Your body has a language all its own, apart from the words you say to your kids before, during, and after games. It’s become such a part of who you are that you probably don’t even think about it.
If that’s so, then it’s time to take notice because you may be hurting your relationship with your child and distracting him from playing his best without even realizing it.
Here are the 8 most common body language bungles that sports parents make:
- Throwing your hands up. This communicates frustration and disgust to your child as he is playing. He sees this from the game and it will totally distract him.
- Kicking the Dirt. Ditto.
- Pacing the Sidelines. This may communicate your anxiousness more than anything, and your angst will only fluster your child.
- Turning your Back on the Game. This broadcasts that you are disgusted and can’t stand to watch.
- Shaking Your Head. Shows your frustration.
- Rolling Your Eyes. Now, obviously your child will not see this during the game, but in pre-game or post-game conversations as you listen to their explanations or excuses, eye-rolling, even if it’s just rolling your eyes slightly to the side, suggests that you are agitated with your child because she didn’t play well.
- Scowling. Before, during, and after games, your facial expression gives it all away. No matter what you may mean to communicate with your face, a scowl says you’re not happy with your child. Attach this to her performance in the game, and she will feel like you are upset with her because she didn’t play well.
- Crossed Arms. I’ve become very conscious of doing this because I know it suggests that I am closed-minded, not receptive, or put-off by people. Standing that way at a game may look intimidating to your child from the court or field. It screams, “I’m tense!” instead of “I’m relaxed and enjoying watching my child play.”
I’ve talked a lot about filtering your words, especially in tense conversations. But it would be wise to filter your body language too. Perhaps in your frustration to control your words, you let it seep out in your body language instead. And the result is still the same: it’s distracting to your child’s game. What he needs to see when he glances to the spectators, is you sitting relaxed, taking it all in with enjoyment, and cheering him on.
In other words, parents, Chill Out.
To replace those Body Language Blunders, try establishing some good habits…
Your child will thank you!