Parenting your Gen Z Footballer

The best way to support your son/daughter on their football journey is to parent them effectively. This will provide them with certainty and predictability in their lifeworld at and away from football.

Being a parent is one of the very few vocations in life that doesn’t require formal education, training, apprenticeship, or a professional licence to practice. There is no prescribed ‘how to’ manual with answers for every parenting challenge you will face. But because there is no such thing as a parent licence there is also no such thing as a perfect parent. Just like your teenager you are a real person with strengths and limitations.

Parenting a Gen Z Footballer in today’s ever changing complex world provides a formidable challenge requiring energy and sustained effort over an extended period of time.

What is the personality of Gen Z!

Generation Z features avid gamers and they are known for being ever-present messaging, on the internet, on social networks, and on mobile systems—they are truly the“Digital-ites.” They tend to care about trends, but are also quick to research .

To effectively parent a Gen Z footballer you need to maintain purpose, confidence and patience to face the ups and downs and challenges that lie ahead of you. You should think of parenting your footballer son/daughter as a journey of self -discovery for yourself and for your son/daughter. Ideally before starting the journey you need to take time to really get to know yourself -‘the real you, warts and all’- and accept yourself as  the unique person you are, and commit yourself fully to parenting your son/daughter.

During the journey your son/daughter also needs to get to know themselves as the unique person they are and commit themselves to be the very best they can be in their football and in their life generally. This means developing self- understanding, self- acceptance and self-commitment. But this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, persistence and patience. What is important is that you are both willing to take the journey.

My experience is that effective parenting is achieved when attention is given over time over time to what I call the ‘6 Parenting Essentials.’

  • Being Be a Parent Not A Pal.
  • Having a ‘Parent Wish’.
  • Maintaining your personal wellbeing
  • Nurturing the personal wellbeing of your son/daughter
  • Teaching and consistently enforcing family rules using a love and logic personal life-coach approach.
  • Keeping open lines of communication and ensuring your teenager feels loved, important and connected

Be a Parent Not a Pal

As a parent you are the leader of the family and your son/daughter is a member of the family. Your role and responsibility as the CEO of the family is to ensure their wellbeing and safety and to lead and support them on their football journey. Your sons/daughters role is to be a much-loved , valued, respected and responsible individual within the family. It is important that you both understand and accept these roles. And you as a parent must lead. Your effectiveness in parenting your son/daughter on their football depends on your leadership.

Have a Parent Wish

To maximise your parenting effectiveness you need to have a ‘Parent Wish’ to guide your thinking and action as you go about the day-to-day parenting of your son/daughter. Your ‘Parent Wish’ represents the inner most enduring wish you hold for your son/daughter in life.

Your ‘Parent Wish’ should be future focused and could include, for example, that your teenager:

  • # always seeks the truth.
  • # always keeps their mind open to possibilities.
  • # Keeps good health and maintains the courage to face life’s challenges.
  • # Is respectful of others’ feelings and property.
  • # Is happy.
  • # Achieves their full potential in life.
  • # Is able to get along with others.

Having a ‘Touchstone’ will remind you of your ‘Parent Wish’ and help guide your thinking and action as you go about your day-to-day practice of parenting your son/daughter. A ‘Touchstone’ is an item of importance to you that provides you with a visible reminder of the purpose of your parenting.

Maintain Your Personal Wellbeing

Parenting a young person in today’s complex fast changing world presents a parent with a tough challenge. To effectively parent your son/daughter on their footballing journey you will need to take care of yourself. You need to work at maintaining your personal wellbeing-your feeling of inner contentment and being at peace with the world. Having a feeling of wellbeing will give you strength, hope and energy to keep parenting, especially through the difficult sometimes seemingly hopeless times.

To achieve a sense of wellbeing you need to regularly find time just for you. This is your ’Parent Time’.  It might be engaging in a favourite pastime such as reading or gardening, or a sporting or other physical activity, or just walking the dog. It could also be regularly going to your favourite place for time-out by yourself. What is important is that you make your ‘Parent Time’ a sacred and high priority part of your weekly schedule.

Nurturing the personal wellbeing of your son/daughter.

By having a positive attitude yourself and promoting a healthy lifestyle through providing healthy food and encouraging your son/daughter to exercise regularly and get sufficient sleep will strengthen their self-esteem and overall wellbeing. Self-esteem is the building block of becoming a well-adjusted happy adult and is developed in a young person when they live in a supportive, predictable and reliable environment that communicates unconditional love for them and that they matter and are worthwhile.

Parent mindfully with purpose and patience

Parenting mindfully with purpose and patience is the key to effectively parenting your son/daughter. Mindful parenting is about paying attention to your thinking and staying focused on the present-the here and now.

You should not be afraid to set and enforce rules. Living without rules provokes uncertainty and anxiety in a young person and it makes it harder for them to learn how to achieve the balance between getting what they want and respecting the needs of others. Try to involve every member of the family in developing the family rules as this will help them understand and maintain the principles behind the rules. Rules should be as few in number as possible and ‘bottom line’ to ensure the functioning of the family. Rules should address personal physical safety, personal respect, respect for the property of an individual, daily routines and communication when away from home.

Use only enforceable behaviour consequence statements- ones you can and will enforce. While being firm and consistent with rule enforcement allow enough flexibility for rules to be challenged and changed as your son/daughter grows and demonstrates the ability to be responsible and self-governing.

Keep open lines of communication and ensure your son/daughter feels loved, important and connected.

Keeping open lines of communication will help you stay connected with your son/daughter. Choose the right moment to communicate with them remembering that it is best to resolve problems cooperatively with cool heads. Be conscious of your tone of voice, facial expressions, demeanour and body language. Don’t accuse, insult or talk down to your son/daughter. When in conversation give them your full attention, speak only in 1 or 2 sentences at a time and listen with interest and affection. Ask questions, give your son/daughter feedback on what you have heard and praise them for their thoughts and ability to explain things. Maintain a sense of humour and hope and remember to laugh with but not at your son/daughter.

Please contact me on mobile 0438 184 994 should you like to catch-up for a confidential chat at the club Wellness Centre.