we have to tell him no. So who am I to say put an end to all of it. As soon as my kids tell me they aren't happy playing hockey, I will be the first to tell them they can quit.
Recently, I had a conversation with a mom who has all high school aged kids. She is a friend of mine on my tennis team, and we discussed that as these children get older, it is important for them to maintain structure and to always be involved in sports - not only to stay out of trouble, but for exercise and to teach them time management. The socialization and break from academics is also really important. I had this chat with her on our way to play tennis together - something we do together for FUN! And the fact that I still play sports for fun, because it makes me happy, is something that I hope my kids will continue to do for the rest of their lives. I hope that they will always find the joy in these activities. I don't want them to feel stress and anxiety over it. Evan still plays men's league hockey because he loves the sport - hell we went to Israel this summer to watch him play it!
I have come a long way in the last few years to escape the anxious feelings I used to wake up with everyday. I don't get worked up or nervous before tennis matches like I used to in years past. I have grown a lot to get to this point where I am confident in myself, sure of who I am and where I am going. I want to make sure I am giving my children the proper tools to feel confident and content in their own lives as well.
So as I look at Chase, I hope that the conversations we continue to have help him grow and develop into a strong, confident boy. I know I can only model vulnerability and teach all of my children how to be true, authentic people. I just hope they will continue to be kind, empathetic people to themselves and others and find joy in the things they love doing.