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An (Un)Healthy Obsession?

 
 
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 06:08 pm
Mo has become obsessed with golf. It has been building ever since the weather started getting nicer and over the last week, while he was on spring break, it boiled over. He has another week of spring break and I'm wondering if I should try to rein it in.

For example, this week he's had three lessons, hit at least 1,000 balls at the driving range and played four rounds (2 by himself).

He's outside, doing something he enjoys, getting some exercise. All good.

The guys in the pro shop are always telling us what a great kid he is (and have even made an exception to let him visit the driving range or play on the course without parental supervision. Really great!

Something about it just gets my Spidey Sense tingling but I don't want to put the brakes on something is actually kind of cool without good reason.

When does a pass time tip into obsession?

When does an obsession become unhealthy?
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Type: Question • Score: 19 • Views: 3,581 • Replies: 62

 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 06:14 pm
@boomerang,
Hard to tell!

Rule of thumb is that it's when it begins to interfere with other parts of his life. However, say he has the talent, and wants to do the work, to make himself into a professional golfer and that becomes his living......we don't normally see the dedication of an athlete as being an obsessive behaviour, do we?

It kind of IS, but it is often admired.

Can you tell me more about what your spidery sense is saying?
roger
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 06:30 pm
@boomerang,
No kidding, I once took a business management in which the instructor seriously suggest we learn golf. I suppose if he might end up in a business situation, it might not be a bad idea.

I'm not pushing the silly game, but that is one consideration.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 06:32 pm
@dlowan,
I really can't put my finger on it.

Maybe it's just because there aren't a lot (any) kids up there. It's mostly middle aged men from the neighborhood in the afternoons.

I think it's really interesting that he will go up there and play around on his own. He likes it that there's "no pressure and I can just work on some stuff and think about things and try to get better at it".

I do know that there is a counselor at school that Mo admires. Let's call him "Ben". Ben has really helped Mo think through some difficult things and learn how to think things through in a good way. Ben has been a very good influence on Mo.

Ben plays golf (not with Mo) but Mo is trying to convince him to put together a golf team.

I think that somehow that might be the spark that set Mo off.

But Mr. B plays a lot of golf too (and he has also been a very good influence on Mo (and he's Mo's usual golf partner)) and a couple of months ago he bought Mo a new set of clubs.

The new clubs seemed to invigorate Mo's interest in the sport.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 06:34 pm
@roger,
I worked at a company where the golfers comprised the inner circle so I totally believe you.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 07:40 pm
@boomerang,
ok, go ahead and get pissed at me, but...

you didn't worry when the kid walked around in, and went to school in a makeshift ghostbusters outfit, comprised of some vacuum cleaner parts wrapped around his torso, but you're worried that he likes to play golf.

go ahead and say your worst to me, I don't care, but you worry about the damndest things.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 08:10 pm
@boomerang,
So...with the middle aged thing, are you worried about abuse? Or that he's not playing with kids his own age enough?

I really get the attraction for Mo of being able to learn something at his own pace and to get some clear head time.....

firefly
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 08:26 pm
@boomerang,
Quote:
When does a pass time tip into obsession?

When does an obsession become unhealthy?


What's the difference between a passion and an obsession? Is having a passion for something unhealthy?

As long as it doesn't interfere with other aspects of his life, what's the problem? He's learning and practicing at something in order to become more proficient. And he enjoys it. That sounds great. It helps to develop perseverance and self discipline.

Suppose he was practicing the piano or violin for the same amount of time he's spending on golf. Would that disturb you?

Just because golf isn't a usual past-time for children his age, doesn't mean there is something strange about a child actually enjoying it. It may be a sport that's easier for Mo to master or enjoy in some ways. It's one of the few sports where the ball stands still until you hit it, there is no team pressure for him, it can be played at his pace, he's more in control, etc.

And maybe he enjoys the bonding with Mr B that golf provides. Buying him the new clubs was also a form of encouragement to continue with golf.

boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 08:56 pm
@chai2,
He wasn't spending 6 hours a day wandering around as a Ghostbuster.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:06 pm
@dlowan,
It just seems odd to me.

I'm not worried about abuse. I just don't think it would happen there.

He has two weeks for spring break while the other public school kids only have one. Most of his friends will be off next week so I hope that the obsession cools a bit and he hangs out with his neighborhood pals more.

Mr. B and I were talking about this over dinner (Mo is out tonight) and though he's concerned about the obsessiveness he did say that golf is one of the few sports where you can improve your game while playing on your own -- so he kind of gets it. Still, Mo is calling or texting him 20+ times a day asking if he can come home from work and go play golf. Mr. B has tried to explain that he HAS to work to pay for all the golf but it doesn't seem to be getting through.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:12 pm
@firefly,
I agree.... I guess.

