Train Coach Cheer Winning with Parenting by Dr. StacyApr 11, 2023
Train, Coach, Cheer: Winning with Parenting
One day I was watching professional sports, basketball to be exact, and I thought to myself, parents should be more like coaches- winning. Hear me out on this one. We have all played sports at some point in our life either for a recreational team, gym class, or with friends in the neighborhood. We all know the feeling when your team is winning- you are untouchable. You are excited, you are confident, you are the best player in the whole world. Winning helps us to enjoy the game. When was the last time you felt like you were winning with raising your children?
Now, think about it when we are losing, our whole attitude changes. We are miserable on the sideline; we are frustrated with our efforts and we are mad at our team for making us lose. We have even coined the phrase “sore loser” for how many of us respond emotionally when we are losing at a game. Losing at something feels harder than when we are winning.
Same game, different feeling, different results.
So, what if parenting were like sports? What if we focused on training the skills our team needs to win? What if we coached our team during the game? What if we cheered our team on even in the hardest of moments? So began the idea- Train, Coach, Cheer- Winning with Parenting.
Sports can teach us a lot about parenting. When you think about it, professional athletes have been trained in the sport they play and have many years of experience playing, and yet they still need a coach in order to play the game well. Training is ongoing in sports. They practice the same skills and drills every practice to get better at their game.
I really begin to think through all of my training as a therapist and really begin to develop this parenting approach to help parents win at parenting. Too often, parents are feeling lost, like their children are winning and we always ask where is the play book for raising children.
Training is about knowing what skills to train your child and most research says these skills are learned by the time we are finished kindergarten. By age 7, most skills children need for life can be taught.
When a team is losing in any sport for too long, we fire the coaches first and then we trade players. Coaching matters. One thing about a losing season, is pretty soon everyone starts to talk about the coach’s abilities to coach the team.
In parenting this seems harsh and unfair, but parents are often blamed for how their child is behaving. Parents walk away from school meetings feeling defeated, doctors’ appointments feeling defeated, even the therapist’s office feeling defeated. We blame parents. Is it right? No, but we do it.
Coaching matters. And good coaches have a plan. Parenting takes a plan, knowing what approaches you will take in any given moment. Planning reduces the need for reactive behavior. Coaches are calm even when their team is losing the game- because they have planned for every scenario possible.
Parenting is a tough game. It takes grit, resilience. Parenting is not for the weak at heart. Winning in parenting can be defined in many ways. Having your children grow up to be successful, hardworking adults that contribute to society can feel like winning. Having your toddler make it through a full day at preschool can also be winning. Along the way in the game of parenting, parents need to feel like they are winning and continue to support their children through the game of parenting.
Cheering is the intentional act of shouting an act of encouragement or praise. We should be the loudest voice our children hear when they are doing well and the loudest voice of encouragement when they are struggling. We can help boost their self-esteem, their self-confidence, and their self-worth.
I created a 3-step parenting approach — Train, Coach, Cheer, to help parents help their children succeed in life, similar to how coaches help athletes succeed in the game.
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