I can’t stand pouters. There is nothing that eerks me more. And unfortunately, I am raising at least two pouters (jury is still out on number 3). Don’t get me wrong, I have three good kids. They are kind, they are good friends and they are most always polite. Those are qualities I am so proud they have.
First, let me say my kids are not mean-spirited and never do anything with ill will toward anyone. That’s not who they are. They are competitive little beings. Like, competitive to a fault. For instance, this basketball season our oldest was on a losing team (I wrote about it here). We saw the disappointment written all over his face when the team started getting down by 5, 10, or even more. His body language and attitude shifted…and not for the better. What we would’ve like to see and what we preached to him after the game was to take that frustration and play harder. The only game you can control is yours, and you are only 1/5 of the team on the floor. We always said these things in the end, but they fell on deaf ears.
On the other hand, my daughter was on a winning team and she herself was having much success on the court. But, still, many games we had to talk to her about her body language and attitude. She was always disappointed in her play or she always picked one negative thing that happened to her and focused on that. No matter how much we told her she did great or that we were proud of her.
I tell you this, because we are not perfect parents, even though we try to preach about raising kids in this sports life we live. We are trying and doing the best we can. However, there are just somethings we can’t contend with, and one of them is DNA. You see, competitiveness runs strong in our family’s blood (Todd and I compete with each other constantly). And while it’s a great attribute, many of us have a hard time channeling it in a positive way.
We are constantly preaching to our children, if something’s not going your way on the field or court, use that energy in a positive way. Cheer on your teammates, pick each other up, play harder. Many kids, mine included have trouble breaking out of that mental slump. It’s hard when you’re a competitor and you’re losing or the game isn’t going the way you want it to, to use that negative and make it positive energy. I know a lot of adults who can’t do that let alone young athletes.
You can rest assured that Todd and I will continue to work on this with our children and if we come up with some great way that we somehow got through to our kids, we’ll share it here first. And, if someone out there has figured this out with their kids already, please share with us because inquiring minds want to know!