Coaching kids – It’s not just for sport, it’s for LIFE

Written by Lisa Jenkins

When we talk about coaching, we often think of adults however, coaching is just as effective for children as it’s another way of teaching essential life skills!

Teaching children new skills comes in all different ways – family primarily teach children self-care, and engaging in relationships, etc. There are teachers for their academic work, and activities such as music lessons, dancing, or karate. Some go to see a therapist when they are struggling with their behaviour. Then there are coaches for playing sport.

So what if I said the foundations for doing all of these well was to have confidence, self-worth, and resilience. These are not things we acquire without effort. We need to learn what they are, and how to sustain them. You are not simply born confident or not.

Children are often misled into believing that their achievements are what makes them good. If they get good grades, or they win at sport. But what if I told you that this attitude causes anxiety, depression, and even ADHD – yes, I do believe it is a symptom, not a condition. The key for children is having real confidence.

So what is the true meaning of being confident and HOW do we get it? The confidence I am talking about happens in two ways – one is a feeling, the other is an action. But most people (including myself) believed I needed to feel confident to do something. This is actually “putting the cart before the horse” (meaning it’s back the front), it’s the ACTION that creates the FEELING.

Confidence is not about always being successful, confidence is about believing in who you are as a person, and the ability to bounce back when things don’t work out by seeing events as just events, not whether I am good or bad because I did or didn’t do well. Children’s fragile egos and developing brains cannot decipher the difference so their self-talk goes something like “I AM a failure” or “I AM a loser” instead of “I failed the test” or “We lost the game.” Hear the difference?

It can be tough being a kid these days. I think we have too much pressure on them being too advanced for their brains’ ability. The executive functioning of our brains is like our CEO. It helps us to problem-solve, analyse risk, ponder solutions however, it does not finish developing until we are around 25yrs. Interesting to note, the word “discipline” originates from the Latin word “displina” or “discere” which means “instruction” or “to learn.” Today it’s often misconstrued as meaning “to punish” – huge difference wouldn’t you say!

I recently challenged my own “confidence” by transforming my business. Starting with the name from TLC Wellness and Therapy to TLC for Children. I also realised my approach to helping children is different from mainstream therapies, so I introduced some new programs and Coaching for Children, allowing me to teach children new strategies and coping skills that they use for the rest of their life! Often, from a child’s perspective when they are told they are going to therapy, they see themselves as the problem, and they need fixing. That shatters anyone’s confidence – child or adult. When I am coaching a child my approach is to say “let’s look at what is happening and then let’s come up with some solutions together!” The results are the same, children still resolve their issues however coaching teaches children ways that they can do it for themselves, building up their confidence, self-worth and resilience – indeed empowering!

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