4 ways to help kids who don't make the team

Tryouts can be a wonderful experience or one that brings heartache and disappointment.

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  • When your children decide to try out for any type of team or group, it is an exciting and scary time. The possibilities of future opportunities are prevalent on everyone’s mind. But if you have a child that doesn’t make the desired team, it can be a difficult task to help your child move past the depression, the frustration and the blow to his self-confidence.

  • I grew up in a small town and was actively involved with the high school cheer and volleyball teams. Halfway through my high school career, my family moved and I began attending a new school. I chose to try out for the cheer squad and was cut. I was able to handle the disappointment well because I knew I had volleyball to fall back on.

  • However, I was also cut from the volleyball team. For years, I had worked hard to be a better player, and I felt as if I had nothing to show for it. I was also worried that I would never find my place in this new high school, and my self-confidence took a large hit.

  • Luckily, I had parents who were there to help me through. They helped me realize that being cut from both teams wasn’t the end of the world, and new opportunities were waiting for me. Here are four ways parents can help their child handle disappointment after tryouts.

  • 1. Listen to your child

  • I will never forget when I came home after being cut from the volleyball team. I sat and cried. I sat down at the kitchen table with my mom, and she listened to me express why I was disappointed and frustrated with myself. When your child receives disappointing news, he needs to know someone is there for him. Children need reassurance that you love them, and you are proud of them, no matter what activities they participate in.

  • 2. Let your child experience failure

  • We hate to see our children fail. It breaks our heart to see them discouraged and upset. However, learning to cope with failure and discouragement is one of the greatest lessons they can learn. Your children will not always be handed everything on a silver platter. By experiencing a little failure, they will know what it means to move on, push themselves and make themselves a little better.

  • Also, if your child was cut from the team and you don’t agree with the decision, do not confront the coach. This will only make the coach less impressed with you and your child. Show good sportsmanship and accept the coach’s decision. Don’t try to make it more awkward and embarrassing for your child.

  • 3. Keep your child involved

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  • If your child is cut from an activity that is their love and passion, don’t let it be the end. Find city leagues or private teachers for your child to improve himself. Find ways to make the activity fun for your child by attending games and performances. You can keep that love for an activity alive, even if your child is disappointed by the outcome of tryouts.

  • 4. Let time heal the wounds

  • Being cut from a team, especially one you have worked at, can be a hard blow. It can be embarrassing and can ignite a multitude of emotions. Don’t try to make your child move on in just one night. If the activity meant a lot to her, she will need some time to accept herself, find something new and move on. Let her cry. Give her hugs and a few days of healing before you bring up a sensitive subject.

  • Even though failure is difficult, it will prepare your child for life. As a parent, you can help your child overcome this difficult and challenging time in his life.

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Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.

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