If you are the parent of a skilled and determined athlete, you understand the pressures, challenges, and successes your child faces every day. It can be tough to see the look of disappointment on their face when they don’t come in first, or when injury strikes and they are forced to sit on the sidelines. You play an important role in building their self-esteem and helping them through those rough times. Here are a few ways you can provide emotional support to your child as they reach for their world record dreams.
Instead Of Lecturing, Ask Questions
You may know what your child could have done better during their sporting event. You may feel a need to tell them what went wrong and how they could improve for next time. Instead, ask them questions about how they feel. Let them open up to you and voice their frustrations and what they think will help them improve. Validate their feelings and then offer any suggestions. Start with something positive, work in a suggestion, and then follow it up with encouragement. They will be more likely to come to you when the stress of their sport is weighing heavily on them.
Enjoy One-On-One Time
You and your child likely have busy schedules. But don’t let this keep you from spending quality one-on-one time with them. Only talk about their sport if they want to discuss it, but try to keep topics focused on other positive things in their life. Compliment them on a good grade or praise them for helping around the house lately. Play a game, go for a walk, or bake cookies together. Whatever you do, make it a calm, enjoyable activity that you both will like. Appreciate this special time and what makes your kid great off the field or court.
Re-Focus Their Negativity
Kids can get very down on themselves. They don’t typically have the coping skills to let go of negativity and re-focus on the positive. Allow them to vent a bit. They are dealing with a lot of emotions and hormones. And they have the right to feel all of their feelings.
Teach them how to let the negative thoughts come in, recognize that they are not useful, and to let them go. Help them understand that feeling ashamed or disappointed is a normal response, but that those thoughts are really just a fear of not achieving their dreams. Let them know that you understand that fear.
When they are calm, begin to redirect that fear into positives thoughts. Remind them of their hard work and all that they have accomplished. Tell them how much you believe in them, not just for their athletic abilities, but also for all the other reasons that make them a wonderful human being.
Being a parent is filled with challenges and triumphs. You want to be there for your child and show them you care. Hopefully these tips have provided some guidance in emotionally supporting their world record dreams.