Do you know how your child wanted to be treated after playing sports? This post is an excerpt from my book 11 Habits of Happy and Positive Sports Parents. To get your copy or learn how you can give one to every parent on your child’s team, click here.
Does your child know and believe that he is loved whether he wins or loses? Does she know that a bad performance in a game will not result in your displeasure and disappointment?
Most parents say they love their children no matter what and they sincerely mean it, but that unconditional love may not be what a young athlete hears because sports parents often let their actions speak louder than their words, whether it’s in the car on the way home, at home, or the next day.
What does unconditional sports parenting love look like?
- Tell your child “I love you” and “I’m proud of you for giving your all.” Don’t assume he or she knows. Your young athlete needs to hear those words a lot.
- Don’t give him or her the silent treatment a er a game because you are frustrated or disappointed.
- Keep conversation in the car on the ride home from becom- ing a critiquing and coaching session.
- Refrain from being obsessed or overly concerned with how many touchdowns, tackles, goals, baskets, kills, etc. your child got.
- Sit down in the stands and watch the game. If you pace the sidelines, you will be tempted to express your frustration in your body language–kicking the dirt, throwing up your hands. Even though you truly love your child, your body language is saying that your approval is based solely on your child’s performance. at may not be what you feel, but that’s what your child is perceiving.
- Don’t only reward your child for a win or for good stats. In fact, it’s best to reward e ort, not results.And on those days when your child doesn’t seem to be trying hard, and doesn’t even seem to care, make an extra effort to let him or her know that your love is not dependent even on the effort, but solely on the fact that he or she is your child.