One thing just about guaranteed in softball and life is adversity. At some point, we all face challenges, obstacles, set backs, and disappointments. Dealing with, and overcoming, those situations is essential to success in both softball and life.
With that in mind, here are a few thoughts about helping your child through those times…
Be patient with your child. Success does not come over night. Success does not come on the same time table for everyone. Refrain from comparing your child’s journey to another. Your child is unique and will come into their own in their own timing and in their own way. It may happen differently from those around them, differently than it happened for you, and differently than you might expect.
Spend less of your time upset or frustrated about how their progress unfolds. Instead, savor every bit of their athletic journey because it will be over before you know it. How do you want to remember your interactions with your child during this time? More importantly how do you want your child to remember how you treated them during this time?
Do what you can to support them, love them, and build them up, not tear them down. Especially if they have a tendency to be hard on themselves, they probably don’t need the stress of you being upset with them on top of that.
Just because they may not deal with disappointment or failure the way you do, or the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they aren’t dealing with it in a way that works for them.
What can YOU do to help them move more quickly through the process of putting adversity behind them?
What can you do to help them back on track to feeling like a calm, confident athlete so they can begin performing at their optimal level again?
Hint: Reacting emotionally rarely brings about calmness in your child. *Tweet This*
–> How would you want those that mean the most to you to help you?
–> How would you want them to treat you in as you go through a stressful time?
–> When you’re feeling down, frustrated, disappointed, or stressed, what helps YOU the most, as an adult?
Think about it and do THAT for your child.
Chances are, the last thing you need when you’re feeling bad or stressed about a mistake you made, the last thing you need is for those closest to you to “beat you up” more, to yell at you in frustration, to rehash every little bit of what you did wrong and get on your back for it.
Chances are, what you need most is understanding, unconditional love, and someone to offer you a hand, help you back up, and reassure you that you WILL get through it. Someone to give you a reason to just keep on trying even though you’re in a tough spot right now. Even better, someone who can do all that and help you figure out what to do to turn things around.
What if YOU were that source of strength for your child?
Your reaction, your interaction, your feelings, your words mean SO much, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
Be the one to give them the courage to get back up and try again with determination and belief that they CAN do better?
I’m not talking about giving them a “motivational” rah-rah speech, but simple choosing your words and actions in a way that provides a true (and often quieter) source of inner courage and persistence that helps THEM know that this set back is only temporary and they’ll be back better than ever sooner rather than later.
Next time you feel like unleashing your frustration on the ride home, stop and think before you speak. What can you do differently?
Even if you’re not the type to make the ride home miserable, is there something you can do better to help your child learn and grow through the challenges of softball?
Stacie Mahoe shares lessons learned from decades around the diamond. Enjoy her unique insights on softball and life from years as a player, coach, parent, and fan of the game.