Do You See Your Child As Failing or Succeeding At What They Do
When you watch your child play hockey what do you see?
Someone that has mastered a lot of skills and is learning to play hockey?
Or, someone that is okay at hockey and never going to get far? Not good enough, in other words.
I'm pretty sure we've all been in that space, as a parent, of wanting our child to succeed and do well at what they do, including playing their sport.
You've taken them to practices week in and week out, shouted encouragement from the sidelines and even been their 'other' coach.
But what has your mind been saying about their skills and abilities? Perhaps, more importantly, what were we told about YOUR skills and abilities growing up and how is this shaping how we see your child.
If you believed, as a child, that you had to prove yourself to others, that you couldn't succeed because you weren't born smart enough, or talented enough, this is what Dr Carol Dweck calls "having a fixed mindset."
Growing up with this mindset may not make it easy to see your son or daughter as proficient at what they do.
You may have even passed on your thinking patterns to them, things such as
"It's going to take a lot of practice to be good"
"You'll have to try really hard to be as good as the others"
These beliefs create a sense of struggle in what you do. You THINK you need to try in order to become good. Yet, in my experience, trying only means I'm further away from what I want; to be good/great at hockey, for example.
The opposite is actually true. The more you give up trying and simply enjoy or have fun, the easier it becomes. If you think that each and every day you are learning, that’s what will have you go places.
With a willingness to learn, each and every day, and not beat yourself up when you don’t get something right, you’ll turn into the best that you can be.
Where therefore is your child on this scale?
Do you notice they are a trier? Pay attention to their language when they talk to you about their hockey. Do you notice they say ‘try’ or ‘tried’ a lot?
Maybe it’s time to help them change their mindset. Talk to them about how they are already succeeding at what they’re doing. Show them how much they've learned during their time playing hockey.
They will have learned a lot. And no, they are not going to be perfect at that slap shot yet, necessarily. It’s about having fun and continuing the journey of improving though. Right?
It’s not about hearing them say “I’ll never be good at this.”
Tell your child how much you appreciate the hard work and effort they put into their game. Show them your love for their dedication and determination.
And above all, pass on the message that they can succeed. All it takes is the right open mind. A mind that is willing to learn each and every day. A mind that doesn’t use think failure or not good enough.
The mindset that will get them a long way is one in which they are learning.
Note: I highly recommend reading the book 'Mindset' by Dr Carol S Dweck. It explains more about how our thoughts create our mindset and how we can learn to fulfil our potential.
Karen Cherrett is a Sports Mindset Coach who specializes in coaching hockey players. Your game is only as good as your mindset. Karen coaches players to be more focused and play with ease, not stress. And their parents to support their child in the best possible way. Life playing hockey should be fun. Mindset matters. Mental health matters. Hockey should be fun, not emotionally overloading.