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Behavior Issues


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#1 darter79

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 08:32 AM

In hopes of sounding like a bad parent I'm going to put this out there.  My daughter (she is only 7 but going on 13) is crazy competitive, really hard on her self when she makes mistakes to the point she explodes. I remember one rounds where she had an even par round going and made a bogey and lost her s***. That followed with a dumb bogey followed by a 4 putt. How many other juniors (specially females) have the same issue with what I see as being a bit over dramatic on the golf course. From what I seen it looks common with girls. Even like this when we practice is something is off that day she looses it.  How do each of you handle some of these situations. Please no judgement here.


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#2 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:04 AM

In another endeavor, I was dealing with an adult (going on 7) throwing a similar fit. When I asked why she was acting like that, she said ďbecause Iím a perfectionist!Ē When I told her she didnít even have the skill to be good let alone perfect, she look stunned.
Iíve seen this behavior in a number of people and itís almost always a case of their ego writing checks their abilities canít cover. I donít mean this judgmentally, but is it possible youíve instilled a little too much of a Ďprincessí attitude in your daughter? Again, no judgment. I donít have kids and I can only imagine how difficult it must be to strike a balance between raising them with confidence and balancing it with humility.

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#3 Dpavs

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:38 AM

If she truly wants to be good at golf she needs to be able to put her emotions in check and leave the last stroke behind her so that she can play the next one. This is not something kids can do easily but if I was in that situation I would start by helping her understand this. She already wants to do well of course which is why she gets upset... now she just needs to understand that to do well, controlling the mental part of the game is a must.

Just my two cents of course.

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#4 heavy_hitter

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:39 AM

I have this discussion with a few people all of the time, Darter.  In team sports you have an outlet to get rid of your anger.  Football you hit a little harder, basketball you lean in and throw a hard foul, baseball/softball you slide harder throw harder hit harder, in soccer you kick harder or run harder.

There is ZERO outlet in golf.  If you swing harder you throw off tempo and rhythm.  You can't run faster or hit harder.  It is our job to teach them how to react.  I was watching a kid the other day and if he hit a bad shot he would yell.  As a spectator I had no problem with it.  Gets rid of the anger.  I have had discussions and have yelled at my son plenty of times about doing stuff that I didn't like.  I finally realized that the problem isn't him, the problem is me.  They do it to get a reaction and to let the PARENT know they are disappointed.  I don't react to it anymore unless it is damaging to his equipment or damaging to the course.  If he misses a putt, I walk away to the next hole.  If I can't see it, I can't react to it and he can't get a reaction out of me.  I did turn around when he buried his SC putter in the ground off a green.  I am not replacing a $380.00 putter.

It is our job to teach, and then teach some more about behavior.  They have to get mad and they have to have an outlet.  If they are getting mad it only means they care.  Just have to teach them how tp channel the competitiveness without it disrupting their game and the other players on the course.  I don't know what the right answer is.  If I had the right answer I would write a book and have more money than I do.

It is worse with boy's.

Edited by heavy_hitter, 22 March 2018 - 09:44 AM.


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#5 wildcatden

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:23 AM

My boy definitely has reactions that I want him to control better. It's good that he has fire, but channeling is another issue. Of course, he's 7 so while I can communicate with him that he needs to control his emotions, he is a young, immature kid.  I've been trying to educate him on "channeling his emotions" while riding up the ski lift in Tahoe every weekend of March. Will try again this weekend.


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#6 tatertot

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:29 AM

How important to you is it to stop the behavior?

I've seen parents escort their kids off the course for this kind of behavior.

Dave Stockton tells stories of his dad putting his clubs in the closet for weeks at a time for outbursts like this. And he was much older than your daughter.

The lesson can be taught, and quickly. How badly do you want to teach it?
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#7 heavy_hitter

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:34 AM

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:29 AM, said:

How important to you is it to stop the behavior?

I've seen parents escort their kids off the course for this kind of behavior.

Dave Stockton tells stories of his dad putting his clubs in the closet for weeks at a time for outbursts like this. And he was much older than your daughter.

The lesson can be taught, and quickly. How badly do you want to teach it?

