This can mean so many things to so many people, but I’m referring to just sports. Even then it can mean so many things. I’ll touch on the things I know and that we’ve gone through as a family.
Let’s start small, your kid is on a losing team. If your kids are anything like mine, that’s difficult because they’re competitive and want to win. Here’s how we handle this situation (and by we, I really mean Todd, because he’s awesome at this!).
When your kid feels stuck on a losing team, lots of things can go the wrong way. Negativity seeps into your happy-go-lucky child. A child who once brushed off a loss begins to get angry with each subsequent loss. It is our job as parents to rein that in. We teach our kids it’s ok to be angry after a loss. But, we also talk to them about appropriate behavior. We tell our kids to be mad, take a few breaths and be over it. There’s no sense on dwelling about what you could’ve done, how the refs|umps should’ve called the game or what other teammates could’ve done. We squash these conversations very quickly. Nothing positive comes of them.
Instead, we steer the conversation in a more positive light. For instance, we give them personal goals to work on in the game. Why not teach them that there is something they can control…they’re own actions (life lesson). Todd talks to the kids about what they can work on in the game|practice and they come up with goals (new one each time). An example would be, “today I’m going to work on being a leader, going left to the basket rather than right, taking an outside pitch to the opposite field.” After the game we talk to them about whether they accomplished this goal and what to work on next. Goals can be mental or physical. The mental game is very important and probably should be worked on the most!
We believe and again, we’ve done research on this the mental game is so important. But, many parents don’t know or understand that they need to teach this to their children. If you wait until your child is in high school, it’s too late. They’ve already set bad habits, start now, while your kids are young. We’re always sharing motivational videos with our kids. Like, this one from Nate Trosky (Todd’s latest baseball hero). Check it out with your kids and let us know your thoughts.
What about bigger situations? For instance, your child has a negative coach or there are negative fans in attendance. We’ve experienced that too, and will write about it in Part II (coming next week).