Hockey Parents — Controlling Emotions

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Easier said than done.

Any parent that decides to enroll their child in organized sports always does so for many reasons. First, it’s a great social environment for your child to develop teamwork and make friends with other children their age. Second, it’s a fantastic way for your child to get exercise every week while having fun; it promotes a healthy lifestyle. Third, having your child develop a sense of winning and losing gracefully will be helpful to them for the rest of their life. There are, obviously, other more unique reasons, but these are the most common.

For the reasons mentioned above, and the obvious reason of unconditional love, a parent who has a child in organized sports will always be emotionally invested in seeing their child play. Hockey is, of course, no exception to this rule. But I’m sure we can all agree that there is a line of acceptable behaviour that hockey parents sometimes cross. The line that forbids screaming from the sidelines at the kids playing a minor hockey game, insulting other players and their parents, and even berating and insulting the coaches or referees during a game.

Sure, there are things that would upset any parent with a child in minor hockey, like them being injured either accidentally or on purpose, not getting enough ice time, or being spoken rudely to by the other members of their team. But the important thing in these situations is being able to control your emotions of anger, frustration, and passion, and deal with them in an effective way. This prevents the line from being crossed, and trust me, the other hockey parents and even your own child will thank you!

Remember that Hockey is Just a Game

The most helpful thing to consider when your emotions as a hockey parent are running rampant is that hockey is a game. The point, for parents and players alike, is to have fun. After all, that’s the main reason why most kids sign up for hockey in the first place. Engaging in improper behavior in any regard can not only ruin the experience for you and your child, but everyone else as well. So, next time a situation at hockey practice or during a game irritates you, try to keep in mind that hockey is supposed to be about the fun. The best course of action is to deal with the situation calmly, so everyone can get back to enjoying the hockey experience as soon as possible.

Related: Tips for First-Time Hockey Parents

Keep a Healthy Perspective

Let’s say your child gets talked down to by another player, parent, or even their own coach. As a parent, this would bother me to no end. Of course, there is no excuse for bullying or being rude in hockey, regardless of your position. However, not everybody considers that point, and it may still unfortunately happen.

If it does, one of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to first take a deep breath and think about the situation. Consider that a fellow member of the team may have said something mean to your child because they’re being bullied at their school or having trouble at home. The same goes for a parent or a coach saying something brash or mean; it stems from their own situation which people will seldom consider.

While these things are not excuses for behaving poorly, they certainly could be reasons for it. Keeping in perspective that people are rude or mean because they have personal problems (not because they have it out for you or your child) can really help you to keep a level head in the face of insult.

There are More Important Things than Winning

It is crucial to remember that whether your child wins or loses their game, tournament, or season, they will still get a ton of skills from playing hockey that will benefit them for the rest of their life. Next time you feel irritated over the result of a call or game, take a deep breath and try to remember all the positive things that hockey will do for your child, despite being upset in the moment.

Hockey teaches teamwork and social skills, it teaches respect, leadership, dignity, and grace. Not only that, buy hockey will keep your child active and healthy for the time that they play. Also, it will hopefully instill a long-lasting desire for your child to remain active and healthy, whether that’s in the form of playing sports or otherwise. So even if the devastating loss of a close, important hockey game might temporarily anger you and your child, just remember that there are more important things than winning. Focus on the valuable life skills your child will take away from the sport, and that will surely calm you down, at least to a level where you won’t overreact to anything.

Everyone knows that controlling anger and frustration can be difficult, especially in an intense situation involving your own child. But that anger should never result in shouting, violence, or berating others, and the tips mentioned above will help ensure that doesn’t happen. That way, everyone can enjoy the minor hockey experience; players, parents, and coaches alike.

Related: Tips for First-Time Hockey Coaches

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Republished with permission from Tim Turk Hockey



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