Thursday, December 15, 2011

Father Attacks Son After Boy's Team Lost a Basketball Game

As I interview mature adults about their "teen journeys," I've seen just about every kind of "baggage" - unresolved feelings about how their parents treated them. I was reminded of this as I read this article by Jonathan Wall, "Man arrested for punching son at basketball tournament."

Apparently, his son was a player on the losing team, and his father became so enraged that he grabbed his son and began punching him in the face - in full view of other parents, who stopped the attack and called police.

Some thoughts...
  • Why did the father react with rage? There are so many other ways he could have reacted. To me, this is an example of an adult who, when he was an adolescent himself, presumably didn't exercise his developing prefrontal cortex much. In brain development, it's a use-it-lose-it proposition, and so he did little or no work to form the connections for his foundation for critical thinking. Sad.
  • The father is like many parents. He thinks youth sports is all about winning and losing. It's not. It's about developing physical fitness, social skills, and - most important - aspects of personal strength. Sad that so many parents don't understand this, because it's an opportunity to use sports to help a child grow stronger for the challenges of adult life.
  • The father committed a crime against his son. He needs to be found guilty and serve time.
  • In the primitive times in which we live, anybody can become a parent. Anybody. Unlike driving a car, using a firearm or working in a skilled profession, you don't need a license. You don't have to certify that you're competent to raise a child.
  • Nobody died. But psychological damage has been done, and this fourteen-year-old boy is going to grow up with some serious baggage.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use photo purchased from

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