What to Say When Our Kids Perform

As competition season heats up we are constantly reminded of the incredibly fragile job that parents have keeping their athlete calm before and after a competition. What is the right thing to say? How do you manage the emotions, yours and your child’s? It is complicated…but does it have to be? While preparing this article, I came across another brilliant article by Tim Elmore called, "What Parents Should Say as Their Kids Perform", published in August of 2013.

Here is an excerpt from that article: What We Should Say When Our Kids Perform

The most liberating words parents can speak to their student-athletes are quite simple. Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:
1. Have fun.
2. Play/Dance/Hit hard.
3. I love you.  

After the competition:
1. Did you have fun?
2. I’m proud of you.
3. I love you.

Six Simple Words…  For years, I wondered what the student-athlete would say about this issue. After decades of work with athletes, Bruce E. Brown and Rob Miller found out. They suggest six simple words parents can express that produce the most positive results in their performing children. After interacting with students, they report:

College athletes were asked what their parents said that made them feel great, that amplified their joy during and after a ballgame. Their overwhelming response: "I love to watch you play.”

That’s it. Those six words. How interesting. How liberating to the parent. How empowering to the student-athlete. No pressure. No correction. No judgment. (That’s the coach’s job). Just pure love of their child using their gift in competition.

When I learned this, I reflected on the years my own kids competed in sports, recitals, theatrical plays, and practices. Far too often, I wanted to play a role that added more stress to their lives. Instead, I now realize—I just need to love them. And to love watching them play.

From a parent’s view—this is the best way to cultivate an emotionally healthy kid. - See more at The Growing Leaders blog by Tim Elmore

This hit home, it is so important that youth sports, competitive or recreational are just that YOUTH sports. The benefits and lifelong lessons gained through participation are incredible. Our reaction as parents before and after workouts, competitions, or shows will have lasting effects on how our children deal with pressures long after the youth sports are over. So no matter the outcome, a win or a loss, we can all remember to utter 6 wonderful words and know that they will have the best lasting impact, “I love to watch you play”.
-Taken from TumblTrak



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