Wednesday, March 21, 2018

3 Simple Coaching Techniques To Use With Your Kids




Perhaps March Madness being in full swing  has me thinking about coaching techniques of late, but whatever the reason, there are actually a lot of things we can learn as parents from best practices in coaching.  Many people who were athletes as a child or adolescent would call a coach one of the most influential people in their lives.  Often, coaches have a special window into a child's life that allows them to ask for their best in a way that allows the child to actually give it.  

Typically, coaches are less attached to the job of coaching than most parents are to the job of parenting...and this is actually a good thing.  While the coach may perhaps view the team's performance as a reflection of his coaching efforts, coaches are usually far less likely to make it all about them or all about their players the way that parents sometimes do when it comes to discipling their kids.  So many parents come into my office falsely believing that they are the worst mom in the world or their kid is totally the problem and it's my job to "fix" them.  Neither of these are ever true; instead, I point out that the parents are showing up to each day doing the best they can with the skills they have...and so are their children.  What everybody needs are some fresh skills.  To that end, here are three awesome coaching techniques that you can use as positive parenting skills

1.  Get on their level.  This first one will be a little bit of an experiment for all you parents out there.  Try shouting down from the top of the stairs that it's time for your kids to come up and brush their teeth and get ready for bed.  Even if you do it nicely, you probably have a 10% chance of them listening right away and doing what you ask.  However, if you go alllll the way down the stairs, into the room where your children are and even crouch down if necessary to get on their level and make the same request, you will be much  more likely to obtain the desired result:  their obedience.  Why is this? 

Think about it...which way do you prefer to be spoken to?  Shouted at from across the office, or spoken to kindly and face-to-face?  Sometimes it's difficult to remember that as parents, it's just as important that we model the proper behavior for our kids as it is to obtain the proper behavior from them.  If we want our children to treat us (and others) with respect, we must model respect by respecting them.  This may feel counterintuitive if you grew up with authoritarian parents whose philosophy was "my way or the highway," but trust me, you will reap the benefits of a healthy relationship with your child if you are willing to do the extra work of walking down the proverbial stairs and looking into their eyes when you speak to them.  Even though you desire them to obey you, no one truly desires to obey someone who disrespects them.  Side note:  I'm not saying it's never ok to shout down the stairs and ask your child to do something...we've all been there, including me.  I'm just saying if we are mindful about it not becoming a habit, we will enjoy a much higher rate of obedience and a much deeper relationship with our children down the road.  

2.  Instill hope.  Kids need to believe that anything is possible...in fact, we all do.  Once someone believes their situation is hopeless (be it on the court or in life), they will give up.  It has been proven with countless psychological tests in labs with both animals and humans...once the subject loses hope, they literally stop trying.  And really, don't we want our children to believe in miracles?  Don't we want them to learn that good can come from seemingly bad situations and they are more resilient than they believe?

But how do we instill this hope in our children?  There are many ways to do it, from positive affirmations to positive encouragement.  Try making it a priority to encourage your children's efforts, rather than praising their performance.  You can say things like "Wow!  I can tell you worked so hard on that project!" or "A 90% on your math test?!  I guess all that studying you put in really paid off!"  Try putting uplifting notes in their lunchbox or around the house for them to find later.  Even if their love language isn't words of affirmation, they will be so pleased you are taking time to think of them and encourage them.   

3.  Let them know what's really important.  The old adage it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game holds true and it's even more important to instill this in life than in sports.  Kids need to know you care way more about them, their happiness, being true to themselves and their well-being, than you do about their performance...be it in sports, school, or anything else.  My husband sees the dangers of parents who fail to do this as a high school teacher, and I certainly do too when I work with adolescent clients.  

I've sat with many teenagers who feel pressure to continue on in a sport they hate or load their schedule with AP classes that don't interest them simply because they fear disappointing their parents.  And oh my goodness, that breaks my heart.  Kids are constantly looking for their parents' approval, whether it feels like they are or not.  As parents, it is our job to approve of them (and love them, of course!) whether or not we approve of their choices, their class schedule, their friends, their behavior, their extracurriculars, etc.  If you want to have a close relationship with your child as they get older, I cannot stress this point highly enough.  Kids won't always get it right (and, um...neither will their parents), but they need to know they are loved and cherished simply because they are your kids.  

I hope these coaching techniques have proved helpful to you!  Does any one of them strike you as more beneficial than the others?  Which one will you implement more with your own kids?  Let us know in the comments!  

   
   
   
   
   
I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com .  All opinions expressed are my own and I never recommend a product unless I truly love it!

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