Have kids always been so negative? I see it at every youth sporting event. Kids get so down on themselves! If they make an error in the field, a mistake at the plate or foul on the court. The shrugged shoulders, teary eyes, slammed bats and gloves. What the heck is going on with these kids!! Reece, my stepson, is typically a very positive nine-year old. But if an umpire makes a call he doesn’t like or if a ball gets by him in the infield…look out!! Out comes an attitude that turns him into a kid you wouldn’t recognize.
Undoubtedly if you have ever coached or been in the stands of a little league event you have seen this type of behavior. So, how do we handle it?
It’s a little bit easier if it is not your child. One of our kids was really down on at our game on Saturday. He is a son of a family friend. My wife, Clarissa, walked over to him and put her arm around him. Said a few things to him that seemed to work. He was bright eyed and bushy tailed in no time!
The boys father was close by and thanked Clarissa for helping out. Later in the game the boy made an unbelievable stop at second base to save what would have been an extra base hit.
Another example involves one of my favorite past players. He was in the opposing dugout at the same game this past weekend. He gave up five runs while pitching (there is a five run limit per inning at this age). For the next inning or two he looked absolutely miserable. Very upset with himself.
I was helping coach our team but saw how down he was. I walked over and put my arms around him, gave him a big hug and told him to relax! I was able to put a smile on his face and help him get over the blues.
The next inning while catching, he gunned down Reece at third base on an attempted stolen base. I should have left him to sulk…..
Keeping kids positive is not an easy task. Here are three ideas to help.
- Be Positive Yourself! Be a role model. You can’t expect your child to be positive if you are miserable and pessimistic all the time. Show them how to be positive and how to handle uneasy situations.
- It takes a community. Let’s make a deal. If you see my son or daughter sad or upset, please help them out. I will gladly do the same for yours. A lot of times parents are unable to get through to their children. Sometimes the kids need an outside voice or hug in order to get over what’s got them down. Be a friendly face with a friendly comment. Thank you in advance.
- Don’t criticize. Have you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People“? I wish we all did. Among many other gems about how to interact with each other, Dale Carnegie suggests that criticizing is not only a waste of time but it will do the complete opposite of what the criticizer is intending. He’s right. Criticizing our youth won’t make them understand better, it will just push them away from us. This is something I am still working on.
Do your children get down on themselves? What are some ideas you have to help keep them positive?