Courtesy of Elizabeth Wickham
We want our kids to be successful, happy and get the attention they deserve on their swim team. However, conflicts can arise on the team because of poor communication between coaches and parents, swimmers and coaches, or between kids. You might believe your child should be moved up into another group, your child may have felt left out by friends, or a coach yelled at your child.
As parents, there are all sorts of scenarios that can be less than perfect and get us upset. If your child is not in any danger, then my best bit of advice when facing a conflict, is to take a deep breath and count to ten. Better yet, wait for about three days before you take any action. By waiting a few days and having time to think things over you may end up with a different perspective. Distance can be an effective tool in handling conflicts.
Here are five reasons to wait before taking action on a conflict:
Find out the whole story.
You may learn there is more than one side to the story. Of course, we believe our children, but if you’re getting the information only from them, it will be from their point of view. There may be something they’re not aware of when they tell you their problem. There may be another side to the story or another perspective, or they may have misunderstood the other person.
Your kids may want to vent.
Often, we problem solve for our kids when they just want to be heard. We need to be there for our kids and we want them to express themselves and tell us about their days, both good and bad. They might not want us to jump in and will feel better just by talking to us. Being a good listener is a valuable skill and helpful all on its own.
You could make it worse.
If we’re emotionally charged and upset, chances are we aren’t going help in a touchy situation. By waiting a few days and calming down, we’ll be more level-headed and less likely to get upset or overreact. If you react when you’re upset, there’s no turning back, and it may take more work to correct a situation.
Problem-solving is a skill our kids need.
By taking over and handling our children’s problems we aren’t allowing them to learn the skills they’ll need throughout their lives. They’ll definitely need to know how to talk to professors, landlords, bosses and coworkers when things aren’t perfect. The swim team is a great place to practice problem-solving skills and develop courage and patience.
Is it still an issue?
After waiting a few days, intense emotions may lessen. We may realize the conflict that bothered us isn’t a big deal anymore. If it is still important, then go ahead and write that email, or make an appointment with the person you need to speak with. You’ll be less likely to act emotionally or irrational with time on your side.
How do you handle conflicts with coaches, parents or swimmers?
Elizabeth Wickham volunteered for 14 years on her kids’ club team as board member, fundraiser, newsletter editor and “Mrs. meet manager.” She’s a writer with a bachelor of arts degree in editorial journalism from the University of Washington with a long career in public relations, marketing and advertising. Her stories have appeared in newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Parenting and Ladybug. You can read more parenting tips on her blog: http://bleuwater.me/.