It is different teaching a kid that is preteen and teen.  A pre-teen kid doesn't know any better.  Pre-Teens are supposed to be immature.  You have to remember that we are talking about a sport.  Just because they get mad or angry doesn't make them a bad person.  It is only a game.  Taking away clubs doesn't work for every kid and can say that pre-teen it is a bad idea.  The last thing you want your kids to think is that they are being disciplined for getting upset at playing a game.  Kids are supposed to be competitive and if you are going to be competitive you are going to get upset at times.  If a teen and you wrapped a club around a tree, that is a different story.

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#8 tatertot

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:40 AM

View Postheavy_hitter, on 22 March 2018 - 10:34 AM, said:

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:29 AM, said:

How important to you is it to stop the behavior?

I've seen parents escort their kids off the course for this kind of behavior.

Dave Stockton tells stories of his dad putting his clubs in the closet for weeks at a time for outbursts like this. And he was much older than your daughter.

The lesson can be taught, and quickly. How badly do you want to teach it?

It is different teaching a kid that is preteen and teen.  A pre-teen kid doesn't know any better.  Pre-Teens are supposed to be immature.  You have to remember that we are talking about a sport.  Just because they get mad or angry doesn't make them a bad person.  It is only a game.  Taking away clubs doesn't work for every kid and can say that pre-teen it is a bad idea.  The last thing you want your kids to think is that they are being disciplined for getting upset at playing a game.  Kids are supposed to be competitive and if you are going to be competitive you are going to get upset at times.  If a teen and you wrapped a club around a tree, that is a different story.

Getting upset s different than losing control and throwing a tantrum. It sounds like the OP's child is having unacceptable issues. They need to told there are boundaries, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, on the course and in life.

Like you said, in soccer, if you ar mad you run harder. But you don't kick another player.

Seven is the perfect age to set these boundaries. They are not being disciplined for being upset ... They being disciplined for losing control of themselves.
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#9 DavePelz4

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:47 AM

View Postdarter79, on 22 March 2018 - 08:32 AM, said:

In hopes of sounding like a bad parent I'm going to put this out there.  My daughter (she is only 7 but going on 13) is crazy competitive, really hard on her self when she makes mistakes to the point she explodes. I remember one rounds where she had an even par round going and made a bogey and lost her s***. That followed with a dumb bogey followed by a 4 putt. How many other juniors (specially females) have the same issue with what I see as being a bit over dramatic on the golf course. From what I seen it looks common with girls. Even like this when we practice is something is off that day she looses it.  How do each of you handle some of these situations. Please no judgement here.

There was a series on the Esquire channel about young kids golfing.  I think it was called The Short Game.  You should be able to find it on YouTube. Some of the kids had some serious attitude challenges when they hit bad shots.  It might help to show her those shows and ask what she thinks of the kids behavior.

As an aside, some of the parents in that show were terrible, too.

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#10 darter79

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 10:53 AM

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:40 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 22 March 2018 - 10:34 AM, said:

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:29 AM, said:

How important to you is it to stop the behavior?

I've seen parents escort their kids off the course for this kind of behavior.

Dave Stockton tells stories of his dad putting his clubs in the closet for weeks at a time for outbursts like this. And he was much older than your daughter.

The lesson can be taught, and quickly. How badly do you want to teach it?

It is different teaching a kid that is preteen and teen.  A pre-teen kid doesn't know any better.  Pre-Teens are supposed to be immature.  You have to remember that we are talking about a sport.  Just because they get mad or angry doesn't make them a bad person.  It is only a game.  Taking away clubs doesn't work for every kid and can say that pre-teen it is a bad idea.  The last thing you want your kids to think is that they are being disciplined for getting upset at playing a game.  Kids are supposed to be competitive and if you are going to be competitive you are going to get upset at times.  If a teen and you wrapped a club around a tree, that is a different story.

Getting upset s different than losing control and throwing a tantrum. It sounds like the OP's child is having unacceptable issues. They need to told there are boundaries, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, on the course and in life.

Like you said, in soccer, if you ar mad you run harder. But you don't kick another player.

