Why won’t he talk to me? Advice for baseball moms
How many of you baseball moms out there have experienced something like the following …
Your son comes home from a game. It is obvious that he is upset. Maybe an 0-4 with three strikeouts. Maybe got pulled from the mound in the 1st inning. Maybe a crucial base running mistake in the last inning. Who knows? It could be anything. You cautiously approach him and say “What’s wrong? What happened at the
game.” He responds with a short “I don’t want to talk about it.” You press a little more about what’s wrong because you know your support is needed and as a mom, you love him and want to show him you care enough to help. He says, much louder this time, “I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. LEAVE ME ALONE!“
Such is the dilemma faced by moms and their baseball sons.
Hang in there moms and try not to take it personally. It has nothing to do with him not trusting you enough to talk. It’s just the way most males are when things go bad.
Beyond the obvious physical differences, males and females are quite different. Whether that’s caused by genetics, the way they are raised, or a little of both is still hotly debated in the sciences. Clearly, the way boys and girls typically handle stress is different. Girls tend to be much more vocal and quickly seek out people they trust to share and vent their feelings. Boys just want to be alone. This, of course, presents a problem when the two sexes collide. If a son says to his mom “I don’t want to talk” she sometimes will incorrectly interpret that as “I don’t trust you enough to talk to you” because to her, talking to someone in bad times is a sign of trust. She is hurt and doesn’t understand.
There is a reason why males like their “man caves.” It gives them a safe, quiet place where they can be alone to process their stress. When they are done processing and have tried to solve the problem themselves, only then will they start talking and possibly seek out support. When mom tries to follow them towards their “cave,” boys get very upset because they interpret that as mom saying “you are not capable of handling this yourself.” Their ego talks from there.
As Dr. John Gray wrote in Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, dealing with boys is like learning how to use a rubber band. If you want to shoot a rubber band you keep one finger still and you pull back the rubber band with the other hand. If both hands move back, the rubber band will never stretch and therefore will not snap back when let go. Boys are similar. When a boy is feeling anxious or stressed out, he will more likely move away. If moms stay still and do not follow them, the boys will eventually snap back when they are ready. Usually when they get hungry!
In short, although it may be extremely hard to do, give your stressed out ballplayers the space and freedom to move away. If you do, chances are good he will snap back quicker and come to you for support when he is ready. Moving towards him to try and get him to talk will actually make the process take longer with more stress added to both of you.
With all the failure associated with baseball, being a baseball mom is certainly not an easy job. We boys don’t make it any easier.
God bless the baseball moms of the world!