A positive parental mindset brings incredible pace to a child’s development

I am sure that there are many coaches from many different sports who have been asked at various times by parents “Is there anything further I can do to assist my child’s development?” You may have received a positive response or have been met by the opposite polite but firm reaction that “thank you but we can take care of his needs”. If you find yourself having experienced the latter that should not prevent you from taking an active interest in your child’s development. There is no doubt that you are in a truly influential position and able to act as an influencer or a preventer of progress. After all, you know your child better than anybody.

If we first understand that young people are driven by their emotions, which can lead them to be impulsive and can drive their behaviours and ultimately their actions. Sometimes in our own disappointments we can forget, as their actions surprise us, that their emotions are very powerful drivers. So, it follows that if our own mindsets are positive, as we have previously discussed in past posts then there is much that we can put in place via our own mindsets to assist both child and club staff. Let’s have a closer look at some specific details:

  1. Ensuring that we can manage failure ourselves. Failure is a consequence of a competitive environment and happens. It doesn’t mean we are not any good at what we do but reflects a standard produced at that specific moment. If we reflect appropriately on performance, then there is much that we can learn from that specific failure. Knowledge from the last failure may help create the next success!
  2. Keep language that we use and how we present it positive. That doesn’t mean to say we avoid negatives but rather that we find different ways of presenting it via our communication. For example, replacing “why did you do it like that?” with “how might you do that differently?”. It requires the receiver of the question to think and engage with the question and the question asker. There is no doubt it provides a challenge. But that is after all what we want them to do, see and accept challenges!
  3. Understanding what our intentions are before we act is a key point and how those intentions influence our actions. Having a clarity on what those intentions are is hugely important. Our intentions can have a direct bearing on a player’s autonomy and whether we leave them with responsibility and choice.
  4. Creating a series of coping strategies for when “it all goes wrong” is a great option to have in the parental tool box. Knowing the personality and character of your child better than anyone else helps as a creator of positive actions to manage those moments when poor performance hugely affects confidence. We will spend some time suggesting coping strategies that parents may find useful in a future blog.

Are there then specific actions that we create within our role as guiders of talent? There are four behaviours that we can all make patterns within our actions:

  1. Encourage our children to understand the importance of working hard and place this before any reliance on talent. Players who create a “hard work ethic” are giving themselves wonderful foundations for developing that talent.
  2. In any competitive environment, your child will come face to face with failure. Being supportive and allowing this failure by helping them understand where failure fits into this competitive world of theirs is a key role of those guiding such young and malleable mindsets.
  3. Challenge their views and opinions but avoid taking judgmental perspectives. It can be detrimental to development when autonomy is placed in a stranglehold. We need to encourage our children to accept responsibility and not admonish it. A key sign of a winning mindset is the acceptance of responsibility. At very young ages our children start to form their own opinions and form their views of the world. Encouraging them to take control is a positive mindset to adopt and a clear action we can take.
  4. Encouraging Reflection on performance can be a powerful tool to have in the tool box. Listening to your child being able to talk about their performance is a great thing to hear. Listen not only to what they say but how they say it. Knowing how to use that reflective process and connect it with performance to come is a skill that can be developed and encouraging it is the first step.

Our mindsets, positive actions and the advice we give can play a key role in the development process. We should be looking to reduce the dependence that players feel towards parents and coaches. Encouraging our children to take responsibility for their learning and progression is a big step we can make. This encourages our children to start engaging in making decisions for themselves until they become independent of the need of others to do it for them. As parents our mindsets and our positive actions play a very significant role in our children’s development in a game we all love.

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