In part 1 of our series “How We Can Help Our Kids Finish Well” we looked at the value of being an encourager. I hope you have made a conscious effort to be an encourager for your child.
In part 2 we are going to look at the need for us to look at how parents can strategically play a role in minimizing the pressure.
Part 2: Minimize the Pressure
Our kids are already facing a lot of pressure from academic, athletic, and social expectations. Imagine the anxiety of being up to serve with the game on the line or the shame they might be feeling standing on the sidelines when they aren’t getting to play. We often feel it as a parent and we aren’t even on the team! Put yourself in their shoes.
Minimizing the pressure is one of the most effective ways to improve performance and the experience for our kids. Research shows that where fear and anxiety increase, performance decreases! It’s never intentional (or at least I hope it’s not) but oftentimes our well-intended behavior and responses add pressure and simply make it worse for our own kids.
If we want our seasons to end well, it has to be our goal to relieve the pressure rather than adding to it. This isn’t an absence of expectations but rather an intentional shift of expectations to the things under our control. I would suggest these 3 objectives parents can achieve to minimize pressure:
- Talk Less about Performance and Outcomes: Even if you think you have great advice, hold it in. Our constant conversation and critiquing can turn a bad set or match into a bad weekend or season. They are going to be okay without you telling them all the things they need to do in order to improve.
- Be Grateful: If your child is safe and being supported, that’s a win. We always want more for our kids but when they see that mom and dad are thankful it relieves the pressure from them. An uptight parent will usually result in an uptight player!
- Zoom Out: When we only see the moment it seems monumental, when we zoom out it gives us the perspective to realize this is just a part of the journey. This perspective will actually help us talk less and be more grateful!
None of this is easy, but our willingness to be intentional and disciplined makes the experience much healthier and positive for our kids, the coaches, their team, and even you. It also lets us enjoy these moments with our kids that aren’t going to last forever. Our kids are worth it and YOU can do this!
A Better Way