My Daughter Is a Headcase | Softball Is For Girls
I adamantly disagree with the assumption that girls are headcases simply because they were born with a vagina. It’s one of those myths – you know myths like girls are so sensitive, and girls are just soft, and girls are just not as strong as tough.
I call the BS card on all of those things.
And yes, I am an authority, because I am raising 4 humans born with a vagina and who are NONE of those things.
Girls are strong. Girls are determined. Girls are tough. Girls are persistent. Girls persevere. Girls can do any darn thing they want to.
They can even stand up to pee if they really had to. (And to be fair, to date in my 40+ years I have met a whole lotta men who are headcases, and soft, and whiny, and girly, and coddled, and all those things girls get accused of just because they are girls)
So I also don’t buy into that whole thing that there are pitcher princesses, and that girls need to be handled and coached with kit gloves, and that girls don’t respond to discipline, or that they are all a product of estrogen and are headcases. Challenging sometimes, maybe?
Yes! Girls are different from boys.
Yes, girls respond differently than boys.
Yes, girls can be emotional.(And thank God for that because it means they CARE)
But no where in the laws of the world does it state that emotions are a bad thing. Or that emotions result in a lack of success in life.
Unless of course, your kid is a headcase – which probably means that she suffers more from a case of being TOO HARD ON HERSELF, a PERFECTIONIST, or WORRIED ABOUT DISAPPOINTING OTHERS, or even better…has HIGH EXPECTATIONS.
When children are young, the latter of these traits, being hard on yourself, and being a perfectionist and being worried about others and having high expectations can truly be beneficial.
One of my oldest daughters, she was a headcase when she pitched. If she hit a batter, or walked two – you could pretty much count her out. It was much worse when she was younger. And as she started to grow up and pitch, started learning about the position of pitching, and the GAME OF SOFTBALL, which by the way is a game of errors and mistakes, she lightened up. A little.
She still had high expectations and worked hard to be as perfect as possible. But she stopped blaming herself for the ball dropped in the outfield, or thinking she lost the game because SHE struck out even though the team didn’t score one collective run, or that her error on the field made everyone hate her and wish she broke her ankle so she could never touch the field again.
Because softball….and because life….Well, they are both games of errors and mistakes. We win some, we lose some. We make mistakes, we drop balls, we walk people, we overthrow, we miss the mark of perfection – countless times. On the field and off.
Some days you suck at parenting, suck at work, suck at cooking, suck at everything – and other days you are a rock star. It’s the same with out daughters.
And as our girls become adults, we can’t let them walk around being headcases every time we mess up. Because it is what you do NEXT that counts.
What is most intersting to bosses, parents, college coaches, teachers, God, etc…is what you do after you mess up that counts?
So. How do you help your estrogen laden headcase when she is crying her eyes out or vowing to never pitch again, or thinking she sucks, or wishing she never played softball because she’s not living up to her expectations??
- You explain the game to her. You explain it 100, 200 times, 300 times until she gets it. It is a team sport. And while at the end it may be one batter or one fielder who made the error that didn’t score the winning run, chances are pretty high that there were plenty of those moments that came before. You explain the game to her. Its a team sport. There are 9 people. You tell her to get off her high horse and realize that she is not the only player, that she is not the only one that matters and that the team wins and loses as a TEAM. If your favorite headcase is a pitcher – you explain it even more. Here is a great article to help with that! And we suggest that you do this as many times as it takes.
- We know, you hate seeing your daughter upset. No one wants to see their child upset. The coach yelled or threw a towel. But you do her no favors if you make her excuses. “Well honey, your ankle has been sore, it’s ok,” or “That ball was totally uncatchable,” or “that really wasn’t a strike the umpire rigged the game.” “The coach should have never pulled you out!” NO!!!! NO!!!! Stop that. Dont make excuses. Just don’t. Stop that. Right NOW! Life will not make excuses for her when she is a doctor, or a teacher. She will get a ticket if she runs a red light and won’t be able to make excuses to get out of it. You just support her. You say, you know what, it’s okay – so you messed up, life goes on and that it is what happens next that counts. You say “So what, you had a bad day, a bad moment, it’s OVER!”
- Short memory. You teach her to have a very short memory. This is vital! ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESS. You DO NOT EVER LET 5 MINUTES of one day RUIN the next 23 hours and 55 minutes. Not ever. Not in softball and not in life. And MOM & DAD—y’all need to forget too.
- You help her with options. What could you have done better? What do you think you did wrong? What is your plan to come back from that moment? You are the voice of reason.
- You give her a hug, and a kiss, and you send her back to her team and coaches. You don’t act like an ass-hat and get mad and pout and make her think. You don’t coddle. And you don’t allow her to act like an asshat, or a sissy, or a selfish egotistical player and let her wallow in her misery. You tell her to get the heck over it, get back out there and do her thing.
- You help her learn how to re-channel all that energy she puts into her self loathin into something positive. If the kids that were the hardest on themselves, were able to learn to utilize the energy it takes to be such a perfectionist into something positive – they will never fail. Thoughts, feelings – they are CHOICES. You make sure your kid knows that in every situation in life SHE CHOOSES HOW TO REACT. She chooses.
- You DO NOT BUY IN. Nope. Don’t buy in to the madness. Her behavior is a direct result of her achieving something. Kids only behave certain ways if and when they get the result they desire. So obviously she is getting/gaining something, whether it be sympathy, or an excuse, or whatever – from acting this way.
- You help them understand that worry is a waste of time, and that 99.9% of the things we worry about in life, never come true. So it’s useless expenditure of time and talent.
- You remind her that she is a TEAM PLAYER, and that her TEAM needs her, and that HER TEAM needs her to be mentally strong. You remind her that she is not helping herself, or her TEAM with self pity, or crying.
- Last but not least – you teach your kid that nobody is perfect. Nobody. Nothing. No situation. No life, no game, nothing in life is perfect. So she rolls with the punches and all she can do is make the best out of every situation.
You also just relax, and realize that as she gets older and matures, she will grow out of this, if you her encourage her to and empower her to. She may always be a perfectionist, may always be hard on herself, but eventually she will learn to use this as a way to self motivate rather than self loathe.
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OMG, thank you for this. I have an 8 yr old that is playing her first season and who is very much a perfectionist and extremely hard on herself. She has cried at the majority of her games saying things such as “I let my team down” or “I hate myself” for striking out or being tagged out. And being the most inexperienced player on the team just compounds the problem. Just this past weekend we lost the play offs just to endure the meltdown of the year.
Despite all this, the tears and being the worse player, she wants to play Fall ball and I am hesitant for selfish reasons. Sacrificing family time for practices and games just to see her act so poorly is deflating. I never played sports as a child and never understood the life lessons that could be gained. But your site has helped me realize that this is good for her and I just need to suck it up and step up the parenting game. I have to realize she’s not going to get it in 1 season and that I have to explain the game 100-500 times as you mentioned and hopefully over time she’ll get it. Hopefully over time, she’ll lighten up. 🙂 So thank you.