Posted on September 27 2017
Here at HKYSOX, we believe the ride home after a game should be a time where your child has an opportunity to be uplifted rather than unintentionally torn down. While a simple everyday event, driving your child home after a game can have a lasting impact on your her or his psyche and perspective. Before the next game, learn how to make the most of the time you and your young athlete have while riding back to the comfort of your home.
The Emotional Forecast
When your child’s team wins, the atmosphere on the ride home is likely to be upbeat, positive and jubilant, and that’s especially true when your child is instrumental to the team’s victory. It’s when your child loses that storm clouds roll in and your child can become more reserved, quiet, or even angry at him or herself. It’s during this time that parents have to think carefully about what they ask and the things they say on the ride home.
Simply asking why another player gets to make all of the shots or why another player always plays the same position can be misconstrued as the other athlete hogging the ball or the coach not knowing what she or he is doing. You have to understand that your child’s emotions after a loss can lead to false conclusions, ones your child may or may not share with you.
When parents become critical or are perceived as being critical toward their children after a loss, their children might develop the idea that their self-worth is intrinsically tied with their athletic abilities. They may feel as if their parents are only proud of them if they win and only have good things to say about and to them when they win.
Think back on how you’ve interacted with your child on the drive home after a game. If your child’s team wins, are you more talkative and easy to offer praise? If your child’s team experienced a loss, are you more likely to only say a few words? Do you usually overlook mistakes after a victory and point out those same mistakes after a loss? Once you start to examine your behaviours and think on how your child might perceive those actions, you start to form a better idea of how the ride home after a game should go.
Be a Source of Comfort and Confidence
Reassurance and comfort are the two things a child needs most after a loss or a win where she or he didn’t get to play very much. If your child doesn’t seem to want to talk about the game, don’t bring it up; let him or her reflect in silence. When conversation is on the table, focus on questions such as, “how do you think you did.” For those times when your child is willing to talk, make sure you’re willing to listen and offer words of comfort. Those words might be enough to improve your child’s mood for the better.
Remember, the ride home is all about your child, so let him or her steer the conversation. Those minutes in the car can be more formative than you think in the months and years to come.