Participating in sports and activities

In this scenario, a teenage son approaches his father about playing lacrosse. For individuals with hemophilia, participating in certain sports or activities may be deemed unsafe or risky. For caregivers, it’s important to help a child strike a balance between staying safe and protected and being active. We’ll explore this scenario using the “directive” and “constructive” approaches to see which approach leads to a mutual understanding between the father and son. Each approach is followed by commentary to provide background on why one approach may have been more effective than the other.

TRANSCRIPT

Transcript

  • Father:

    (holding remote to TV) “Oh, I really like this show, this is a great show.”
  • Tyler:

    “Uh, well, before we actually get into this, there’s something I kind of been meaning to talk to you about Dad.”
  • Father:

    “what’s that?”
  • Tyler:

    “Um, there’s a new lacrosse team at school, and… a bunch of my friends were talking about maybe joining and I was wondering if that would be okay.”
  • Father:

    “Nah, you know, there’s no way I can let you play lacrosse. It’s... You know we’ve had this same conversation when you wanted to play soccer. It is just too risky. It’s just too risky.”
  • Tyler:

    (Sighing) “I know that dad, but every time I try to do something like this, you shut me down. Every. Single. Time.”
  • Father:

    “I don’t shut you down every time Tyler, that’s not fair. I’ve told you if you wanna play, if you want to be involved in playing tennis, if you want to be on the swim team, I’m perfectly okay with that. If you talk to me about football, soccer, lacrosse, those kinds of contact sports, I can’t let you do that, it’s too risky. Now, do you want to talk about swimming and tennis?”
  • Tyler:

    No dad. (Starts to get up from chair) You, you don’t get it. (Fully gets up and walks away) You don’t get it.
  • Dr. Bruce Berger:

    “Why didn’t this go well? The father reacts to his son and shuts down the discussion. The father does not share his concerns and fears with his son, only his anger. The son then reacts and the conversation is shut down, and so is the relationship between the two. What is the probability that this relationship will continue to be strained in the future? Let’s take a look at how this might be done using more appropriate communication.”
  • Father:

    (Holding remote to TV) “Oh, I really like this show, this is one of my favorite shows”
  • Tyler:

    “Uh...Well, well, Dad, before we actually get too into this, there’s something I’ve kind of been meaning to talk to you about.”
  • Father:

    “What’s that?”
  • Tyler:

    “Um, I kind of want to play lacrosse”
  • Father:

    “Really? I didn’t know you liked lacrosse. What, what…Tell me more about that.”
  • Tyler:

    “Well, I don’t... Honestly, I don’t know if I like it yet, ‘cause I haven’t really played. But a bunch of my friends are talking about playing and joining up for the team, and that’s something that I’m definitely interested in doing.”
  • Father:

    “Okay, so, it, it sounds like something that would be a way for you to be with your friends at school, and that’s one of the things that have got you interested in it.”
  • Tyler:

    “Exactly”
  • Father:

    “Okay. Um, can I tell you a little bit about what worries me?”
  • Tyler:

    (Nodding) “yeah”
  • Father:

    “Um. (Pause) I know you’ll be careful, and I trust you Tyler because you do your infusions, and, and you are careful. I start thinking about them with the sticks and the balls out on the lacrosse field, and them not thinking about your condition, and in the heat of the game, I start worrying about somebody hitting you. Uh… and that scares me. That just really frightens me. Even though I know you’ll be careful.”
  • Tyler:

    (sucks in breath) “Well, this is what it always comes back to. We had this conversation when I was thinking about playing soccer, and it’s going the exact same way now. I mean, uh, I don’t even know if there are any sports that there’s no risk of injury at all.”
  • Father:

    “Well, uh, I know you’re frustrated, and I, I know... Let me just say as your dad, um you know, I love you and I want you to be able to do things that are fun for you. Um, and I understand why you want to be with your friends and play with them. Uh, on the other hand, as your father, I’ve got to kind of, also have to help look out for risk, now, a year from now you’re going to go off to college, and you’re going to be making these decisions. And I don’t worry about you Tyler, because you are careful and you do, do your infusions, I worry about other folks on the field, other friends on the field. And that’s just really got me worried. Uh, I imagine you getting hit and bleeding, and that just scares me.”
  • Tyler:

    “Yeah, well, I guess I can’t play then.”
  • Father:

    “And, and, I don’t want it to come off like I’m dictating anything, I really want this to be our decision, because as I said, a year from now, these are going to be your decisions, uh, and you’re going to do what you need to, to protect your health. Um, I would like to talk to you about some other sports that you might be able to play with your friends that would be less risky. Would you be willing to do that right now?”
  • Tyler:

    (sighing) “uh, I don’t think so right now dad.”
  • Father:

    “Okay, um, like I said, I know you’re really disappointed. Um, when you feel like you’re ready to talk about some other stuff, uh other sports, I’d really like to be able to do that, and you just let me know.”
  • Tyler:

    “Okay, fair enough”
  • Father:

    “Alright”
  • Dr. Bruce Berger:

    “Overall, why was this more effective? The father is willing to explore his son’s reasoning and desires to play lacrosse. The father supports his son and is being careful and using his infusion. The father expresses his fears and concerns, rather than his anger. He acknowledges his son’s frustration rather than dismissing it. He asks if he and his son can talk about other activities that involve less risk but allow him to still be with his friends. When his son indicates that he is not willing to discuss this right now, the father respects the son’s decision. Generally speaking, the father listens to and respects his son. He allows his son’s input rather than shutting it down. An important point needs to be made. Ultimately, the parent is responsible for his child and may have to say no to requests that put the child at serious risk. However, the way this gets done is critically important, as this video illustrated.”

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