Parents and their role in supporting their athletes

Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents whose kids ski race.

They had a half hour to ask me questions on sports psychology. I found the questions that came up to be good ones so I’m sharing the highlights here.

Athletes your parents love you. They want to see you do well and are concerned about the best way of doing just that. I had question after question on the subject.

How do I best support my kid? How do I help my kid recover from a not so great performance? How do I help my kid deal with their emotions? How do I help my kid prepare for race day? And on it went.

From my perspective, it was really nice to see.

I felt a lot of pressure from my parents, it would have been nice to have better communication with them. Had that been present, my demise might have been mitigated.

My answers to their questions were about being present. Helping their kid re frame their results. Letting their kids come to them and how best to support them.

I spent some time educating them on some of the tools I teach to the athletes I work with.

I spoke at length about the importance and value of the mental game. If sports programs gave as much weight and importance to the mental aspects as they did the physical and technical ones, things would change for the better.

Athletes would be better equipped to deal with wins, setbacks, and injury. They would come back stronger and faster after an injury. They would be able to quickly recover from a less than desired performance. They’d handle their emotions better and not get swept up in the roller coaster of moods. They would cope with life better.

I love what I do. Helping parents be better supports for their athletes is just part of the work I do. It brings me great joy to see the kind of interaction I saw last night.







Words.  Words have power.  The power to heal and the power to hurt.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all said things we’ve later regretted.

Lately I’ve been greatly affected by something a parent said.  I called looking for support and instead got tough love in the form of a sermon.  Not something I appreciate or works for me.

I was told some pretty harsh things such as I’ve screwed up every job I’ve ever done.  Nice eh? That one stung.

I hesitated even speaking about it here because I’ve attempted to make my blog a positive one, however, I saw an opportunity to share some important lessons learned around the event.

When it happened I was devastated. I tried to remind myself that my parent’s model of the world was very different from mine.

It took a long time for the energy around the conversation to dissipate and for the words to stop haunting me.

Words have power, be careful how you use them.

Trials, tribulations and lessons learned

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster for a variety of reasons, chief among them is the return of my parents.  Despite the work I’ve done, they still throw me.  Guess it took me a while to walk into the woods and it will take me a while to walk out.

They are only in town for a week but their arrival is a good reminder that I need my own place and in the words of a friend: “it’s time to get unstuck.”  I am the product of my parents, thus they have the ability to trigger me which I have to constantly remind myself is an opportunity for growth.

I have to say I’ve come a long way in the past few years and it’s a testament to the work I’ve done that I am better able to handle myself and my interactions with them.  The awareness and knowledge that I have a choice in the style of dance I do with them is huge.  The change in patterns is noticeable as is the need to do things differently for myself.  In the end my interactions with them are filled with insight, shift and sometimes, joy and peace.

In the words of a wise friend: “awareness is great, but it’s just awarenes if you don’t take action.”  In the moments I engage with them I choose actions which are vastly different from what old me would have done and when I fall back into old patterns I am conscious of doing so.  In the meantime, I’m reflecting on my future actions and contemplating a different path, one that will be filled with what’s best for me.


Today’s post is going to deviate from the norm a little.  It seems no matter what, you are always a child in your parents’ home.

I am on vacation in PEI and staying with my parents in their summer home.  Control is the name of the game here as are the incessant comments on what I eat, when I eat, whether I exercise or not.  It’s never ending.  Who can live up to this shit?  Who wants to?

For example if you have an extra person at breakfast who wants coffee, you’d make more, right?  Not here.  I’m told to enjoy my one cup of coffee.  Yeah not so much.  Comments are passed on what I spend my money on, even if it’s a bloody anniversary gift.  Makes you not want to partake or even show up really.

So patience in hand, I look forward to the next 6 days and what inane comments they will bring.  It’s an opportunity to set boundaries and determine what’s appropriate and what’s not. 

Lord help me but are all parents like this?  Weigh in!


My blog has been quiet for the past couple of weeks.  My silence can be explained by the arrival of the rentals, rents or in plain english, the parents.  They have been bobbing on the ocean for the past few months, the life of retirees who have planned their retirement every step of the way.  You see I live at home, I’m not sure I’ve ever shared that little detail with you dear readers.  My parents are gone for most of the year, sharing their time between the boat, the cottage and Whistler.  Hard life hunh?

So every 4 to 6 months I experience turbulence when they come home.  Our relationship is a challenging one, I’m the only member of my family who has done any work around my father’s alcoholism.  The rest are in denial.  It’s like everyone is blind but I’m the only one who chooses to see things a certain way.  Trust me when I say that it makes for crazy holidays, tense visits and arguments.  So I’ve chosen instead to detach, no holidays with family and the less time spent together the better.  In fact, I prefer email and msn to phone conversations.  Keeps it simple, neutral and devoid of emotion which is really for the best.

The turbulence usually occurs one week leading up to their arrival, during our time together and about a week after their departure to settle.  I’ve noticed I can’t write when turbulence occurs, I can’t paint or create either.  When they are around I wall up and go to ground, protecting.  Sad isn’t it?  After all this is my primary bond, you’d hope it would be fulfilling somehow.  Instead with every visit I become more and more aware and come to some pretty important realizations.  For example, I’ve come to realize that I don’t like my mother very much as a person.  There I’ve said it, a horrible thing for a daughter to admit but it’s true.  She’s a mean, unhappy and spiteful person and tries to make herself feel better by putting down others around her.  Sad.

I try and avoid my mother as much as possible when she’s around, it just makes my life easier.  The relationship with my father, despite the alcoholism is an easier one.  We get along fairly well, despite there being a communication gap.  Before and during the work I did around my family my mother and I would have legendary fights that would end in tears, screaming and anger.  Now, things have changed, there is less emotion but still lots of pain in our ‘discussions’.

We got into one during her recent visit.  It never ceases to amaze me how people are mirrors for us.  My mother was annoying me by being ungrateful, petulant and childish.  I realized after a friend prompted me that I learned those very same behaviours which I am less than proud of from her.  Amazing.  I had never realized this pattern until the moment when the light came on.  I now tend to walk away from fights because what my mother says about me is always an attack on my character.  She makes it highly personal and painful.  Her words stay with me for days no matter how much I try and exorcize them.

A friend of mine who has done group work with me pointed out that I must be getting something out of staying in my parents’ house.  After thinking about it, I’ve come to understand that maybe by staying I get to heal my relationship with them by having these awarenesses, realizations and learning to do things differently.  Let’s hope so because the process is enough to make anyone question their sanity.