We’ve all seen it on TV – a sports star who can’t hit a baseball to save his life or a tennis star who struggles to win a match.
Just like superstars can fall into a slump, so can our kids. And it can be heartbreaking to watch. The good news is that 95% of slumps are mental and kids can pull themselves out of it with help from a supportive parent or mentor like you. But it is important that you act fast so that negative beliefs don’t set in.
First, let’s talk about what causes a slump.
A slump is usually triggered by two or more unsuccessful events that take place within a short period of time of each other. A thought enters the child’s mind, “What if I’ve lost my touch…”, ”I’m going to lose my position…”, “I’m going to fail this class…”, “My parents are going to be mad at me…”, “The other kids are going to laugh at me…”,etc. As the fear creeps in, it only breeds more fear…triggering negative self-talk. If not corrected quickly, a negative belief system can form which can be detrimental to the child.
If your child hits a slump, it is critical that you don’t criticize or punish her for not doing well – she is already doing that to herself. Instead provide support and encouragement and share these six tips.
1. First, discuss the situation with your child. Sometimes just talking about their fears will help calm or even release those fears. Let your child know that most people go through slumps, that they are perfectly normal, and that he can pull himself out of it with a few simple steps.
2. Next, teach your child how to separate results from who he is. Children often define themselves based on the results they achieve. This can have a detrimental impact on both their self-esteem and their self-confidence. Failing a test doesn’t mean you’re a failure. This is a very important distinction for children to understand and skill to develop (that’s why you see it over and over in articles from Adventures in Wisdom).
3. Third, take action. Figure out what is not working. Work with your child to develop a plan to correct the problem. For example, if she is struggling with writing, have her ask the teacher for extra help or hire a tutor. If she is struggling with hitting, take her to the batting cage so she can work on her swing.
4. Fourth, figure out what IS working. Help your child balance his energy focus. Sometimes a slump can be all-consuming. For example, a child might become overwhelmed with how bad he’s doing in math and forget that he is thriving in Language Arts, History, Science, sports, friendships, etc.
5. Fifth, help your child with the core mindset skills of positive self-talk, visualization, and affirmations. It is critical that your child remembers to focus on what he wants, not on what he doesn’t want. If he’s in a hitting slump, encourage him to visualize a hit before stepping up to the plate and to tell himself, “I’m a hitter” before the pitcher starts his windup.
6. Finally encourage him he’s a “winner”. Invite him to look at his Victory Board every day to remind him of his past successes. He will be successful again.
So hopefully this is an article that you don’t have to use any time soon; but, if a slump hits, let your child know that you have a slump-slaying process that will help him slay those dragons and get his groove back again.
If you’d like to go deeper with this, review skill books 15 (Self-talk), 20 (Visualization), 21 (Affirmations), 24 (Managing Fear), and 25 (Moving Past Failure) with your kids from The Adventures in Wisdom Life Coaching Program for Kids Home Study Program. Our WISDOM Coaches are also available to help! Learn more at https://adventuresinwisdom.com/for-parents.
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Adventure well my friend!
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