Helping children’s long-term development

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Your child stands on the table and jumps: “Daddy I am flying”. You carry your child and follow their narrative; you carry them just like superman would fly, and move around feeding their narrative that he can fly and make him happy, developing all sorts of cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities.اضافة اعلان

You take your child to play sports. They kick the ball and you start feeding your narrative now, not your child’s; this is how you should shoot, pass, dribble, etc. This is when your child starts carrying so you can be happy, while your child’s cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities are deteriorating.

It is essential that parents be parents to their children, and not coaches. Children need parents for guidance in life, for emotional development, for support; creating a coach-like relationship changes the lens through which children see their parents, and makes it difficult for parents to see through their child’s lens and “feed their narrative” for cognitive, emotional, and physical abilities to develop.

Research was made on the effect of parent-coach and child-athlete relationship. How an athlete feels about their sports experience goes a long way toward making them decide whether they will continue to participate, as well as other more serious decisions, with some research linking athletic participation to increased substance abuse and risky behavior (Bartko & Eccles 2003; Baumert et al., 1998).

Whereas positive parental involvement has been linked to outcomes such as greater enjoyment and self-esteem among players (Ommundsen & Vaglum, 1991), parental over-involvement may lessen these outcomes. Stein, Raedeke, and Glenn (1999) demonstrated that an optimal level of parental emotional involvement may exist. The threshold may lie at the point where parents, most often the father, become emotionally involved to a high degree and start to make decisions on their child’s behalf. The parent shifts to the roles of coach, manager, and agent, rather than an unconditionally supportive family member (Coakley, 2006).

Negative or over-controlling behavior by parents and coaches is linked to a less positive sports experience for participants. Both parent-coaches and child-athletes identified pressure on child-athletes as a significant negative aspect of their relationship. Both child-athletes and parent-coaches recognized that increased pressure also came indirectly from the role of being the coach’s child. Both parent-coaches and child-athletes specified several positive aspects of their relationship; the opportunity to spend time with each another, especially in the sports context, was identified as a positive by both groups.

Both parent-coaches and child-athletes raised the topic of high expectations. Most child-athletes felt that their parent-coach had higher expectations for them, in terms of either effort/performance or their behavior at practices and games. Most parent-coaches stated that they had higher expectations for their children, in terms of behavior, performance or effort.

Children see players through their own lenses. Hence, they start “doing” what they feel will make them become their idol: buy the idol’s shirt, learn their skills, do their celebrations, get their haircut, and wear the same shoes. When they play, they see themselves as their idol. At first, it might seem like it is going in the right direction, until at one point, reality kicks in, and the child becomes a teenager or an adult and needs to perform in a specific way that helps the team and works well with their overall ability (physical, technical, tactical and mental).

Everyone has their own narrative, or lens through which they sees and interprets events. Individuals’ experiences, not only in sports, create beliefs that influence their behavior, their game. This narrative determines their judgment of practice goals and objectives, and influences how they judge their games and how they measure how things are going.

Happy players are healthy individuals, and feeding into our children’s narrative helps more in their long-term development than feeding into our narrative, as parents.

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