Monday, May 25, 2015

Don't Be THAT Hockey Parent

Hockey is a sport that attracts dedicated, caring parents who want the very best for their children. These types of parents always mean well and want their children to be happy. Unfortunately, however, they are also parents who, all too often, let their emotions get in the way of acting in the true best interest of their children. Parents who get too caught up with winning, who push their children too hard, and who focus too much on their own wants and needs and confuse them with their children’s are sadly common in youth hockey. If you’re one of them, however, there are things you can do to change.

Get Your Outlook in Check
First things first, if you’re not proud of the way you’ve been acting, there’s a good chance it’s
because your outlook has become muddled. When your child first started playing, for example, you were probably just hoping for him or her to have fun, gain confidence, and make friends. Maybe, though, as time went on, you got frustrated with losing or, conversely, hooked on the thrill of winning. In either case, if the way you look at the sport has changed, you might need to get your outlook back in check. At the end of the day, you always have to remind yourself that hockey is just a game and that your child isn’t playing it to win or to become a star but to have fun and gain related benefits. If you can remember to look at the sport in this way and not to take it, your child’s performance, or yourself too seriously, you and your child will have a much more healthy and positive experience with hockey.

What Does Your Child Want?
Another trap that parents often fall into is not caring about what their children want. They don’t do this out of meanness. Instead, they just get so hung up on their own relationship with the sport and with being a “hockey mom” or “dad” that they forget to check in with their young player. Set a goal to talk with your child on a regular basis. Make sure, first of all, that he or she actually wants to continue playing the sport, and don’t force your child into another season if the answer is no. Forcing a child to play is the surest way to destroy any love he has for the sport. Also, take the time to find out what your child likes about playing sports and what his own goals are. Then, be supportive of those goals and don’t try to push your own wants onto your child. If little Junior is just happy to become a better goalie or to get better at skating, that’s just fine! Remember, hockey should be about what your child wants to get out of it, not what you want your child to get out of it.

Make Your Love Unconditional

Finally, be careful about inadvertently teaching your child that doing well is the only way to get your love and approval. When you get mad after a loss and go quiet on your child or don’t say much other than “Too bad,” your child gets the message that you are upset when he does not do well or win. Add that to the fact that you probably get excited, hug your child, and celebrate when he wins, and it’s easy for a little one to believe he’s only loved when he performs well. Make sure to tell your child “good job” after every game and to show affection to him or her. That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about ways to improve, but you should strive to make your child feel secure and loved regardless of how he performs on the ice.

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