The power of showing unconditional love to a child can’t be understated. It is essential to help them thrive in life and develop knowing that being who they are is always good enough.
However, for some reason as soon as we add sport to the equation, this can be forgotten. Some parents suddenly want their child to do better and be better.
Here are three steps to help ensure this unconditional love.
1. Find the reasons why.
Have you asked your child why they play sport? Or have you asked yourself why you enjoy your child playing sport?
Once you understand both reasons you can then better understand how best to support your child on their sporting journey – no matter what that may end up being.
Putting aside your reason will remove any unbeknown pressure that you may be putting on your child to perform. Enjoy and embrace the sporting journey that is ahead and reframe from forcing it into something that it is never destined to be.
2. Figure out what success looks like to your child.
To quote Michael Jordan “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” How are you defining if your child is having a successful and positive sporting experience? Is it performance or development driven? How you define success will have lasting impacts on the way your child fosters a love (or dislike) of sport.
Ideally, we need to step back and let our child dictate the measure of success. By doing so we allow them to take ownership of the outcomes. This keeps the experience their own and enjoyable to them. If they have the embedded desire to be a champion, then that will shine through and the hard work it takes to get there will follow.
3. Be the number one fan.
Now that you know your child’s reason and how they determine success the final step is to support them on their sporting journey. There are simple things that you can do to always be the number one supporter in your child’s eyes;
- After each game tell your child you loved watching them play. Make it known that you valued their time and their effort.
- Encourage effort and development rather than instructing it. Encouraging over instructing will allow them to again take ownership. Remember if they truly want to improve then they will put the time and effort in on their own accord.
You are the most important person in your child’s life. When they are sad they turn to you, when they are proud they want to celebrate with you. Because of that we need to always be there when it matters, and show support no matter what.