See Tennis through your Child’s eyes.
For most of my Life I have been a teacher of Biological Sciences.
I have taught all ages both males and females from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Teaching Biological sciences is not coaching tennis but in both cases the parental aspirations for their child’s accomplishments are often the same.
The child who is constantly pressurized into doing well in exams is the same as the parents who have high expectations on the level of tennis their daughter or son should be achieving.
How often did it happen in college meetings with parents when they had decided that their offspring was going to university when they themselves never did?
It is the same with Tennis
Isn’t it amazing how tennis seems a lot easier to play while watching from the sidelines? But it’s just not that easy in the heat of battle. For your child, it can be incredibly challenging to
try and handle match challenges like nerves and frustration when they are under stress.
Even world class performers experience these stresses..
So if he/she does face difficulties in tennis that you cannot understand, then as a parent it’s
important that you start to see the situation through his or her eyes.
Responding With Empathy
Many parent have the best of intentions for their child. But in their attempts to help they use their own experience because they judge the situation from their own point of view.
This can sometimes lead to miscommunications…
Try being empathetic to your child’s difficulty and join with him/her in seeing the situation through his/her eyes. This will mean that you will gain an understanding of his/her experience and also
communicate to him/her that you understand his/her perspective and how they feel.
A Lack of Empathy…
Responses that lack empathy usually take a predictable course:
Parent are Unaware– In this case the parents would respond without awareness of the internal feelings of their child (embarrassment and distress).
Interpret– They would interpret the situation through the eyes of their own experiences (frustration and confusion).
Judge– As the parents were experiencing frustration and confusion they would judge their child’s performance as just ‘not good enough’, and possibly communicate a ‘personal flaw’ in the child’s technique
Fix– With the intention of helping their child the parents then will try to explain what their child did wrong. This is an attempt to ensure he/she does not make the same mistake again. The problem here is that the parent did not stop to consider their child’s experience. The parents don’t communicate any understanding on how the child feels. This reaction will cause him/her to feel more difficulties regarding the outcome.
learn to show Empathy
An empathetic response would look like this.
Aware– In this case the parents start by recognizing their own experiences and then consider their child’s experience.
Explore– To make sure they are on the right track they can check in with their child to discover his/her stress and embarrassment.
Understand– Now that the parent can understand and feel their child’s internal experience (rather than their own), they can let him/her know that they understand how difficult it is for him/her to lose such a close match.
Join– Rather than trying to fix the situation , these parents can join with their child in helping him/her cope with their disappointment by letting him/her know that it is normal to feel disappointment.
What You Can Do…
Next time you notice yourself trying to help your child by fixing a difficult situation that he/she encounters, just step back for a minute and check to make sure you have fully considered and understand how he/she feels about the present situation.
This will allow you to collaborate with your child in a way that will strengthen your relationship and makes it more likely that he/she will listen and take on board what you have to say in the future.