The pressure and heat of competition bring out the best and the worst in athletes and parents. I’ve been amazed to see parents who always seem so calm, go berserk at their child’s games. Kids are not the only ones who need to work on handling their emotions!
I’d like to give you three tips to use next time you feel your blood pressure rising and the emotions starting to spiral downward.
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Tip #1 Work on Perspective
A shift in perspective can totally change your demeanor. Here’s one way to make that shift. Take whatever is in front of you now and envision it in 20-30 years. Then ask yourself: How important will it be then?
Will it be important in 20-30 years if your child played defensive line instead of running back like they want? Will it be important in 20-30 years if your child played half the game, instead of 3/4?
I think the answer to those questions is a resounding NO.
There are enough things that happen to your kids that will impact their whole lives. But a lot of what happens in youth sports that parents get so emotional about will not.
Working on your perspective will help you gain control of your emotions.
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Tip #2 Create Margin
One reason so many people struggle to control emotions is that they are tired and over-scheduled and have no time for themselves. If you have no margin, you are probably exhausted and if you’re exhausted it becomes harder to counterbalance strong emotions.
Tip #3 Take Good Care of Yourself
Creating margin is the first step to taking good care of yourself, but real self-care goes further. It includes eating properly, getting enough sleep, exercising, building your own support system, and looking for ways to grow and learn.
I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time! But you cannot be the parents you really want to be if you don’t take time to invest in yourselves. You tell your athlete that they must take time to practice extra and work out if they want to reach their athletic goals. In the same way, parents must allocate time to take care of themselves if they want to reach their parenting goals.
Not all emotions should be questioned or dismissed. If you’re angry about something that threatens your child’s safety or well-being, then let that anger prompt you to do whatever is necessary.
As parents, it’s important to remember that you should set an example of handing your emotions instead of letting your emotions handle you. This is a lesson your child can take into the game as well.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.