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Ask Dr. Shirley Schaye Your Own Question

Dr. Shirley Schaye
Dr. Shirley Schaye, Doctor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1673
Experience:  PhD-Psych; Certif. Psychoanalyst NPAP& NYFS; Memb.APsaA;IPA; Pub.Author; Teach/Supervise Therapy
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My son, who is 12, has played hockey for 3 years and absolutely

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My son, who is 12, has played hockey for 3 years and absolutely loves the sport. He talks about it all the time and can hardly wait for the season to roll around each year. My issue is this, this year he will move in to the PeeWee age category, which is the level where they begin checking. I can tell, and he has kind of admitted to me, that he is very afraid of this aspect of hockey as he doesn't want to get hurt. He broke his collar bone in kindergarten & his foot in 2nd grade. Although these injuries didn't happen while playing hockey, he knows how much those injuries hurt and I'm sure doesn't want to repeat them. As a result, he is a very cautious child (he is also a "worrier"). I'm curious what more I can say to him to help him through this process, and also to somehow gently let him know that if he doesn't get past this fear, his hockey days will be over because this is how it will be from now on? We have registered him for a hockey checking clinic this coming weekend where he will learn how to check and how to get checked. We are really hoping this will help ease his mind although he is very apprehensive about the clinic as well. I might also add that he is a sensitive and thoughtful child and I know that he really hates the idea of hurting someone else too. Please give us some words of wisdom to help him through this difficult issue so that he can continue to play and enjoy the sport he loves.
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Dr. Shirley Schaye :

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. It seems to me that you have been handling your son very well. He is not a little boy --- younger than seven, so he has the capacity to internalize what you are saying. You said he loves the sport, talks about it all the time and can hardly wait for the season to roll around each year. I You've explained very well how he was hurt before --- that it is unlikely to be hurt that way again. I would acknowledge to myself that he is anxious about it but would absolutely not dwell on it. Of course, if he brings it up, I would talk to him about it. I would not, though, raise it with him. You don't want your own anxiety projected onto him. When he brings it up, I would again talk about how the other situations were a fluke.

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Should I address the fact that if he doesn't get over this fear that he won't be able to play anymore, as the coach will admittedly not put him in if he doesn't engage in the game? Or, do I just let that play out and my son will have to decide how to handle it when, and if, that happens?

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

No, I would not do that! I would let it play out. It may be that playing more, he will lose his fear. Also, it wouldn't hurt to talk to him but only if he brings it up. I would say, you don't need to tell your coach all the gruesome details about your fears. Just play. You could talk about your fears at home if you wish.

Dr. Shirley Schaye :

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