3 Ways to Help Kids Fulfill Their Potential

Potential is one of those words coaches, teachers and parents throw around a lot. They might say, “Your child has potential,” or “Your child is not playing to their potential.”

Truth is, who can actually know the limits of one’s potential? Yet there’s often a divide between what we think our kids should be doing and what they’re actually doing, and it’s one of the biggest frustrations parents can face. Here are tk suggestions that may close the gap.

Examine your expectations

Parents often harbor unrealistic expectations of their children. They might expect their child to get straight A’s or always get on base during a baseball game. And these types of expectations are simply not fair. Kids are still learning about the brain-body connection, and high expectations can be crippling if a child feels he or she can’t meet them.

It’s OK to expect a child to work hard and be honest, but there are times when it’s okay to give slack. For best results, be sure not to build expectations based on outcomes (like a win or ‘A’ on a test). Remember, too, that your expectations are sometimes based on your own desires and needs, and not what’s best for your child.

Make failing a learning experience

Never shame or punish a child for failing. Instead, see the mistake as a perfect opportunity for growth and then do all you can to help your young athlete learn from it.

If parents, teachers, and coaches can focus on that instead of how frustrated they are with the mistakes that were made, kids will not perform in fear of making errors, and will be much more likely to play to the best of their ability.

Use the 4:1 Ratio

Kids need to hear constructive criticism—and today’s emphasis on positivity should allow for that. While it’s important to praise kids for what you want to see repeated, it’s also good to provide honest (if sometimes negative) feedback. How else will kids know what to change?

And delivery is key. The 4:1 ratio suggests that there should be four positive statements for every negative one. You don’t have to keep a mental tally of all your remarks, but the point is to stay positive as often as possible, yet still remain honest with criticism.



Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.

























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