In an attempt to motivate your child, have you ever fallen into the trap of comparing them to another athlete or sibling? It may seem like an efficient motivational tactic, but actually its effect is short- lived, if it even has an impact.
I tried it a few times and what was the result? My kids got angry. It really did nothing to motivate them to work harder. And I felt like crap for even trying.
Instead of comparing your child, even subtly–Did you see how Tommy did his lay-ups? Look how hard Jennifer works after practice!–focus instead on motivating through your love and support.
In my book 11 Habits of Happy and Positive Sports Parents, I address three phrases or tactics you can use instead. (To get your copy or learn how you can give one to every parent on your child’s team, click here.)
Try these phrases instead:
Did you do your best? My dad used to look me in the eyes and ask this question. And when I answered Yes, he said that’s all he needed to know. Knowing that My Best was good enough for him always made me want to keep working hard.
I’m proud of you! Let your child know that you are proud of him, not because of his statistics, but simply because. Because he works hard, because he’s a leader, because he’s an encourager. But most of all, because he is your child and you love him.
Their talent has nothing to do with you. Let your child know that the talent of another teammate or sibling has nothing to do with her. She is her own person, with her own talents, and she is only responsible for her own performance. Encourage her to focus on her own performance, instead of trying to be like someone else.
Do you struggle with how to motivate your child in a way that will truly bring out the best in them? I’m a life coach for sports parents and I can help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.