No parent likes to see his or her child struggle with challenges. The natural instinct is to jump in and rescue them at the first sign of distress.
I suggest that you not only avoid rescuing your children, but that you look for ways to challenge them.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Throw them in. There are times when the best thing you can do for your child’s growth is to “throw them in the deep end” and let them swim. You are nearby if they need help, but I think you will be surprised at the creativity and resourcefulness of your child.
Pinpoint their strengths. Find your child’s strength and help him or her use it out of their comfort zone. It’s one thing to use your strength in a comfortable situation; it’s another to use it in an environment that is not familiar or easy.
Look for the weakness inside of your child’s strength. Once your child knows how to do something well, it’s easy for them to get lazy and not push themself to improve. Help him or her figure out what their weaknesses are within that strength. If he’s turned into a good little football player, help him pinpoint the areas where he can improve. If your child learns to be coachable when they are young, they will look for ways to improve as they get older.
Be honest with your child. When your son or daughter asks for your help, be honest about their progress. Kids should be encouraged, but there is such a thing as over-affirmation, where parents constantly praise their kids without any constructive help.
If your son says, “How did I do today throwing the football?” you might want to encourage his effort by saying, “You did great! You are an amazing passer.” when in fact he didn’t do so well. Your child will benefit more in the long run with a positive, but helpful approach: “You work so hard and I love how you’re quick to see the open receiver. However, I think there’s a way to get better accuracy. Do you know what that is?”
An honest review today will produce better results tomorrow.
When you allow your athlete to be challenged, you will be amazed at how capable they are. Don’t under-estimate them. They’re capable of more than you realize!
Janis B. Meredith is a sportsparenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.