When your child becomes passionate about a sport, that passion is shared with the parents, opening up doors to numerous possibilities.
As the parent of an athlete, you’ll be a huge part of their life in sports, as they enter competitions, learn about themselves and confront physical and mental challenges.
How can you offer the best support as a parent? Here’s some golden nuggets of advice that can help set the path for a parent-child relationship of positivity rather than negativity.
The fine line between positive and negative support
It’s easy to get caught up in your child’s performance during a tournament or game. You want them to do their best and give it their all. But, you must be careful and realize the fine line between offering support and putting pressure. When your child is competing, cheer in a respectful, encouraging manner. Remember, it’s not all about winning! Let them know that you are the positive support they need rooting for them on the sidelines.
Never compare, instead- set goals
It doesn’t pay off to compare your child to other athletes. It presents unrealistic and unfair comparisons that lead to unhealthy thinking. Instead, help your child set goals focused on their skills and dreams. Listen to them and encourage them to speak out about what they want to accomplish in the sport, where the challenges are and how to tackle them. Help them organize their thoughts and plans so they have a clear picture of what they wish to achieve, with you by their side.
Communication is key
Don’t push your child about performance and results. Vary the communication when it comes to the sport they are involved in. Ask open-ended questions to get a feel for how they are enjoying the sport, if they want to continue or how they are handling the challenges. No matter what they want to talk about, always make sure communication is kept open and encourage them to share.
Don’t put all of the focus on the sport
Diving headlong into a sport can be exciting and intense. When a child gets serious about it, sports can take over a family’s life. In many instances, it will be school and the sport, training and competition, every day. It’s important to keep other interests in mind as well. If an injury occurs or interest in the sport wanes down the road, it’s healthy to have something to fall back on, something else that your child enjoys and can focus on.