Why do you get frustrated? Because your child is making mistakes? Because you know your child isn’t trying hard? Because your child is not taking the game seriously enough to satisfy you?
I get the frustration. I felt it many times throughout 21 years of sports parenting. What I don’t get is what parents say to their kids in the heat of the frustration.
What should you do with your parental frustration during a game?
Don’t communicate your frustration to your child
Frustrated comments distract your kids from the game and humiliate them because they know you’re calling them out for doing something wrong. When you yell out things like “What are you doing?!?!?? or “Come on!!!” or “What were you thinking?!?!” you don’t really expect your child to stop and answer you, do you? So then why are you saying it? You do it because you are frustrated and need to vent. But here’s something it seems a lot of parents just don’t understand: your frustrated words will not help your athlete play better. Not one bit. They will most likely make the child feel worse about the mistakes he is making.
Keep the comments positive
Positive and encouraging comments will do more to motivate your child’s perfomance than negative frustration. And that’s all you are really trying to do, isn’t it? You want your child to try harder, think more clearly, cut down on mistakes, and the best way to do that is to steer clear of negative comments that are clearly yelled out of frustration. They are basically wasted words.
Better yet, don’t communicate with your child at all during a game
Cheer loudly and encourage the team, but the best thing you can do for your child while he’s playing is just leave him alone. He’s got coaches who can handle the game. If he comes to you after the game or at home and asks for help, then by all means, give him some pointers or get him the help he needs, but your child needs your support and love more than he needs your coaching from the sidelines.
Janis B. Meredith writes a sportsparenting blog, http://jbmthinks.com. She’s been a sports mom for 21 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.