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What’s the right way to praise a child’s athletic achievements?

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If my child’s schoolwork is suffering, should I pull them from athletic competition?

One thing that we can do as parents, and that's one of our skills for parents, is to praise and compliment as opposed to criticize. We tend to get caught up in our child's activities, maybe more so than they are. A lot of times after that athletic event that we watch, the first thing we want to do is help that child along by telling them what they did wrong, when probably the best thing we could do is just compliment that child and tell them, you know what? You did a good job today, you did this. We don't have to lie or make things up, but the bottom line is if that child's out there competing and trying it's probably a good thing, and we need to focus on those things.

Children tend to tune parents out when it comes to information of how they performed athletically, and it really turns them off to the game. A lot of young people end up quitting the game because of criticism from adults, and they just don't like that pressure from mom and dad. And they know it's coming after the game if they don't perform well, and that doesn't set well for either the parent or the child. So focus on those positive things that the child does. Pick out that one play that they hustled on or the attitude that they had.

If your child has a positive attitude when times are tough, that's something big time that you can really point out. Hey, I noticed that you guys were down by four runs in the third inning, and you were the individual that was clapping and getting your team going. That's extremely important. Point those little things out and I think you will see that same type of behavior repeated the more that you point out that they're doing it the right way. 

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