Parental involvement in extracurricular activities has increased significantly in the past few decades. We not only sign our kids up for sports, we transport them to and from practices and games, purchase equipment, cheer them on, and possibly even coach their teams. At times, our own intense involvement may inadvertently add pressure or cause anxiety for our kids.
Things get more complicated when our children are too like us or not enough like us when it comes to competition. Is your child more temperamentally intense, or laid-back and how does that play out in competition and risk-taking? And, for families with more than one child, the constant “shifting of gears” in trying to meet different children’s needs can be exacerbating.
Our behavior impacts our children — how we act, communicate and interact with others, sets an example. Consciously or unconsciously, we model the kind of behavior our kids will likely emulate. As such, the relationships between parents and coaches/instructors is important as is understanding their approach, technique and goals.
Parents should ask themselves, as well as their children’s coaches/instructors:
How well am I communicating with my child’s coach/instructor?
How does the coach/instructor communicate lessons to be learned on the field/stage? (i.e. teamwork, motivation, effective communication)
How well are kids taught the importance of good sportsmanship and the value of fair play?
What happens when the game is over?
What happens when things don’t go well?
Does the coach/instructor help my child realize his/her potential?
How do I reinforce at home the lessons learned on the field or on the stage? (i.e. discipline, hard work, problem solving)
When communicating with your child doesn’t work or leads to conflict, Sue offers a place where parents can explore their own feelings and experiences. Even if you were never active in sports or performance, Sue can help you learn to effectively communicate with and support your child, whatever their goals or endeavors.
Coaches and instructors often have difficulties working with parents. The most well-intentioned parents can be difficult or argumentative, causing unnecessary stress for everyone. It is essential that coaches/instructors maintain strong relationships with students/athletes as well as their parents so that kids can thrive and succeed in the competitive world of sports/performing arts.
Sue can help coaches/instructors, from a child development perspective:
Communicate effectively with parents, even difficult ones
Create a team culture where communication is encouraged
Help students/athletes develop focus and maintain positive outlook
Foster a positive team culture
Help kids manage anxiety and expectations
Foster a sense of good sportsmanship
Understand how sports builds resiliency
Increase your athlete's resilience to produce the performing results you want
As Sue believes resiliency can be learned, developed and mastered, she works with all parties to teach the skills and techniques that enable kids to learn persistence and stamina, as well as handle disappointment and overcome obstacles.