As a parent, your attitudes, your values, and the words you say have a huge influence over your children. This is especially true when it comes to sports. You can make all the difference between your child loving hockey and absolutely hating it, all without realizing it!
So, what’s a parent to do? To begin with, understand that your biggest and most important job is to be supportive and encouraging. You should express love to your child constantly, both for things not related to sports and things related to sports; the same goes for praise. Applaud your child when he does something well, but also be there with a hug and a smile when something doesn’t go as planned. And, just as you should be supportive and positive with your child, you should also be positive and respectful toward coaches, teammates, and others you come into contact with through the sport.
Finally, make sure that you emphasize fun and playing for the sheer joy of playing. If you make hockey, games, and practicing all one big chore, your child probably isn’t going to willingly play the sport for very long. Likewise, your child is probably going to get burnt out pretty quickly if you insist on long daily practices and drills. Listen to your child and his wants and desires; do not push children into doing things they don’t want to do and don’t take all of the joy out of hockey if they are actually interested in it.
Remember, your job is to be a source of support and love for your children. Give them the space they need to figure out themselves, their place in the world, and their place in hockey. With your patient love and encouragement, you child can and will make the right decisions for himself.