How Parents Handle Kids Performance Anxiety – Are kids today better at coping with performance anxiety than when we were young? Which is worse… dealing with sports or performance anxiety when you were a kid or watching your own child in a high-pressure “game on the line” situation?
For me, I can say unequivocally the answer is B.
Kids Performance Anxiety
I remember the stresses of my youth when it came to performing. Whether it was a youth soccer game or a role in a school play – I still haven’t forgotten the butterflies I felt. Sure, I remember the fun and the pride associated with those events too but man, do I remember those butterflies! Call it stage fright, kids performance anxiety, whatever…
I practically come unglued when my son pitched in Little League. He’s also performed at numerous School of Rock concerts where he played guitar and sang in front of literally hundreds of people. He was always relaxed and I always seemed to be more nervous FOR him then than he was playing or performing. Now, my son plays high school sports and my nervous-factor hasn’t gotten any better, it has only increased.
I can say from experience that I was a minor mess back then playing sports and now I’m even more nervous just watching him! I’m not anxious for me, I’m anxious for him because he seems so collected. It’s as if I’m feeling the nervousness I think he SHOULD be feeling. From an outside perspective, I guess this doesn’t make much sense but I’m guessing many parents feel the exact same I do when their son or daughter performs in kids performance anxiety situations.
Optimistically, I feel that kids today have more confidence in their abilities and their abilities and realistic expectations of the task at hand and it’s influencing a whole generation of kids. Have you noticed young professional athletes like Patrick Mahomes and how they deal with superstar status and “game on the line” situations? They’re inexplicably cool as ice and much cooler than their professional counterparts from previous generations. Sure some, no matter what their talent level, will buckle under the hot lights and high pressure but so many more perform calmly – no matter what the outcome. I’d like to think the parenting skills “nowadays” are instilling young athletes and young performers in a very beneficial way.
Music concerts, competitive dance routines, team sports and school plays offer incredible life lessons for children. The lessons of success in these situations mean just as much as the lessons learned if they stumble or falter in these scenarios at the end of the day.
I guess still have a lot to learn about how to cope with kids and stagefright – even when it isn’t my performance. I should ask my son for some advice.
How well do your children handle kids performance anxiety when it comes to youth sports or with performing in another way in front of an audience?