It just kind of seems like we've hit some tipping point and I'm not sure whether to let it ride or not.

It should be mentioned that golf is not Mo's favorite sport. Football is. It isn't football season though. He also plays baseball. He also enjoys other types of physical recreation.

Golf seems to have become very central to his life. When he isn't playing he's talking about playing it.

Mr. B and Mo have golfed together for years. The new clubs were really a necessity as he'd outgrown the old clubs, both in size and competency.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:16 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Maybe it's just because there aren't a lot (any) kids up there.


when I was Mo's age, that would have been one of the main selling points. I hated pretty much every kid-appropriate activity the hamburgers tried to interest me in. There are some funny-now stories that were horrible then. Brownies was an ugly ugly half-hour experience.

I finally found something I loved - oil painting classes on Saturdays through the university's adult continuing education program. I was the only person under about 40 there (I started when I was about 10). I still have wonderful memories of those Saturday classes. No kid cliques to deal with. It was wonderful.

Recently, a young girl danced at the belly dance studio I take classes at. She is a pretty serious art/drama student. Was in a professional opera before she was 10 - that sort of thing. She stopped taking ballet with girls her age because she hated the cliques/competition. Professionally/technically she was ahead of everyone at her school and it was rough on her. Belly dancing with adults was less emotionally stressful for her. She danced with us for about 4 years - til high school for the arts started.

Sometimes some kids need a serious time out from other kids. School is more than enough time to have to spend with them.

ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:17 pm
@boomerang,
boomerang wrote:
Mr. B has tried to explain that he HAS to work to pay for all the golf but it doesn't seem to be getting through.


funny that.

I was going to say that as long as Mo can afford all this golf, it should be cool.
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:21 pm
@ehBeth,
That's really interesting, ehBeth. Thank you.

About a month ago Mo gave up playing video games online. He said "the kids are nice in person but they're really mean online. I don't like it anymore."

At school he's fallen into the mindset of keep your head down, get your work done, and get out.

And then the golf thing started.

Maybe he's just maturing. Maybe it's a puberty thing. It's kind of nice but kind of scary. He seems so different from his peers.
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:26 pm
@boomerang,
An observation which you might want to run by Mo.....

At the time when Tiger Woods was winning everything in sight, three were guys as good at both driving and putting and short shots and you got the feeling that the edge Woods had was something else which was hard to quantify somehow or other. Woods wasn't notably stronger or smarter than the other top 20 or so players.

What he was in my view was more of a real athlete than many of the others, and more flexible. He was able to contort his body into awkward positions and still make good shots more of the time than the others.

That was a crucial edge because the game is so overwhelmingly difficult, that even the best pros screw up some 5 - 20% of their shots and end up having to hit out of bad lies and situations on whatever that percentage of their shots is, and Woods was simply doing a substantially better job of it.

Naturally it figures that the first time the guy ever had any sort of serious back problems, that edge was gone.


boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:27 pm
@ehBeth,
At the course by our house it only costs Mo $12.00 to play a round of golf.

He has a punch card for the driving range ($90 for 10 large buckets) but I think the pros slip him free buckets quite a bit.

It isn't outrageous but it does add up!
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:30 pm
I grew up with soccer and hockey crazed kids. The kind of kids who would spend hours shooting a puck at the garage door or a fence in the freezing cold. Boys this age typically get really into something. I have three brothers, one was obsessed with cycling, another with swimming, the other... being a jerk. Just be happy it isn't video games that have his interest or like many of the mushrooms I've known, Dungeons and Dragons and comic books.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:34 pm
@gungasnake,
Golf is a really punishing game -- both mentally and physically!

Right now his hands are really blistered but he doesn't want to wear a glove because he wants the right calluses.

The whole thing kind of freaks me out.
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:38 pm
@Ceili,
I'm glad it's not an addiction to drugs or girls!

I do worry a bit about him having an addictive personality. I'd much rather it be golf than something else.

But... you know... still...
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Mar, 2013 09:43 pm
@boomerang,
I like to conquer things.

I golfed until I won a trophy at a charity event. Then I stopped.

I trained my boy dog til he was on tv. Then I stopped.

I used to get seriously intense about things until I'd mastered them and then I'd drop them completely. When I was learning to golf, I took classes and practiced constantly. Same thing with the dog training. Not necessarily addicted (since I dropped the interest once I'd "won") but uber-focused.
 

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