My son is 7. He is very smart, loves sports, has lots of friends, and is overall a very conscientious child. He is very sensitive to other people's feelings and will often be the first to help a child up off the ground and ask if they are ok. All good things. On the flip side, he is not one to take risks, knock anyone down to get the ball, pick up frogs or dig for worms. That's just not his thing. And that's ok in my book. However, while his sensitivity is often a strength, it also keeps him from being "tough" like many boys his age. Looking back, I don't believe we coddled him or encouraged him to be a "cry baby," but he often gets "hurt" easily and falls to the ground waiting for other kids to help him up. We've told him not to do so and that kids aren't going to wait for him to get up and play. They will keep going. He will cry fairly easily, and told me today in the car "Why am I afraid of everything Mom? My group calls me a scaredy cat and I don't want to be a scaredy cat!!" I wasn't sure what to say other than if he wants to change something, then we can figure out together how to do it if he wants help. If not, then he can change it on his own. But if he doesn't want to be afraid of "everything" he has to try not to be afraid, and take some risks sometimes.
We've used encouragement, tough love, "get up, you are fine", "keep playing, tough it out,", etc....using professional players as examples, etc. I don't want him to be made fun of at school, and want him to develop some toughness....but am not sure how to do so. How hard on him should we be?