The 24-hour rule was enforced at a high school where my husband taught and coached for many years. The rule was simply this: If you have a problem with the coach after a game, wait 24 hours before talking to them.
Unfortunately, parents didn’t always abide by the rule, and the result was usually a heated and unproductive conversation. Usually, nothing beneficial comes out of heat-of-the-moment exchanges.
Recently, a sports mom wrote me to explain that she decided to apply that rule to talking with her son. This is what she said:
In our league we have a 24-hour rule after a game when it comes to talking to coaches about the game.
Yesterday my son had his very first basketball game and he thought he did so well and was so excited. However, I went to unload on him and tell him what he did wrong and how he needed to improve.
I decided to apply the 24-hour rule to him, so instead of having that conversation, I drank a glass of wine and went to bed.
This morning I woke up and the things I wanted to say to him after the game seemed unimportant.
I started thinking about the positives instead; it was his first game, he was with friends and he wasn't sitting in front of a screen!
So I simply told him him that the most important thing to me is that he is a good teammate and that he tries his best.
I’ve decided I am going to put myself on the 24-hour rule every game. It was hard but I feel in my heart, the right thing to do.
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So here’s my challenge to you, parents. Take the 24-hour rule that applies to coaching conversations and apply it to those you feel compelled to have with your child after a game.
I’m guessing the 24-hour delay will tweak your perspective and keep you from saying things that only add tension to your relationship with your child. If what you feel you need to say truly is important and must be said, it will still be important 24 hours later.
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 how she can help parents have Less Stress and More Fun in Youth Sports.