Getting cut from a team is disappointing. Any form of rejection is painful and stirs up negative emotions among children, especially if they have their heart set on something. But failure is also part of life, and a setback can be good for your young athlete.
During this hard time, kids will look to you as a parent for moral and emotional support. It’s crucial that you know how to handle this situation the right way, to help them grow, raise their self-confidence, and turn an adverse outcome into an opportunity for self-improvement. So, what do you tell your child after they’re cut from a team?
Listen and Empathize
Before you speak to your young athlete, listen to them. It’s important to hear them out and discover their feelings. Are they angry or sad? Do they feel they have disappointed themselves or you? Are they having second thoughts about playing that sport or for that particular team?
Knowing the answer to all of these questions helps children vent and express their emotions, and gives you time to determine how to channel them into a positive outlook. It also let’s both of you accept and mourn the failure.
Empathizing with your child also shows there’s nothing wrong with getting cut from the team, as long as you don’t let bad emotions consume you. And it helps when someone listens to what you have to say.
Sleep On It
Rash decisions never solve anything. While listening and comforting your child is good for their emotional wellbeing, making quick decisions can be harmful for their future participation in sport.
Instead, sleep on it. Allow yourselves to cool off before you come to an agreement. Both of you will think more rationally and with a clearer mind.
Afterward, find out what they want to do, and maybe follow up with the coach and uncover the reasons behind their cut.
It’s a Challenge, Not a Disappointment
Getting cut from a team can be seen as a challenge, and it’s important to emphasize that when speaking to your child. Seeing it as a setback can motivate them to be proactive and work harder outside the practice field.
Prove your support by offering to practice with your child. If they view your efforts and reactions as positive encouragement, it tells them that it’s only a minor problem.
If are glad to work with them on a problem, it helps you find a suitable solution together.
Make Simple and Constructive Suggestions
Once they have a positive mindset, it’s up to you to provide the next step. Simple suggestions like creating a plan can lead them to figure out primary long-term goals.
For example, you might offer to practice with them, that leads to a tryout for a different team or the first step in preparing for next year. You might also want to take their mind off it, and go to a pro game.
Whatever you choose, make it sound fun, supportive and enjoyable so the child will accept your proposal.
It’s Up to You
There is no universal blueprint for handling tough situations like this, but remember that your child is unique and your own. And if your child does get cut from a team, there is no one better in the world who can talk to them than you.