Seven is the perfect age to set these boundaries. They are not being disciplined for being upset ... They being disciplined for losing control of themselves.


She has been disciplined on her actions, to me it have to be a bit more excessive to take her off the course, I don't think its gotten to that level yet. She played competitive sports since she was 4 so she has fire (good) but unable to control it (bad).  Its import to teach her how to control it which we are trying to do. She hates loosing hates making mistakes. Part of who she is an no idea where she gets this from. She gets mad making a 95 on a spelling test.

Just trying to see how others handle it or have dealt with it.  She not breaking clubs over trees.


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#11 Sean2

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:04 AM

The thing about golf is it will always be a journey, never a destination. Sometimes we find ourselves on six lane highways, at other times we are on a two lane road with lots of potholes. There is no "perfect" in golf. How we handle adversity on the golf course can have a big impact on how we play.

For example, after your daughter got upset, she followed that up with some bad holes. Anger, tension, frustration can only result in poor swings. McIlroy was asked how many really good drives he hits in any given round. He said one or two. Hogan said he hit three perfect shots per round.

As amateurs we are going to hit our share of poor shots. Getting upset about it is counterproductive. I have seen people shrug off a poor shot and continue to play well. I have seen people get upset, stay upset, and watch their round go down hill.

There is usually something positive to take away on any hole, even if you score a triple: perhaps you got up and down, or made a long putt, or hit a good tee shot. How we psychologically recover from those bad holes will have a lot to do with how we play from then on.

In any case, if someone is looking for perfection in golf the only thing she will find is frustration.

Edited by Sean2, 22 March 2018 - 11:04 AM.

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#12 heavy_hitter

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:15 AM

View Postdarter79, on 22 March 2018 - 10:53 AM, said:

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:40 AM, said:

View Postheavy_hitter, on 22 March 2018 - 10:34 AM, said:

View Posttatertot, on 22 March 2018 - 10:29 AM, said:

How important to you is it to stop the behavior?

I've seen parents escort their kids off the course for this kind of behavior.

Dave Stockton tells stories of his dad putting his clubs in the closet for weeks at a time for outbursts like this. And he was much older than your daughter.

The lesson can be taught, and quickly. How badly do you want to teach it?

It is different teaching a kid that is preteen and teen.  A pre-teen kid doesn't know any better.  Pre-Teens are supposed to be immature.  You have to remember that we are talking about a sport.  Just because they get mad or angry doesn't make them a bad person.  It is only a game.  Taking away clubs doesn't work for every kid and can say that pre-teen it is a bad idea.  The last thing you want your kids to think is that they are being disciplined for getting upset at playing a game.  Kids are supposed to be competitive and if you are going to be competitive you are going to get upset at times.  If a teen and you wrapped a club around a tree, that is a different story.

Getting upset s different than losing control and throwing a tantrum. It sounds like the OP's child is having unacceptable issues. They need to told there are boundaries, acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, on the course and in life.

Like you said, in soccer, if you ar mad you run harder. But you don't kick another player.

Seven is the perfect age to set these boundaries. They are not being disciplined for being upset ... They being disciplined for losing control of themselves.


She has been disciplined on her actions, to me it have to be a bit more excessive to take her off the course, I don't think its gotten to that level yet. She played competitive sports since she was 4 so she has fire (good) but unable to control it (bad).  Its import to teach her how to control it which we are trying to do. She hates loosing hates making mistakes. Part of who she is an no idea where she gets this from. She gets mad making a 95 on a spelling test.

Just trying to see how others handle it or have dealt with it.  She not breaking clubs over trees.

Talk to them about the issues, tell them what is going wrong, ask them how to change it.  I hate the term discipline because it has a negative connotation that they did something wrong or are bad people.  I did this to my son and it was the worst thing I ever did to him in regards to golf.  Great kid in school, great kid in public, great kid all around.  Always does what he is supposed to do.  In athletics, he has a different fire that competition brings out.  Honestly, it was about the only time he got in trouble.  Me disciplining him brought tension to our relationship, tension to family.  Best thing I ever did is explain to him that when the behavior begins I am not going to go on any further.  I am going to tell you that we have done enough today and are headed home.  Happened last night and we spent a good evening together shooting baskets, doing homework, and watching hoops on TV.  Leaving the course on your terms is enough discipline.  Many times, especially later in the day, they behave that way just because they are tired.  Sometimes it means they need a break.  Don't let it get you frustrated or to that point where you have to discipline.

