Q&A: My Son Gets Nervous When I Watch – Please Help.
Jenny Writes: Here is my question, my son plays better hockey when I am not there. When I asked him about this he finally admitted that his dad and I make him nervous. We love watching him and feel terrible about this. We always try to be positive and give him some pointers. Maybe because my husband played our son is trying to be like him. What can I do to help him?
Answer: Your son is worried about what others think about his performance especially when you are watching. We call this social approval in our work. Kids get distracted by thinking too much about what others might be thinking about them. You can try to watch the game where your son doesn’t see you. Or, you can come later when he is already in the flow of the game and might not notice you. But this does not address the real issue!
You should talk to him about why he gets nervous when his parents watching. Is he afraid to let you down? Is he scared to make mistakes in front of you? You might find out that he doesn’t want to disappoint you. You should emphasize that who is in the stands is not important and what is important is his role is on the team and the task at hand. For example, he needs to focus on following the puck or sticking to the game plan. Also, discuss how to play for himself instead of playing for others (or to not disappoint others).
Editor’s Note: Thank to Dr. Patrick Cohn for this advice.
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