Your child may be an Olympian-in-the-making, but that doesn’t mean you should be extra hard on him. Here are cues to keep your possibly overbearing techniques in check.
1. Be all ears. “If you want to teach something to your child, then you should be able to really listen to him. Teaching, for me, is not forcing it on the kid. He must be excited to learn,” says Capoeira coach Alessandro de Azevedo Soares Coqueiro, founder of Escola Brasileira de Capoeira (EBC) Philippines. If there’s no thrill to learn, what’s the point?
Chris Tiu, former captain of the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas basketball team and now a member of the Rain or Shine team in the PBA, agrees. “Parents should allow their kids to try and experience different activities and sports, and then find out which one they’re interested in and where they [excel]. You can guide them up to a certain level, but at the end of the day, it’s really up to your child.”
2. Always put the interests of your child first. “Sometimes, it’s the parents who really want their child to dance and not the child herself,” admits ballet coach Patricia del Rosario.
3. Be fair. Football mentor Paolo Mallari says that bullying your child into a particular sport only creates unnecessary tension in your relationship. Know when you’ve crossed the line and apologize.
4. Do not blame defeat on your child. “A sports psychologist once said that after you play the game, visualize it in your head, analyze what you did wrong, and then move on,” says Tiu. It’s not healthy for an athlete to replay negative thoughts.
“My parents remind me there’s more to life than basketball,”says Tiu. “My mom would always tell me that what’s important is you’re happy with your life; basketball is just a facet of that. It’s okay. Move on. There’s always next time.”
5. Respect your child's limitations. “Everyone is different. Learn what works best for each child,” advises triathlon coach Ani de Leon-Brown.
6. Let kids be kids. “Kids listen every now and then, but it can get frustrating because they just want to kick the ball around and have fun,” says James Younghusband, midfielder of the Philippine national football team and director of The Younghusband Football Academy. “When they get older, that’s when football becomes more technical, more detailed, more tactical. [Now that] they’re still young, they should just have fun playing games.”