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#13 leezer99

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:18 AM

Seven year old girl in this house as well... I'll preface this with the fact that there's very little I know about women / girls but one thing I know is that they want you to listen and they need to have their feelings validated.  The problem with being a Dad is that we want to fix the problem but that's not what they want.  When my daughter gets upset about something I ask her to explain the situation or explain why she is upset to me (get her talking) and no matter what caused it I say something along the lines of 'I can understand why you feel that way' (validation of feelings).  Then I'll implement my favorite tactic of distraction and ask her what she could have done differently or what she'll do differently next time.  It takes her out of the moment of being angry and instead focusing on future actions.  Cliff's notes: vent, validate, distract.

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#14 kekoa

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:21 AM

As a parent, I think we have to enforce the fact that golf at this stage is really to have as much fun as possible.  Of course winning is nice, but it isn't the end all be all.  Hopefully, it is a maturity thing and she learns to eventually grow out of it.

My son never got mad, but used to have meltdowns after a bad hole or shot.  Over the last few months, I've noticed a dramatic improvement in his behavior.  Last weekend he actually started laughing after a bad shot, which was cool to see.
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#15 caniac6

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 11:43 AM

I used to have a bad temper. I played in a group, and was paired with a guy with a bad temper. I saw how this guy's outbursts affected the other guys in the group, and decided how selfish this guy was. I thought that it wasn't fair to others to ruin their round because I was struggling. I came to this conclusion as an adult, and it is probably asking a lot for a kid to do by herself. The thing is, once I stopped getting angry, I played better. Bad shots and bad rounds are just part of golf, and when she realizes this, she won't pressure herself to be perfect. A guy once told me,"If you don't want to play bad,don't play"
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#16 Golfingdawg19

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 12:29 PM

Heavy and I have had tons of discussions about this. I have a friend whose son is very good but he lets his emotions get the best of him. His dad  has gotten to the point that he doesn't caddy for him anymore so that he can learn on his own. My buddy has spoken with tons of parents about this and it seems fairly common for kids to express their emotions on the course. You just don't want it to get to the point of being disrespectful towards another parent/player or to the point where they tear up the course. As the kids grow older and maturity kicks in, most of this stuff will take care of itself. That doesn't mean that a parent can't discuss the situation with the child and explain how things could have been handled differently. In the end, you want your kid to be able to handle adversity and that is something that is really lacking today. The best story I can think of is one that involves Tom Watson and Greg Norman. Bruce Edwards caddied for both of these guys and he wrote a book about his time as a caddy on tour. Someone asked him what the difference between Watson and Norman was. Bruce responded and said that whenever Greg Norman would hit a ball in the middle of the fairway and it landed in a divot, he would get really mad and make a scene about it. Watson when faced with the same situation, said "watch this shot." Its all about the attitude you take in a given situation. You want your kid to be like Zach Johnson and grind for everything they can get. I had a situation with my daughter (10 years old) yesterday when we were practicing. She wanted to argue with me over the help I was trying to give her. I told her that I refused to argue with a 10 year old and she could figure it out on her own. I walked away and went and practiced myself. Will she suffer from this and probably shoot a higher score because she didn't listen to me? Yes, but she has to learn that. We all have to learn when to intervene and when to walk away as hard as that may be for us. There is some great advice on here from people who have walked the same walk you are going through. My advice is to listen to them and learn from it.

