Sunday, March 1, 2009

Caustic Parental Condemnation… in Sport… in Life

There is so much we can learn about psychology in the setting of children’s sport; but it’s not just about the children, we can get to learn about adults too, especially parents, and coaching parents at that.

I’ve been observing one coach and their interaction with their team; this person has a daughter in the team. This coach was going well until I noticed them during one game, grasping their head whenever their daughter made a mistake. You could tell from the body language of the daughter that she was saying to herself, ‘Oh dear, I’ve failed again!’

It’s hard for parents in this area of coaching kids, especially their own. There’s also a lot we can learn regarding the effects on coaches and their teams as the long season continues and the enthusiasm invariably wanes in contrast. Oh, what a coach in this situation would give for a little more staying power.

I recall seeing a family dealt blow upon blow from an emotionally abusive father; the effect on one particular child was profound, not that you’d know it if you weren’t close to the family. They seemed so normal to the casual observer.

The guilt that this child experienced would end up having a lasting impact on their adult life; the generational curse--though despised--was to endure one more generation at least.

As parents we are charged by God to bring our kids up in healthy, happy, holy ways. They are to be disciplined appropriately so they can be strong, safe within themselves, and be able to smile at all life dishes them.

Practically, this means being gently supportive and encouraging whilst being firm, yet not aggressively demanding. We can insist on things but the way we do it is paramount. We can firmly require things of them, yet love them too. But, we ought not to condemn them, ever. Why should they learn the emotion of guilt or have it reinforced through us?

I guess it’s a fact of life that none of us are ever going to be perfect parents, but we should strive to bring our kids up in ways at least equal to or better than our own upbringings.

Lastly, we must monitor our body language, tone and words closely as we interact with children, especially our own, so we can show them by example how mature adults behave. We have some advantages in our parenting. If we even do a half decent job in loving our kids we end up receiving their devoted commitment for a lifetime in return.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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