Being a sport parent/ soccer mom/ soccer dad or any parent whose kid plays competitive sport, is definitely something else. You feel proud and special once they achieve something, that probably most of the children these days are not too bothered about.
But at the same time, being a parent to a 10-15 year old sport kid is very tedious and tiring. And you never know what kind of behaviour would impact your kid's behaviour too.
Which is why, the understanding of mindfulness is not only for the child, but also for you as a parent of that sporty kid. How can you become a mindful sport-parent. Here are some take aways from the theories around mindfulness and parenting, applied to sport:
1. Be more aware of yourself and your thoughts
"How could you lose such an important match! It is disappointing!"
Ever said this to your child? It is a pretty normal conversation starter with a child who lost a close, crucial match. But imagine the pressure you just put on your child to win the next easy match as well. According to O'Rourke et al. (2011) parental pressure could have an impact on the trait anxiety of the player, also depending on the motivational climate (which is also created by the parents).
But being aware of your thought process and communication to your child could help develop a more motivational and a task-oriented motivational climate which could lead to lesser levels of pressure for the child.
2. Try not to label/ judge your child based on the performance.
"You are the worst tennis player I have ever seen"
I heard this, in one of the national level tennis matches I attended. From a parent of a 11 year old.
Yet again this is all about being more aware of how you think and how is it going to impact your kid. So the next step to being more aware of your thoughts is, being less judgmental about your child. Never label your child because of one performance.
This also means not saying this:
"You are the world's best tennis player"
after one single performance..
That is because labelling is harmful- to lower the self-confidence or to turn it into over-confidence.
Rather change the tone of communication in both the situations to:
Take a pause before you erupt your emotions, especially after your child has lost..
"I know you performed what you could at that moment.. If you want to we can sit together and analyse your match, maybe sometime later in the day?"