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#17 MikekiM

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 12:32 PM

I made a post similar to this during the fall of last year.  I have a son who was so hard on himself with bad shots. Constantly huffing and puffing, swinging his club in anger, smashing his club into the ground, etc.  We took a 3 mos break from tournaments.  We simply stuck to practicing, and playing for fun, never keeping score.  He begun to realize that huffing and puffing and getting angry made his subsequent shots worse.  We went back and looked at previous tournament scores, where I had marked when he blew up, and you could see a pattern developing where after a blow up, he didn't play well the following hole.  Slowly we began to keep score again, and played a couple very easy tournaments, and remarkably his attitude has become tolerable now. Sure he gets upset with a poor shot, or a 3 putt.  But as HH said, everyone does, and it's ok to let that energy out.  But what I've noticed most recently is that he's getting over it quicker now.  He's realizing that the next shot(s) can fix that mistake.  Usually but the time he's to hit the next shot he's calmed down and is in a better state mentally.

I think the time away from golf, and playing just for fun helped a lot with that.  The competition where we are is very tough in some tournaments, and I think he was feeling much of the pressure to try to play well and impress me.
He's definitely improving on the attitude, and it's nice to see it.  Pulling out of tournaments and just playing for fun seemed to work well for us.
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#18 heavy_hitter

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:01 PM

View PostMikekiM, on 22 March 2018 - 12:32 PM, said:

I made a post similar to this during the fall of last year.  I have a son who was so hard on himself with bad shots. Constantly huffing and puffing, swinging his club in anger, smashing his club into the ground, etc.  We took a 3 mos break from tournaments.  We simply stuck to practicing, and playing for fun, never keeping score.  He begun to realize that huffing and puffing and getting angry made his subsequent shots worse.  We went back and looked at previous tournament scores, where I had marked when he blew up, and you could see a pattern developing where after a blow up, he didn't play well the following hole.  Slowly we began to keep score again, and played a couple very easy tournaments, and remarkably his attitude has become tolerable now. Sure he gets upset with a poor shot, or a 3 putt.  But as HH said, everyone does, and it's ok to let that energy out.  But what I've noticed most recently is that he's getting over it quicker now.  He's realizing that the next shot(s) can fix that mistake.  Usually but the time he's to hit the next shot he's calmed down and is in a better state mentally.

I think the time away from golf, and playing just for fun helped a lot with that.  The competition where we are is very tough in some tournaments, and I think he was feeling much of the pressure to try to play well and impress me.
He's definitely improving on the attitude, and it's nice to see it.  Pulling out of tournaments and just playing for fun seemed to work well for us.

The funny thing is, mine doesn't do it in tournaments.  He only does it with me when practicing.  The other funny thing is this, when mine is just out playing and there to have fun he plays much better than when he is keeping score.

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#19 Metzexpress4

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 01:16 PM

Not a parent but I am a certified career coach and pursuing a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling. Leezer99 hits the nail on the head for me. Asking for an explanation and validating her feelings about the situation are key to understanding what your daughter is experiencing. After learning more about what is happening for her, the two of you can work together as Leezer suggests and focus on how to better handle the situation(s) in the future. Becoming aware of what triggers these reactions and gaining insight into her feelings and helping her recognize when she is feeling certain ways will all become a part of creating the plan to change the behavior.
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#20 darter79

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 02:40 PM

View Postleezer99, on 22 March 2018 - 11:18 AM, said:

Seven year old girl in this house as well... I'll preface this with the fact that there's very little I know about women / girls but one thing I know is that they want you to listen and they need to have their feelings validated.  The problem with being a Dad is that we want to fix the problem but that's not what they want.  When my daughter gets upset about something I ask her to explain the situation or explain why she is upset to me (get her talking) and no matter what caused it I say something along the lines of 'I can understand why you feel that way' (validation of feelings).  Then I'll implement my favorite tactic of distraction and ask her what she could have done differently or what she'll do differently next time.  It takes her out of the moment of being angry and instead focusing on future actions.  Cliff's notes: vent, validate, distract.

Love this!!


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#21 darter79

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 02:43 PM

View Postkekoa, on 22 March 2018 - 11:21 AM, said:

As a parent, I think we have to enforce the fact that golf at this stage is really to have as much fun as possible.  Of course winning is nice, but it isn't the end all be all.  Hopefully, it is a maturity thing and she learns to eventually grow out of it.

My son never got mad, but used to have meltdowns after a bad hole or shot.  Over the last few months, I've noticed a dramatic improvement in his behavior.  Last weekend he actually started laughing after a bad shot, which was cool to see.

