Letting go of the kid who walked away.

Discussion in 'General Education' started by PEteacher07, Sep 24, 2021.

  1. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Sep 24, 2021

    I am an elementary teacher, but I also coach a club sport outside of school and primarily coach boys. Most years my teams are elementary/middle school aged. Last season they were upper middle school/freshmen. I need some guidance here because social issues in middle and high school are not the same in elementary so this was all new territory for me.

    I have always been a relationship builder. I made a connection with one of my athletes before I knew about some interpersonal issues as was struggling with. He eventually confided in me what they were. I essentially intervened on him to compel him to tell a parent because he couldn't get help like seeing a counselor or a therapist if his parents didn't know. I got him hooked up with my friend who is a therapist and she started to see him for free. On top of all of this, he began a relationship with another boy who sometimes played with my team and mainly with another. I tried my best to be "Switzerland" because neither boy was out to their families but I also told my athlete that I didn't think it was a good idea.

    Shortly after I intervened, the other boy ended the relationship. They needed to because they were both 14 years old and not ready and they both learned life lessons. My kiddo DID NOT take it well. Other things happened. The ex is going to continue to play and will again be on a different team. I know the ex has moved on and my kiddo said he has moved on. Selfishly, I want my athlete to play because I love and care about him and he's a great player with a magnetic energy. I also think that he shouldn't walk away from something he loves because he hit a couple of bumps in the road. Bumps that he was a willing participant in. He also plays a school sport and I am thinking he wants to "focus" on that sport. I think it's dumb because he's great at both sports and only a freshman. But, I'm being super biased.

    I didn't date in high school 20+ years ago. I don't know what it is like to be gay and/or bisexual. I don't know what it's like to be a teenager in today's day and age. And I mostly deal with elementary school problems. Am I completely off base for thinking that they could move forward and play? I am guessing it's going to be a no and I am going to have to let him go. The drama of high school is totally real....

    I haven't contacted his dad yet. His family upsets me a little bit because they don't communicate well. I'm nervous about it, but I need to just suck it up and do it and get my answer.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 25, 2021

    Unless a child is in immediate physical danger, let it go. Yes, kids that age make bad decisions sometimes. However, they don’t need someone to swoop in and fix everything for them. I have spent my whole career with kids that age, and I like to say that they are learning to become people.
     
  4. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Sep 25, 2021

    He isn't in any danger anymore because I made him tell his parents and they got him into a counselor. And I don't want to fix everything either. He could have a bright future in both sports and that quitting something he loves is setting a precedent to quit other things when he hits bumps in the road. I like your thought about learning to become people!
     
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  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 26, 2021

    Let the kid know your door is always open. That may mean the world down the road.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 28, 2021

    Some people are ready to address sexual orientation at 14, while others need far more time to accept what can be a multitude of situations between their peers, their parents, and extended families. As a parent, I would have been furious that a coach took it upon themselves to take any actions that would force my child to be outed before they were mature enough to choose to who and when they shared that information with. You can wrap it up with a bow by saying you got the child therapy sessions for free, but in truth, you didn't really know how the family and friends of this boy would react, which could have caused a tragic outcome. I think you summed it up accurately when you wrote "Selfishly, I want my athlete to play because . . he's a great player with a magnetic energy." In other words, you will be more likely to win with him on the team.

    Unless you are specifically asked to speak with the father, why not work on the assumption that the family knows how to contact you, should they have questions? Unless you are specifically trained as a therapist giving some space to this young man could be your smartest move - what you don't know could actually end up hurting the student with your good intentions. IMHO, you have overstepped your bounds as a coach.
     
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  7. PEteacher07

    PEteacher07 Cohort

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    Sep 29, 2021

    To clarify, I didn’t compel him to tell his parents about his sexuality. I would never do that and that’s not an emergency. The other stuff he was doing was a safety concern. I knew that he wouldn’t be able to get into counseling unless his parents knew he was struggling with other very unsafe behaviors that he had hidden from them. Someone’s sexual orientation is their own journey and my other athletes who are gay/bi know that I care about them for who they are.

    I am very aware that I am not a therapist which is why I knew I had no business helping him sort things out which is why he needed to tell his parents, so he could talk to a therapist if they saw fit. I just gave them her card. I was thankful he told any adult bc he didn’t need to carry those harmful burdens alone anymore and his parents could help him.

    And yes, of course I want him to play because he’s a good player, but also because he’s a leader, considerate of his teammates and coaches, and a good kid. I want athletes of good character.

    I think parents communicating is a polite thing to do. Just letting me know if they are going to play or not play because our teams are very small. I follow up with all my players from the previous season. It’s not just him.
     

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