We are all under so much pressure (PC) to ‘deliver what our children want’ that we can get drawn into believing that people (your sporting child) actually know what they want and is that what they really need?
It is important to state that sometimes they are the same, but good parenting will always check.
A great example of the difference between want and need is if you ask a youngster what they want to eat everyday and most will say Fish and Chips (or McDonalds), but is that what they need?
If we only deliver what your child wants, how do we introduce a new idea?
Good parenting makes a need into a want.
Thus the emphasis is on education/training as if we educate young people about the benefits, they are more likely to be receptive and accept they may need that product.
This is where our skills of presentation are important as if we are not good at communicating a message we will not get the message across and an opportunity to introduce a product/theme as a need is lost.
Something that does not last is hardly a need and is just a passing want and there are many examples and generally come about through extensive promotions. That is why McDonalds have to come up with new burgers etc, as they are ‘wants’ for people rather than needs.
Family cooks spend hours presenting healthy food in a way that children might accept them, as the cook believes it is a need. These foods very rarely get promoted yet are part of our basic family education that gets passed down through the generations.
This subject of wants and needs is extensive and relates to people needing to do/say things or do they just want to do/say it. With people, this generally relates to convenience, comfort zones and boosting ones self image.
It is your role as a parent to attempt to introduce ‘needs’ into the life of your sporting child for their benefit and they could be life style needs, nutritional needs, fairplay issues, time management issues, teamwork issues or relaxation needs.
You do not have to know much about sport, as your broader life experiences will assist you. They do not have to be complicated or large in number but will be obvious when the need arises.
Most times the young person will come to understand the needs from the wants through experience and that is life’s learning process, but there will be times when parents must attempt to shorten that learning process.
An important role for parents is after their child has experienced something that you could have told them - attempt to summarise the experience very briefly and ensure it is part of the conscious mind of the child (memory - rather than something happening and is never thought about again) and so the chances of them learning from the experience is considerably improved. The basis of these discussions is honesty rather than a more convenient ‘tell them what will make me more popular’. The truth is what they NEED to hear yet may not be what you might WANT to tell them.
They may not like what you say in the short term but will respect you for it in the long term.
As we get older we understand more and more about what our parents tried to explain to us. Identifying a want from a need in a number of areas is important in the learning process of your sporting child.