On a scale of one to ten, how strong are the emotions you feel every time you watch your hockey goalie hit the ice on game day?
I’m guessing your range is usually at about a seven and could go up to anything as high as 15, am I right?
Maybe it even gets that emotional that you need to spend time outside or at least out on the concourse, not watching directly. Playoff games can be that high in emotional intensity, can’t they?
Or let’s talk about your emotions AFTER the game loss in which everyone is pointing the finger at your child, for letting the puck in. The one that made the difference.
It’s okay for you to BE emotional
There is nothing wrong with feeling emotional. It’s a natural reaction to what’s going on in your mind. You’re sad because they let the puck in. You’re angry at the Coach or other parents for laying the blame on your child. You’re excited because they made the playoffs and your child was the difference, stopping an amazing shot.
All of these are the normal range of emotions we experience and there is nothing wrong with experiencing them.
You are allowed to be emotional. You are justified in having feelings, no matter what they are.
And perhaps, more importantly, it’s okay for you to show your emotion in front of your child.
Laying blame versus expressing how you feel
There is nothing wrong with being angry and saying “I’m angry at hearing the other parents and your coach saying you were the reason the team lost” Notice that you aren’t saying you are angry AT the coach or the other parents. You are saying you feel angry at what you heard.
This is allowing your child to see that it is okay to express their feelings. Not to blame. Not to hurt. Simply to express the emotion you are feeling.
Using these words takes a bit of practice and usually requires you to be in the space of lowering that emotional intensity level first.
That’s often not easy to do, especially when your child is emotional too.
You don’t need to deal with your child’s emotions
As a parent, you may think it’s your responsibility to deal with your child’s feelings. That’s not true.
In honesty, you can’t. Their feelings are theirs. No one else's.
Your role is to both be a listener and support them to learn how to express and work with their emotions or feelings.
We, as parents, think it’s our job to do something, to fix it and make it better. If they are sad, we want to make them not as sad, or happy. If they are angry, we want to lash out and yell at the person that made them angry, for example.
Yet, it is not your job to do that.
The best thing you can do is to listen and show empathy.
If, for example, your goalie was angry because the Coach said they shouldn’t have let the last goal in, and it was there fault the team lost. [I hope they wouldn’t have a coach that did that, and I am looking at a worst-case scenario example]
You could respond by hearing them out then saying, “I’d be angry if my coach told me that too.” That’s empathy.
Notice though if you drop into the space of going into a fit of rage at hearing this and wanting to go and punch the Coach in the face. I’d suggest you may have some unresolved issues to work through yourself first.
Showing you are listening and able to empathize allows your child to express how they are feeling and to connect with you. Giving them a hug and talking about how it makes you feel, using your own experience as an example, works the best to support both you and your goalie.
We are all human and we all show emotion
Bottom line is, we are all human and human’s express emotion. Working with the emotion and freely expressing it or using it in a positive way is the best thing for you and your hockey goalie.
If you are wanting help with any of this, please reach out. I can coach you on how to do this.
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.