As a parent, you undoubtedly want your young athlete to grow in confidence, not just in skill level.
And, while some confidence will develop naturally as the child plays and gets better at his sport, a lot of confidence and self-esteem comes from the parents. As a parent, you want to do your part to encourage your child and help build his self-esteem, and we’ve got some do’s and don’ts to help you get started.
Don’t Compare Your Child to Yourself or Other Athletes
Parents often make offhand remarks like, “When I was your age…” What parents don’t realize when they say things like this is that they’re actually comparing their child to themselves. Remember, your child is not you. Your child has his or her own rate of growth, own interests, and more. Don’t compare your child to yourself. It just puts undue pressure on the child.
The same goes for comparing your child to siblings or, even worse, other athletes. Saying things, such as, “Why can’t you be more like Jimmy?” are incredibly detrimental to a child’s sense of worth and overall wellbeing.
Do Celebrate Every Accomplishment
In addition to being careful to let your child be his own person, also make sure you celebrate every accomplishment of your child’s, even the small ones.
Don’t just celebrate winning a game. Celebrate every new skill that’s learned and every challenge that’s overcome. Also remember to celebrate non-sports related accomplishments too. After all, you want your child to know that his value is not tied up just in sports.
Don’t Make Love Conditional
Finally, make sure that you show unconditional love to your child. This means loving your child even when he does something wrong. Sure, you still have to punish bad behavior, but, even in your punishments, make your love for your child clear.
Children shouldn’t think that they have to act a certain way or keep performing in order to feel loved. Show them their value by loving them all the time, no matter what.
These aren’t the only things it takes to encourage a child, but they’re a great start. Try these tips, and you should see a big improvement in your child’s self-esteem.