This is a simplified outline of a one-hour session. My aim when leading these sessions is to make them fun, accessible and impacting. It’s taken 20 years experience in delivering parenting sessions to learn how to respond, read the room and help draw parents out into an atmosphere which invites learning and reflection.
Aim of session:
To encourage parents to use their creativity to embody CARDS@home.
Outline of the session.
Congratulations- I congratulated the parents on helping their son get here.
We stood and clapped everyone. (Cheesy, I know, but worked really well.)
I asked this question. ‘You are at your child’s 40th. As you mingle with the guests, what words do you want to hear describing you son?’ We wrote the words down on flip chart paper. All the words where linked to character, not winning world cups etc. This exercise helps parents see what their dreams for their child really are.
Importance of character and CARDS- I talked about the importance of CARDS and character. How there are many over laps and how the home environment is the most significant to developing them.
Clickers Challenge at each table
When “When I was younger….” was used on each table, they clicked. Most clicks at the end win a prize.
Cards for CARDS
I used the Compatibility board game picture cards. They are an excellent tool for starting conversations with people in a number of contexts. I asked the parents, ‘How are you feeling about your child being here?’ pick two cards which sum up the positive and the other feelings you have and then share with the people next to you.
Who is Richard- I introduced myself and my 20 years of broad experience working with families
We discussed; How did you express creativity when you were younger? Do you still practice these expressions today ? Most watched TED talk is all about creativity – do we value creativity? How parents reaction can squash creativity. We played the ‘game’, “What’s the worst thing you can say when…..” then gave them a number of scenario’s such as ‘son not selected’, ‘son loses big match’ etc.
Discussed ways to encourage creativity including ways to ask questions before and after games.
Talked about the ways to sit with their child’s pain when life does not go well. How we deal with pain is often influential on how creative we are. Discussed how to use this on the car journey home and at other times in life.
Spoke about the need for players to know who they are, having awareness that who they are is good. That awareness of self and others leads to better decision making, creativity etc.
Introduced the ‘How alike are we’ sheet, this sheet enables parents to become more aware of how they are alike and different to their child. This awareness reduces conflict and increases self confidence in parents and children. The information also enables more effective praise. Praise done well is effective in building character because it’s specific and highlights where child used their character. Most commonly people use flattery which is loads of nice statements which don’t fuel understanding, self-esteem or awareness.
I posed with question “Using Compatibility cards with others on your table, which cards sum up how we treat emotions as a society?” I used a car suspension spring to talk about how emotional reliance is all about having an emotional wellbeing which can release the emotional tensions rugby (and life) puts us under.
I offered three easy ways to support resilience at home.
I encouraged the parents to find someone they can let their emotional tension off with. Having a child in elite sport means they too need to have a healthy emotional expression of resilience.
Jenga Game- asked for 2 players. Then gathered everyone around them. The crowd shouted instructions for 1 min (nothing rude or negative.) For second one crowd cheered and clapped. Those playing reported how different each minute was. We talked about what we learned from this game and how it links to supporting a rugby player. Bottle of wine each for those who took part.
Lead a discussion and played a game about independence, codependence and interdependence. We talked about how to have children who are interdependent to enable players to express CARDS more. (Would have played a game here, but ran out of time.)
Final part of session:
Clicker challenge…”when you were younger” you were really creative, I inspired parents to be creative with their parenting like they were creative with life when they were younger. That their creativity will be a massive support and encouragement to their children.
My reflect of this session:
This was aimed at being an introduction to these topics. There was a lot here and the group were really interactive so we did not get through it all and some was a bit rushed. However, the feedback showed that we had made an impact and that most parents found it very useful.
John Fletcher, player development manager at Rugby Football Union said. “Richard has huge experience in both supporting and challenging parents in a number of different environments. Richard recently delivered at an England U18 performance camp and it went down extremely well. His engaging and interactive style helps share information and ideas on how parents can best support their children. He would add value to any environment that involved young people.”
Parents feedback. “Reminded me to let go of the reins & let him fail a bit more.” “Very Engaging & thinking outside the box.” “Very engaging & thought provoking.” “relaxed, friendly, happy.” “Encouraging.” “informative in a fun way!” “A hugely entertaining and interesting insight into parenting. Challenging our thoughts and actions.” “Made you put things into perspective.” “A moment to reflect.” “It made me think.” “It’s not just about the rugby?!” “Informative &fun.” “Interesting, thought-provoking, an opportunity for some self-reflection.” “Supportive environment for parents. Informative and very helpful.” “Opened our eyes to the importance of encouragement in a strange but fun way!”