I don’t know if you saw it online, but people have been sharing a video of a parent at a football match who shoves his son to ‘help’ him save a goal. I’ve made loads of mistakes as a parent, so I wonder about the motives of people who shared this video. Is trial by social media REALLY the best way to improve our parenting!?!
However, this has given me the opportunity to share a couple of ideas that I hope might be useful when you do get parenting ‘wrong’. If your kids play sport, there are loads of people on hand to provide support to their learning. This includes coaches, fellow competitors and parents or guardians. But who’s on hand to provide feedback to help you? If you’re serious about becoming the best parent you can be, you WILL need some help.
The tricky thing about this is that other parents and coaches will probably find it difficult to talk to you about what you do in case you get upset, angry or argumentative! With this in mind, the idea I want you to think about is to identify someone close to you – partner/fellow parent/coach – and ask them to be in charge of giving you feedback (I purposely didn’t include asking your kids to give you feedback as I want to cover the do’s and don’ts of this approach in a future article).
Once you’ve selected someone it’s CRUCIAL to make it ‘safe’ for them to give you feedback. Do this by saying you are happy to get their comments and that you’ll commit to think about them and what you can learn. If you’re the one providing feedback, make sure you encourage them to think about WHY what they’re doing might negatively impact on their child’s learning by using questions.
This could be something like, “what impact do you think it could have on your daughter when you shout at the referee?” or “I’ve noticed your son seems to hesitate when you shout out what you think he should do. How do you think that affects him learning how to be a good decision maker?”
Using questions to help parents think about what they do and how this might affect their kids isn’t easy but with commitment you’ll find a way!
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