I try to make it fun and she says she loves it and asks to go everyday of course I do t let her.  Not sure where it comes from outside of her must win at all costs. Winning at this age means nothing.  Ice cream after each tournament regardless of result.

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#22 wjdpar1

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 03:30 PM

When I was a kid many years ago I had the same temper problems described in the previous posts.  I wanted to be perfect and score.

My father once told me he would stop taking me golfing if I couldn't stop the tantrums.

Looking back on it now, I'm not sure anyone could have helped me ( I say me because everyone is different).

I have finally concluded it may have helped if someone took me aside and told me...............you have fallen in love with a sport for which you are ill suited (perfectionist), may lack sufficient talent to be really good, and are too much of a pessimist to ever be happy on the golf course.  I don't know if I could have understood that or not at such an early age (11).

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#23 bwbw

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Posted 22 March 2018 - 09:26 PM

This past weekend at a US Kids event my daughter nearly had a meltdown on 8 (she is 12).  She was yanking her head up all day and ended up in some trees.  I gave her a suggestion about what I thought she should do, but she had another idea and cocked a little attitude with me.  So I told her to play her shot (a much lower percentage play).  She proceeded to duff it, then hit a tree and the ball ended up further back, and finally punched out to the fairway.

In the middle of all of that mess, she raised her voice at me....loud enough that mom heard.  My wife looked at her and basically said if she spoke like that again to me, she would be yanked from the tournament.

What I learned over the fall is how to deal with a pre-teen girl and her emotions.  The biggest thing I have learned is what others have said:  Listen to her.  But the other thing I have learned is to make her take ownership in both her game and her character.  In other words, I am not setting myself up to take the blame for anything she does or says.  She makes her decision and has to take responsibility for her attitude because of results.  All of this is not necessarily easy for me.  My personality is very direct in situations like this.  But, this weekend she learned she has no one to blame but herself.

We usually address behavior issues after the round as well.  But with her in particular, I have learned to be direct about the issue but not beat her up over it right then.  I want her to finish strong.

The upside is after getting a quad on that hole, she turned around and got a par on the next hole and settled back down.  I am hoping this is a sign of maturity on her part.




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#24 kekoa

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 01:12 AM

View PostMikekiM, on 22 March 2018 - 12:32 PM, said:

I made a post similar to this during the fall of last year.  I have a son who was so hard on himself with bad shots. Constantly huffing and puffing, swinging his club in anger, smashing his club into the ground, etc.  We took a 3 mos break from tournaments.  We simply stuck to practicing, and playing for fun, never keeping score.  He begun to realize that huffing and puffing and getting angry made his subsequent shots worse.  We went back and looked at previous tournament scores, where I had marked when he blew up, and you could see a pattern developing where after a blow up, he didn't play well the following hole.  Slowly we began to keep score again, and played a couple very easy tournaments, and remarkably his attitude has become tolerable now. Sure he gets upset with a poor shot, or a 3 putt.  But as HH said, everyone does, and it's ok to let that energy out.  But what I've noticed most recently is that he's getting over it quicker now.  He's realizing that the next shot(s) can fix that mistake.  Usually but the time he's to hit the next shot he's calmed down and is in a better state mentally.

I think the time away from golf, and playing just for fun helped a lot with that.  The competition where we are is very tough in some tournaments, and I think he was feeling much of the pressure to try to play well and impress me.
He's definitely improving on the attitude, and it's nice to see it.  Pulling out of tournaments and just playing for fun seemed to work well for us.

Mike I really enjoyed playing with your kid a few weeks ago.  I only noticed him getting upset once and he was over it very quickly.  Loved seeing the boys chat it up and laugh as they walked down the fairway together.
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#25 BloctonGolf11

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Posted 23 March 2018 - 12:49 PM

From a teacher married to a teacher google Conscious Discipline and read up on the new studies with behavior management. It will change your thinking and mindset. Also, this is not something can be fixed on the course. This needs to be a much deeper conversation with your child if the outbursts are bad enough to cause the issues described. Just my two cents.

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