Parents have this idealistic perception that winning dictates everything. Therefore, it causes you to push your child harder or be hard on them. And this will lead to bad parenting habits.
You may think negativity improves resiliency and motivation. Well, it does not. This type of behavior takes a wrong turn for the worst. On the contrary, when your child learns to have fun, they will learn to play better and optimize their performance.
Having fun does not mean you don’t take things seriously. Your child will engage, play, and learn more. We all want the best for our kids and to be the best in sports. However, we also need to know our role as a parent and guides so that nature can take its course.
Be a Role Model
Your child picks up on your personality, listens to your words, and sees your body language, as well as, observes how you communicate with others. How you act is the way they will too.
Therefore, you need to be a role model of good behavior. For example, volunteering to help the team raise money or help the coach at practice (not coach) will show you care about the team. Your child will see you care and model your behavior and learn to care and help out too.
Be a Parent, Not the Coach
Your job is primarily to be a parent and your child’s biggest cheerleader. Your job is to provide support and encouragement. Leave the coaching to the coach. That is what he enjoys doing.
Don’t criticize, insult or talk badly about the coach nor the referees. Just cheer, watch and enjoy the game. That’s your job.
Of course, you want to support your child and their team. But, you also have to give credit where credit is due. Children learn a lot by watching. They learn by observing you and the coach, more than using words, to communicate and understand behavior.
Cheer for other children on the team, not just your child. Give encouraging positive words to all players on the team. On the other hand, don’t speak badly or insult the other team. Remember, they are children too!
Learn to applaud the other team’s good plays, efforts, and competition. And, let your child know to shake hands after the game with no frustration, anger, or hostility. Finally, teach them to let it go. The game is over.
The more you practice patience, the more you will develop it. Understand this for your child. Things take time, years to learn in life. You know this already. The more your child practices, the more he or she will evolve. When you have patience with your child, it will help your child have the patience to learn new skills for the sport.
Also, when you are patient, you learn perseverance. Perseverance is more difficult if you don’t have patience. Hard work will improve their game but being mindful and patient will help them persevere. The same goes for you too, mom and dad.
Positivity means good words, good actions, and good deeds. It requires you to think optimistically. Being positive allows you and your child to enjoy the experience and at the same time be happy and improve skills and performance. Instead of seeing the glass half empty, you will see it half full and motivate and inspire creativity, encouragement, respect, and good intentions.
Positivity leads to responsibility and engagement. Negativity leads to finger-pointing, not being responsible, and escape. As Mighty Python sang, “Always look on the bright side of life.”
Respect is a way of treating someone whether you agree or disagree. Please show respect to the coach, the other team and their coach, and the referee. Respect should always be at the forefront of competition and sport, whether poorly treated or not. Never stoop to conquer.
Always be respectful even if shown disrespect. It does not make you less of or a weaker person or athlete. In actuality, people will respect you more.
Encouragement leads to the evolution of your child in sports and life. It is about developing and building better. Failure is only failure if you let it be. Failure and mistakes are a way of learning to be better. Without encouragement, failure leads to negativity and not knowing how to be better and alchemize failure into success.
It would help if you made a conscious effort to praise good play and acknowledge errors to fix them. Winning or losing is not the lesson to be learned by your child. Please encourage them not to fixate on it. Instead, please encourage them to have fun and play their best.
Practice with Your Child
Run around with them. Help them understand their sports skills and qualities. It is a great way to gain their trust and confidence and introduce ideas like mindfulness and how to have fun while having fun.
Enjoy the Experience
Sports are supposed to be a friendly socializing experience. Heck, the Olympics were created for this very reason to bring countries together. Therefore, it should be the same for you and your child.
If you focus too much on your child to be the best, you will decelerate their learning and take away from their experience that makes them engage. And, the minute you put pressure on them, they will disengage. Let them have fun and enjoy your child’s happiness. Let their happiness make you happy.
Listen, if you want your child to be the best, you still need to follow this path. If you push now and don’t let your child enjoy the game, they will not want to play anymore.
Think about how it feels when you are stressed. What is the first thing you want to happen? For it to go away.
Now, think about your child and how they feel when and if you apply pressure and stress to them.
Sit back and relax, and watch your child’s fulfillment turn into happiness. When they see you happy, they will be too! Life is cyclical.
What you put in is what you get back. What you do is what you create. So develop good habits as a sports parent. Trust me. You need to enjoy the process and have fun so your child can too and evolve into greatness.