It’s easy as a parent to get so wrapped up in our children’s sports competitions that we begin to think of it as our own competition. We have seen it happen and maybe even been guilty ourselves. What it can amount to is poor sportsmanship; yelling instead of cheering, and even displaying angry outbursts. The ref makes a bad call; a player pushes your child, and parents lose control.
How can this happen?
We say that we get wrapped up in it, we are coaching our kids, we are protective of our children, and calls were bad and similar excuses. But the truth is that it has somehow become the parent’s competition, we start to put our needs above our children’s. We begin to take the competitions personally.
We forget all of the positive results we want for our children. When parents lose control it can negatively influence children. It can strike away the positive qualities sports provide.
How can we control ourselves then? On non-game days try to figure out what your triggers are and then review the proper behavior that you can take when situations occur. For example, picture that the ref has made a crucial call against your child or another situation that has actually occurred. Get yourself engaged in this imagery.
You may feel stress in your stomach; you may hold your breath, clench your teeth or make fists. Pay special attention to where the tension gathers in your body when you think about these situations. Tension comes from thoughts, so the first thing you have to do is alter your thoughts. You could say to yourself, “It’s their game not mine.”
Other ways to relieve stress are to slow your breathing, stretch your muscles, or walk around. It is really important to practice this many times so that you can learn how to control yourself at the games. Realize also that it is stressful to fulfill our responsibilities all day long, rush to eat, if at all, and then make it to the games on time.
We can be tense before we even arrive. Take the time to be aware of this before the game starts because you should work to control the stress ahead of time. If you need assistance from your significant other or a friend ask for it or schedule an appointment with a counselor or church member.
Cynthia Logan Anthony, PhD is a psychologist and a nationally certified counselor. Learn more at acenterforsuccess.com.