Lesson #1 – Don’t force your passion, your child will find their own
I hope everyone enjoys the first video in the Lessons from Behind the Glass video series. Don't force your passion, your child will find their own was one of the greatest lessons for me. Unfortunately, it was one I had to keep learning as we moved through the hockey years.
During filming, my son told me he hated the car rides home after his games. His comments surprised me; I honestly would have never pegged us as the parents that made the car rides home difficult. When he said, "You barely let me get in the car before you started asking me about the game," I knew he was right and it made me realize that although we didn't yell at him after games and always stayed calm, it didn't matter. It was all our questions and our need to know every detail that put so much unnecessary pressure on him.
During my visit to Hockey New Brunswick, I was asked my thoughts on parents who expect too much of their son or daughter on the ice. I will tell you that I’m ashamed to say that I was one of them. Looking back, my best advice would be, “Don’t make every conversation about hockey!” I used to start talking about his games the night before. I’d tell him he needed a good snack before bed so he’d have a good sleep and be well rested for his game the next day. As soon as he woke up in the morning I’d be making his breakfast reminding him how important good nutrition is. I’d tell him I wanted to have lots of energy between the pipes and then he got to listen to me all the way to the rink. As I said before, I wasn’t yelling at him but the constant chatter about hockey made him realize how important the whole thing was to me. When our kids see that we want it more than they do, it’s far too much pressure for a child.
One of the most thought-provoking interviews was in in the video for Lesson #1. When we spoke to coach Leland Mack about parents expecting too much from their son or daughter, he said, “They just feel so much internal pressure, they have enough pressure from their coach but then you can see them sometimes looking at their parents or they’re worried about that car ride home. When their season ends, or their hockey career ends, they all say that damaged their relationship with their parents. I’ve seen it over and over again where kids say, “Some games I play because I hate my Dad that day or my Mom.” As parents I don’t think any of us set out to have our kids hate us.
So, I guess my advice would be this, tell them to do their absolute best and then know that their best will get them where they belong. If hockey isn't going to be your child's passion, make sure you enjoy watching them figure out what makes them jump out of bed in the morning. What I've realized more than anything, is that my relationship with my son was far more important than my passion for the game. Don’t force your passion, your child will find their own.
Written by Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker, and Passionate Hockey Mom
Stay tuned for next week’s video, “Leave your baggage at home”
For more information on the series or to purchase the book, go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.
This article is the property of Allyson Tufts and is not to be used without her permission.