As a parent, mentor or guardian, our attitude directly effects our children no matter what we do.
Irrespective of whether we are negative or positive about something, our children see, sense and understand this. They will form opinions based on the adults reactions and this will inadvertently help them make choices in life that we may or may not necessarily agree to.
As our children grow older, they formulate their own likes and dislikes and it's our job as the primary care giver to guide them through the rights and wrongs.
How we can inadvertently dissuade our children from things they enjoy, such as sport, can be through negative comments regarding to the sport or activity, about the coaching staff or other teammates.
I used to live in a remote part of Australia, and to get my children to competition for their chosen sport would mean a four hour drive for an afternoons worth of activity. What used to annoy me the most was that the warm up went longer than the actual time in their sport, swimming!
What I didn't realise at the time was, that it was my children's passion and I would make every excuse under the sun why I even couldn't take them to training!
I complained that my parents wouldn’t come and watch me play sport when I was young and I turned into what I didn’t like. What I neglected to do was see how my kids were enjoying what they were doing and the friendships they had developed.
Were they going to be national champions? Probably not, but my comments and actions shouldn't stop them from trying either.
Making negative comments about coaches or staff will influence the athlete's rapport and also dissuade them from wanting to participate.
Remember this, it's not about you but about your child's growth and development.
If the sporting environment is supportive and safe, and the culture is good then what is the problem?
Here are some ways we can show our support for the things our kids love;
Ask the right questions after training or competition. How was training? How did you go? A couple of simple questions like this shows interest, just don’t pressure your athlete with too many questions.
Physically come into the Academy/Club/Dojo 10 minutes before training finishes so you can see your athlete wrestle. Tell them what you saw especially if they did something good. And if you didn’t understand what happened ask them what they were doing or what it was they did.
Don’t push your athlete so that their motivation is to only make you happy. I’ve see this time and time again where parents bring the athlete in to multiple training sessions a week to have either the athlete burn out or the parent question the coaches on why their child isn’t progressing.
Finally, ask your athlete the right questions. What do they want? What are their goals? Very few parents do this and you must be prepared to sit and listen to them. You might not like what they are saying but you need to allow them to verbalise what they are thinking. But don’t act or react immediately to what they say as the next step might just be to involve the coach.
In closing, our children are smarter than what we give them credit for, and how we talk about their sport when we are away from the sporting arena with them or other people when they are present directly affects their decisions about their participation.
2nd Degree Black Belt
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