Supporting Your Children When They Make Mistakes

September 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Canadian Sport Features, Sport Spotlights

This resource is from a case study in PCA Founder Jim Thompson’s (@JimThompson18) book, Positive Sports Parenting.

Your child makes a glaring mistake in the middle of the game that leads to an opponent’s score. Right afterwards, your child looks over and your eyes meet. As a Second-Goal Parent®, what should you do?

This is a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate your unconditional support of your child while simultaneously reinforcing the M in the ELM Tree of Mastery – learning to handle mistakes without getting thrown off kilter.

Perhaps the biggest fear athletes have is making a mistake in a crucial situation that hurts their team and makes them look stupid. Standing by your child in this embarrassing situation is a most effective way of demonstrating that your love and support for her is unconditional. It may be easy to say you love your child unconditionally – this is a chance to show it.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Show that the mistake is no big deal in the grand scheme of things by flashing a thumbs up sign, smiling, or saying, “That’s okay, Erica. Don’t let it stop you. You’ll get the next one.”
  • Use a Mistake Ritual if you or the coach has introduced one, like the Flush or No Sweat (as described in Chapter 5).
  • Avoid sending a negative message about the mistake. Don’t turn away from your child. Don’t grimace, roll your eyes, yell advice (“Never make a cross court pass like that!”), or show that you are upset.

Download and print this book excerpt below.

To purchase the entire Positive Sports Parenting book, and to learn more about other PCA books, click here.

These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive parent workshops, click here.

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