by Brian Spero
When your child is suspended from the action, whether it’s his first football club or her varsity hockey team, it can be a painful, revealing experience. No matter if it was the result of on-the-field misbehavior or unacceptable personal conduct, it should be embraced as a learning experience. “It’s our job to understand our children’s mistakes and make sure they benefit from them,” says Kate Roberts, Ph.D., who cautions about attempting to completely rescue a child, especially in cases where agreements were signed or warnings were issued.
According to Adam Naylor, Ed.D., parents are responsible for teaching kids to support reasonable rules, and he agrees with Roberts that it might send the wrong message to attempt to get them back on the team right away. A few months off of a sport doesn’t deter children’s progress that much, he says, but “development will be hurt more if they don’t learn how to be good teammates.”
Parents should continue to be supportive as their child goes through difficult times, but also firm to allow their athlete to grow. Whether it means sitting out the season or finding solutions to mend relationships, such as attending games as a supporter or calling the coach to apologize, it will carry additional weight and impart a more meaningful lesson when you let your child take the lead.