#176: How to Talk So Your Teen Athlete Listens With Parent Coach Jeanine Mouchawar

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Are you struggling to communicate with your teen athlete?

Parenting a teenager, especially an athlete, can be a challenging yet rewarding journey. In this episode of the Raising Elite Competitors Podcast, we delve into expert advice from Jeanine Mawchawer, a life coach specializing in helping parents of teenagers. Her insights offer a new perspective on how to effectively communicate with your teen athlete, especially during times of disappointment and self-criticism.

Understanding Your Teen’s Mindset

Teen athletes often face intense pressure, both from themselves and external sources. They can be extremely hard on themselves, particularly after a poor performance or a tough game. As parents, our instinct is to comfort and correct their negative self-perception, but this can sometimes lead to more frustration. Understanding their mindset is crucial to establishing effective communication.

Effective Communication Strategies

Navigating the complex world of parenting teen athletes requires more than just love and support; it demands effective communication strategies. Discover how to transform your conversations, ensuring your teen feels heard, understood, and supported, even in the most challenging moments.

Here are some effective communication strategies from Jeanine:

  • Recognize Emotional Triggers

As parents, we need to be aware of our own emotional responses. When our child is upset, it can trigger our own emotions. Recognizing this and managing our reactions is the first step in effective communication.

  • Use Simple Observations

When initiating a conversation with your teen, start with a simple, non-judgmental observation of the situation. This approach opens a channel for communication without adding pressure or criticism.

  • Ask Curious Questions

Engage your teen with open-ended questions. Instead of asking ‘why’, which can be confrontational, use ‘what’. For example, “What are your thoughts on the game?” This encourages them to express their feelings and thoughts without feeling defensive.

  • Validate Their Feelings

It’s crucial to acknowledge and validate your teen’s emotions. Let them know that it’s okay to feel disappointed or upset. This validation helps them feel understood and supported.

Jeanine’s expertise is not just theoretical – it also comes from her personal experience as a parent. She shares how adapting her approach to parenting during her children’s teenage years made a significant difference. Her methods are not only about dealing with athletic performance but also about navigating the complex emotions and challenges that teenagers face.

The Power of the Snapback Routine

Another practical tool you can use is the “Snapback Routine”. This technique helps athletes recover from mistakes during performance. By focusing on the present moment rather than dwelling on past errors, athletes can regain control and improve their performance.

The Bottom Line

Effective communication with your teen athlete involves more than just offering advice or consolation. It requires understanding, patience, and a willingness to connect on an emotional level. By following these steps, parents can foster a more open and supportive relationship with their teen athletes, helping them navigate not only their sports careers but also their personal growth and development.

Remember, it’s not just about the sport; it’s about helping your child thrive in all aspects of life. You can do it!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:00] Supporting teens through sports disappointments. Jeanine Mawchawer provides tangible tips for parents to support their teen athletes after a bad performance without being overly critical.

[04:02] Parenting teenagers and overcoming challenges. Jeanine shares her personal struggles with connecting with her middle child and how she used a parenting program and life coaching principles to improve their relationship.

[08:26] How to help children cope with disappointment and negative self-talk. Jeanine describes a common issue in sports parenting where children are overly critical of themselves after a bad performance, leading to tense conversations with parents.

[16:41] Parenting and emotional triggers. Moms often unconsciously offer advice when their child is feeling down, but this can worsen the situation.

[21:39] Managing emotions in parenting and sports. Learn more about the importance of stating observations clearly and simply to facilitate productive conversations with team members.

[26:12] Effective communication with teenagers. Jeanine provides tips for effective communication during difficult conversations: Be aware of personal feelings, restate facts, ask curious questions, and validate emotions.

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