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The car ride home:

Talking to your kids about the game.

Introduction

It's not uncommon to ask (or tell!) your child how the game went after it's over. Post-performance conversations can help your child identify their strengths and areas for development as well as indicate to them what's most important to you as the parent about their performance.

In this module, we'll outline tips for how to make the most of these moments, as well as practice how to demonstrate your support for your child during the process.

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Do's and Don'ts

DO talk to your child about how they want to be supported after losses or tough moments. Let the child initiate the conversation.

DON'T assume that, because you want to talk about the game, your child wants to talk about it too; and, just because your child doesn't want to talk about the game, it doesn't mean that they don't care as much (or more) about their performance as you do.

DO employ active listening skills such as asking questions and empathizing. Oftentimes, serving as a sounding board by acknowledging and validating their experience is the best way to show your support.

DON'T jump into problem-solving mode right away. Give your child time to process the experience and provide their own perspective.

DO get in the habit of focusing on the positives first.

DON'T get caught up focusing on all of the things that need to be fixed. Instead, simplify that list to one or two things that you want to improve or do better.

DO understand that your parents want to support you in these difficult times. Tell your parents if it's not a good time to talk and when a better option might be.

DON'T avoid the conversation because it is uncomfortable or challenging.

Active listening or not active listening - that is the question!

Picture this:

PARENT: How was the game?

ATHLETE: Fine. We won...but I didn't score, and the other team wasn't that good. I missed an easy shot that I should have made. I did make some good passes though, I guess.

Indicate whether each statement is an example of active listening as opposed to not active, or disengaged, listening:

PARENT RESPONSE 1

“So, your team won, but it sounds like you feel that you didn't contribute enough.”

IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF ACTIVE LISTENING?

YES

GREAT WORK!

Summarizing is a great tool for active listening! When, as the listener, you share back what you understand to be the main point(s) of the conversation, it shows you're listening and paying attention to them.

NO

OOPS

This strategy is called summarizing and demonstrates that you are listening to your child by indicating you're paying attention to their experience.

PARENT RESPONSE 2

“So, you made some good passes? And what makes you say that the other team wasn't that good?”

IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF ACTIVE LISTENING?

NO

OOPS

This is a strategy called clarifying and demonstrates you are listening to your child by seeking to better understand their experience.

YES

GREAT WORK!

Clarifying what they're saying is a great tool for active listening! When, as the listener, you check your comprehension of the situation by having someone repeat what they said or by requesting more specifics, it shows you are seeking to understand their experience.

PARENT RESPONSE 3

“I'm sure you did fine. You'll do better next time!”

IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF ACTIVE LISTENING?

NO

GREAT WORK!

While this parent has good intentions by wanting to encourage their child, the child might feel like they're not being heard or their feelings don't matter. Instead, acknowledging how they feel can be a great tool to demonstrate active listening. Statements such as, “that sounds really difficult,” or “I can imagine that's frustrating” are useful options depending on context. This is a strategy called validating and demonstrates that you are listening to your child by seeking to better understand their experience.

YES

OOPS

While this parent has good intentions by wanting to encourage their child, the child might feel like they're not being heard or their feelings don't matter. When, as the listener, you make the person speaking feel that they were heard and that you understand what they are saying, it's a great demonstration of active listening. A possible alternative might be, “It sounds like you are disappointed even though your team won. What could you do differently next time?”

PARENT RESPONSE 1

“So, your team won, but it sounds like you feel that you didn't contribute enough.”

IS THIS AN EXAMPLE OF ACTIVE LISTENING?

YES

GREAT WORK!

Summarizing is a great tool for active listening! When, as the listener, you share back what you understand to be the main point(s) of the conversation, it shows you're listening and paying attention to them.

NO

OOPS

This strategy is called summarizing and demonstrates that you are listening to your child by indicating you're paying attention to their experience.

PARENT RESPONSE 2

“So, you made some good passes? And what makes you say that the other team wasn't that good?”

Is this an example of active listening?

NO

OOPS

This is a strategy called clarifying and demonstrates you are listening to your child by seeking to better understand their experience.

YES

GREAT WORK!

Clarifying what they're saying is a great tool for active listening! When, as the listener, you check your comprehension of the situation by having someone repeat what they said or by requesting more specifics, it shows you are seeking to understand their experience.

PARENT RESPONSE 3

“I'm sure you did fine. You'll do better next time!”

Is this an example of active listening?

NO

GREAT WORK!

While this parent has good intentions by wanting to encourage their child, the child might feel like they're not being heard or their feelings don't matter. Instead, acknowledging how they feel can be a great tool to demonstrate active listening. Statements such as, “that sounds really difficult,” or “I can imagine that's frustrating” are useful options depending on context. This is a strategy called validating and demonstrates that you are listening to your child by seeking to better understand their experience.

YES

OOPS

While this parent has good intentions by wanting to encourage their child, the child might feel like they're not being heard or their feelings don't matter. When, as the listener, you make the person speaking feel that they were heard and that you understand what they are saying, it's a great demonstration of active listening. A possible alternative might be, “It sounds like you are disappointed even though your team won. What could you do differently next time?”

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