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Parents of ADHD Children

Son w/ADHD won't let us watch him play sports

We have a 7 year old son diagnosed last year with ADHD.  He has always had trouble participating in group classes and activities.  We have finally been able to get him involved in organized sports and he has recently started playing baseball on a local league.  He has told us that he really likes playing.

He refuses to allow either my husband or myself bring him to or attend practices.  He willingly goes with his friends and, we are told, participates well and does amazing.

Actual games are starting next week and we are trying to figure out the best way for us to be able to attend. We don’t want to have to rely on other’s to bring him to games and practices constantly and we are just hoping for the chance to watch him play.  It breaks my heart that we’re missing this when it’s been so difficult for him to even participate in the past.

We have never made a huge deal out of sports.  We mainly just encourage him to have fun.  I’m guessing he is afraid of doing poorly and feeling like he’ll disappoint us.  He puts a great deal of pressure on himself.

I am thinking we could kind of just start quietly showing up to practices - maybe more toward the end when he’s less likely to notice but he is very explosive and I don’t want him to stop playing because he somehow feels betrayed.

Obviously this is just one of many struggles we deal with on a daily basis.  I am just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.

And cleats - they are a complete other issue.  lol



I know that you wish things were different…and maybe some day he might feel differently, but until then I think it would be a huge mistake for you to go against his wishes. Not only do you risk a big blow up in front of his peers which will ultimately cause him more anxiety, but you will break his trust.

It sounds like he feels pretty adamant about this which means “violations” will be very upsetting. And it sounds like he has some strong beliefs about it all, even if you don’t know what those are.

Maybe when you are in a relaxing, stress free time with him you could ask him to explain why he would prefer you not be there. Not in an effort to get him to change his mind, but just so you can understand better. Don’t offer reassurances or rebuttals as he talks—just listen.

Maybe after that, once you know his exact concerns and worries, you could get him to agree to baby steps…like at first, maybe he will let you drive him to practice but only stay a few minutes (an amount he agrees to). Then once he sees how that goes he might let you stay longer…and then if that goes well, maybe he will be ok with you driving him to games, etc.  but again, you need to do it on his terms so that you don’t break his trust.

Joyce Mabe
Parenting Coach, school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD, author

Posted by parentcoachjoyce on May 01, 2017 at 6:08pm

Thank you so much for your input.  While it is very hard to be missing out, slow and steady does seem like the way to go.  I appreciate your suggestions on coming up with ways to ease in - I have trouble coming up with strategies and have a tendency to try to do too much too soon.

I just finished reading"The Explosive Child” and this sounds exactly like the procedure for getting through any one of the many difficulties we face. 

Thanks again!

Posted by vktheard on May 01, 2017 at 7:34pm

***I highly encourage you to post this question to ADDitude’s new discussion forums, as well. I think your question would get a lot of attention in the Friendships & Activities forum: ADDconnect is transitioning over to this new forum now.***

This would drive me crazy, not being able to see my child play. Joyce offered sound advice though — you don’t want him to feel you don’t value his feelings and that he cannot trust you. I would definitely talk about the reasons at times when he’s calm and happy.

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

Posted by adhdmomma on May 02, 2017 at 12:43pm

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