Empower your child to want to develop themselves

In this post I wanted to speak directly to parents of young athletes about how to support their athletic children and help them develop not just as athletes but also people. Specifically I am going to talk on the topic of self development. Every parents wants their child to grow up to be happy, well balanced, mature, good natured adult. Problem is sometimes parents aren’t sure how to go about this. So I am going to talk about how you can help with this through sports, and in this case develop their own intrinsic desire to improve themselves and always get better.

I have worked with many young athletes in my practice and I was one myself. I know that those who succeed not only in sport but in life, are those who love learning and growing and finding ways to develop who they are as a person. The reason for this is that each person takes who they are into every situation. So it is important to develop the person so they can be a good athlete, student or business professional. Hopefully by the end of this post you should have a better idea of things you can do as a parent to help each one of your children develop as a person.

Here are 6 things you can start to do right now:

  1. First, talk to your kids as soon as you feel they are mature enough to understand the topics listed below. The younger you start the better.
  2. Talk to you kids about the role of conflict in development and how discomfort can promote evolution. We need to hit difficult moments in order to get to that next level. Without them we don’t grow. Kids today want to avoid the conflict and just have the success. The conflict needs to come first before the success. So it is important for you as a parent to help your kids embrace adversity and the role it plays.
  3. Embrace strong emotions and excitability. Kids have strong emotions and can get overexcited and often this is seen as negative. But it can be used in a positive way if channeled in the right way. Use there over imagination to see where they want to go and how they want to do something.
  4. Make sure that whatever a kid is doing is for themselves. It is important that kids play a sport or anything for their own reasons. This is important for them understanding choosing to do something and then doing the necessary work to get it done.
  5. Be aware of the behaviors you are rewarding and reinforcing. It is important to be specific to which behaviors are good and which are not. For example, if a kid is at bat and strikes out, puts in a good effort, but then throws his bat afterwards. If a parent or coach says “good effort” or “nice try you will get a hit next time”. The child not only is getting reinforced for the good at bat but also the throwing of the bat. Make sure you single out what they did well and what could be improved.
  6. Images impact children strongly. If a kid sees aggressive videos or movies they will end up being more aggressive. Images are the language of the body. Be sure what they are watching is the behavior you wish for them to have.

Hope this has helped, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.