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Mad Dad Punches Coach

answered 01:41 PM EST, Sun December 16, 2012
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anonymous anonymous
Today my kids basketball coach played the starters all game, even when they were down by 12 in the fourth. My boy is 8 and he lives to play and it just crushed me to see him wanting to play so bad and that d*ck coach just playing starters. 8 year olds. So I went down to ask him to play my son but something happened between the bleachers and the sidelines and by the time I got there I was raging and I just punched him. Now we’re kicked out of the league. I wanted my kid to play and now he can’t play all year. What kind of dad am I. Sh*t like this has been happening to me my whole life. I mean well but f**k it up. My exwife says I am an a**hole and I guess she is right. I don’t want to be an a**hole dad. What do I do?

David Johnson Says...

We all have some difficulty with anger. It is such a powerful motivator that expression is difficult to suppress. Some go so far as to never allow themselves to become angry. Ultimately that is a mistake and may lead to a passive social style that ends in feeling like they never get their needs met. This could be a major contributor to depression for a lot of passive people.

On the other side of the spectrum are people who believe they can't control their anger. At some level we all know we do control and are responsible for ourselves. Flip Wilson made everyone laugh with his excuse "The Devil made me do it!" We laugh because we know that is a lame excuse. But those with anger problems truly believe at some point they lose control, and sure enough their experience makes is seem true.

We are who we believe we are. If we believe we can handle the situation and we do a pretty good job. If we believe we deserve what we want to are willing to do whatever to get it done, we've set ourselves up. If we believe we can't control our anger, we surely will not. Anger gives us the power to control the situation momentarily. Using the anger inappropriately has consequences.

It is evident that you didn't respect the coach because you believe he wasn't treating your son fairly. But you are nearly helpless in this situation. The coach makes the decision and you need to respect him as a well meaning volunteer who carries a difficult responsibility. If you approached him respectfully, you have a chance to influence his decision. If you force your opinion on him, you will lose all influence. But you went even further and got your son kicked out. It probably felt good momentarily to have the power to hit the coach. But soon after you discovered you lost all influence on the situation.

You need to get into counseling before your anger does more damage to your life and your son's. Seek out an anger management specialist. I recommend that you take anger management classes that are readily available and see the counselor.

You have control over your behavior. Your decision to act inappropriately comes in the context of blinding emotion. You need to be able to recognize you are set up for trouble, stop yourself, and give yourself the time you need to decide a more effective approach. You need to repeatedly practice the skill of redirecting your anger into appropriate assertiveness and an ability to retreat without aggression. That skill is not easy to develop, so you will need help. Your persistence and patience will benefit not only your life, but enable you to provide a more appropriate role model for your son. You have already done well to recognize it is your problem to solve. Now you need to follow through for you and your son.

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Page last updated Dec 17, 2012

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