I sort of mentioned that Bug had a rough night at his meet a week ago. This week he still seemed to be having anxiety about it. He didn't want to wrestle anymore. He didn't want to practice. He didn't want to go to tournaments. When we talked about it Thursday he was on the verge of tears.
I hate to see my children upset, and I definitely do not want to add stress to their lives, but I do believe in a healthy level of pushing your child, so here's how we handled it.
1. I gave him time to walk away from our conversation and calm down. There was no reason he needed to be worked up into a panic about it. Giving him 15 minutes to walk away and calm down did wonders.
2. We let him know that he did NOT have to do anymore tournaments, but quitting the team was not an option - he would still go to practice. We explained that once you make a commitment to a team you cannot just walk away and leave them hanging. Now obviously, youth wrestling is a fairly individual sport. Our club doesn't require you to go to any of the tournaments and it's pretty low stress (I'm sure others are structured differently). However, we didn't want to set the precedent that he could quit a team, and beyond that, we *really* didn't want to set a precedent that when you have a rough night the answer is to walk away.
3. After he accepted that he would still be going to practice and didn't have to do any tournaments, we offered to find him some meets where the groupings were done more by skill level than age. By the time kids are in A's age and weight group, many have been wrestling for 3-4 years, and he's on the low end of many age groups. As a beginner AND a perfectionist, it can be a lot to handle. He thought he would like to try a tournament where he was in a group with kids who were closer to his level.
The first meet we found is next weekend, so we'll see if the new plan works!