“Joshua, can you help us. Daniel is struggling when it comes to sports. You know sports come easy to him, but he has suddenly started saying he doesn’t want to go. When we do get him there he doesn’t even try. Sometimes he just stands there refusing to do anything.
When we encourage him he says ‘he isn’t as good as his brother’. On the occasion, he does kick the ball and we praise him he doesn’t believe us. He compares himself to his older brother ALL THE TIME.
The fact is, Daniel is naturally better at sports, his brother does well due to how much he practices.
What should we do?”
The blessing and the curse of being a younger sibling. Yes, you have companionship, but sometimes children over-identify and strive to become a duplicate of their older idol.
In this specific case. I advised three things.
1) Find a sports class that is unique to him. If his older brother hasn’t done it then there is nothing to replicate. There is no mold to shatter.
2) Stop calling him, Daniel. Call him by his middle name or better yet by the name of his favorite Super Hero. Why? We need to rebrand him to himself! When he hears his name he goes into the same cycle.
‘I am a little brother. I am not as good as my big brother. I can’t do this.”
If we break the cycle in some way then his mind is forced to create new pathways when engaging in these activities.
Say things like “go kick it Flash, no one can stop Wonder Woman, I knew you were going to use your superpowers.”
3) Lastly, give praise on compliments about technique.
“When you kicked the ball it spun like 50 times while going in the goal.
Were those Jaguar legs? It only took four steps to get to the finish line. How did you do that so fast?
In the case of this client, it was reported that things changed overnight!
“Just wanted to let you know that we tried calling Daniel something else (he picked batman) and omg it totally worked!!!
Daniel started hitting with his tennis racquet like he’s been doing it for years! I’ll keep you posted with the progress! Thank you so much!!!!”