How to show your children that you believe in them

By Janis Meredith | Posted 1/2/2018

BELIEVE. Do you understand the power of that one word?

There are many words that we as parents say to our kids that empower them, but one of the strongest words I’ve seen that builds my kids up is the word “believe.”

Believe is a word on a sign in the Clemson University football meeting room. It’s a logo on a T-shirt that Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s head coach, owns. His wife gave it to him. It’s a mindset instilled in the Clemson football program and is a huge part of why the Tigers won the national championship last year.

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Last Christmas, my 26-year-old son gave me a necklace with the word “believe” on it, along with a written note explaining why he gave it to me. It was one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve ever gotten and I will cherish it forever.

The significance of that one word Believe is huge for my son and goes back to his days as a high school athlete.

I remember one particular game when he was a senior in high school, playing quarterback. It was a rainy night and the offense was terribly sluggish in a very muddy field. My son’s team lost the game, but worse than that, my son’s confidence was at a season low. He honestly wondered if he would get replaced on Monday when he returned to practice.

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But what happened instead? BELIEVE happened! The head coach called my son into his office and instead of replacing him, told him three reasons he wanted TJ to succeed and assured him that he believed in him. I swear my son came out of that meeting a half-inch taller!

Believe is a powerful motivator for your kids. Here’s a few ways that you can communicate it to your young athletes:

Always look for the best. Look for the positive, talk about the positive, build up the good stuff you see in your kid. Whether you’re sports parenting, band parenting, drama parenting, or just plain parenting.

Never look back. I read somewhere that there are two days you should never worry about: yesterday and tomorrow. Because you can’t change either one. Don’t keep reminding your kids of their mistakes. There’s nothing worse than parents (or bosses or spouses or friends!) who keep bringing up yesterday’s errors to you.

Keep going to the end. Be your child’s staunchest supporter through all the junk. When they look good, and when they don’t. When they persist, and when they quit. When they frustrate you to no end, and when they bring tears of joy to your eyes. And be sure your child knows that you are their biggest cheerleader. Don’t assume they do.

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When was the last time you told your children that you believed in them? Be intentional about saying it and showing it. If you are looking for a way to motivate and encourage your athlete, I think you’ll find that belief will have amazing results.

Janis B. Meredith is a life coach for sports parents. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Learn more about good sports parenting habits in her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents, available on Amazon.