Lesson #4 – Before you yell at your child for their performance on the ice, take a good look at your conduct in the stands
As each week passes and another lesson is introduced, they get a little tougher and a little more poignant. I think it’s safe to say that with each week the hockey season gets a little tougher also. In some cases, you start to see cliques in both the dressing room and the stands. Spectators are more comfortable and are much more vocal with our referees and in some cases, our players. I have enough cringe worthy moments of my own conduct I’m not proud of to fill a penalty box. It’s moments like these that can turn a good hockey experience into one that makes you pray for the end of the season and avoid the rink at all costs.
There is a story in the book of when I overheard one of our teams Moms say that she had hoped the other goalie would start our next game. In the story I describe how awful I thought her behaviour was and how it made me feel excluded, embarrassed and upset for my son. The story continues to a few months after that incident when I was with team parents in a hotel room talking about another player. I was enjoying being included with this group and I started to talk about this player’s skill in a negative way. Suddenly, I realized what I’d become. Here is an excerpt from the book describing that moment…
“All of a sudden I felt sick to my stomach. I felt like I wanted to call the poor woman who’d made the comment about my son months before and tell her I was sorry that I‘d made her feel so bad. I wanted to tell her I was no better. I was finally enjoying our Rep experience, but I’d turned into someone I had no respect for. I made a decision that from that point on I’d save all unkind comments about another player for the privacy of my home, not a hotel room. If my son was going to continue with hockey, this was one habit I needed to break.”
It was a tough pill to swallow but I realized I was sitting with only some of the parents because some were being obviously excluded; I was acting like I was back in high school in the cool group. I was also engaging in conversation that was unkind about a child doing his best. The fallout of that behaviour is that if you as a parent speak like that, your kids will start to do the same, not necessarily at a party, worse, in the dressing room.
As I mentioned earlier, this time of year things can start to get worse for our young referees. When I had the opportunity to hear the stories from those we interviewed, I found their comments so meaningful. One quote in particular came from Blake Deschenes and it will stay with me forever, he stated “At the end of the day it’s always just a game; you’re just playing. The most important thing is to have fun and no matter what level you’re at, we understand the competition rises and so do the emotions. You just have to remember to always know the difference between emotion and abuse.” I don’t think I can explain it much better than that. So please remember “Before you yell at your child for their performance on the ice, take a look at your conduct in the stands.” I would go one step further, look at your conduct in the parking lot, in hotel rooms, and in the rink lobby. Remember we are all in this together. Hockey is a community of people wanting the best for our kids, so we have to be at our best as adults.
Written by Allyson Tufts
Author, Speaker and Passionate Hockey Mom
Stay tuned for next week’s video in the series, “Raise a Good Person who loves to play hockey, not just a “Good Hockey Player”
If you would like to learn more about the series or order the book go to www.lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.