Thursday, August 22, 2019
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PRESSURE FROM PARENTS IS A PROBLEM

“Run faster! Jump higher! Score! GO GO GO! Get your arms up! Defense! Kick more goals! Be tough! Be more aggressive! Do more, be more etc…”
Have you ever sat next to this parent at a youth sports game? How long could you take it until you got up and moved? Have you ever wondered what this kid’s room looks like?
I would guess the bed is made each morning to pass that military “quarter drop” test, probably no toys out of place and no unwanted food hidden behind the bed.
The underlying parent expectations to be the best many times will drive the kid to resentment and frustration. These kids have a hard task of meeting these expectations.
I have coached many kids who fall into this category. Frustration that presents itself in many different ways:
1.Crying… sometimes just missing a free throw, striking out, or missing a pass can bring out so much stress and sadness, that no matter hard they try to suppress them, the shameful tears begin to flow.
2.Temper tantrums… placing the blame on teammates, officials… anyone or anything around that the kid just explodes and can’t get function properly; he ends up creating an even more difficult situation for himself wishing the floor would just open up and swallow him.
3.Lack of effort… the thought process here is that if they don’t give 100% then they wont be able to acknowledge failure. “I’m not really that bad, I’m just not trying.”
4.Frequent glances at mom and/or dad… they are constantly seeking approval when they do something good, or looking to see the reaction when they make a mistake. They know mom or dad noticed… they are glued to his every move.
5.Give up…they just can’t deal with the pressure anymore, so they give up. They either take themselves out mentally or they physically stop playing. I have seen this happen many times when the kid goes over and sits against the wall or under the bleachers. This also can result in quitting that activity or sport forever. Just remember that around 80% of kids quit sports by the time they reach 13 because it isn’t fun anymore.
So, parents, here is my advice…STOP IT, KNOCK IT OFF, RELAX, BITE YOUR BOTTOM LIP, and just enjoy your children.
Focus on their strengths or talk more about the good things that they have done. Ask them if they had fun. Remember that your relationship is more important than the task or event.
If you haven’t noticed yet, kids and people in general are motivated much more through affirmation than fear.
How about encouraging the whole team and cheering for everyone rather than just your child. Remember that it is a team and your child is a part of that team and the whole team should be encouraged.
Remember that same kid who missed the game winning free throw is still the same kid who loves and respects you and clings to your every word. They would much rather have your unconditional love and acceptance than make the game-winning touchdown. You risk losing them when they feel that your love and acceptance is based on their performance.
So, eat some stale old toast together that you find from behind the bed, and enjoy the games!

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