Tiger Woods is just the latest example of a sports star gone astray. Their face is peppered across all media outlets and the publicity is nothing but negative. As adults we know how to deal with this sort of disappointment. It doesn’t bother us much and after a few weeks or months we forget about it altogether.
For kids things can be different. Although kids naturally move between heroes or interests every few months, they think just as well of the heroes they had as the heroes they have.
Sometimes, You Can Just Ignore It
Maybe your kid’s hero did something which will blow over in a couple of weeks. Examples of this usually involve an instance of speaking before thinking. They’ll issue an apology for the horribly insensitive thing they’ve said and we all go on with our lives. Your child never has to hear anything about it and may not even hear anything at school.
Sometimes Your ChildÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Hero Kills Dogs
If your kid’s hero is Michael Vick and Michael is going to go to jail for a while for his involvement in fighting, torturing and killing dogs you’ll have to bring this up with your child. If you don’t bring it up, your child will hear it at school or from the media at some point. They’ll also notice their favorite player missing from the field of play. It is important for you to build perspective before your child hears the story somewhere else.
Talk About The Issue, Not The Star
By starting the conversation with “Not everyone is nice to dogs” instead of “Your favorite Football player isn’t nice to dogs” you’ll skirt the tendency of your child to defend his favorite player. He will agree that everyone should always be nice to dogs, no matter what. Once your child understands how the issue is wrong, you can bring up his idol. Don’t be surprised by your child’s shock, instead be supportive and make sure your child understands why Vick is going to jail.
Promote The Second-Favorite
After your child has had a little while to absorb the shock of the news he will be sad. Whoever his second-favorite player is, bring him up as often as possible. “Did you see so-and-so’s interception the other night? That guy has hands made of magic!” Even if your child doesn’t switch to his second-favorite, at least this trick will take his mind off of his fallen Idol.
The Rest Is Up To Them
Unless your child has follow-up questions about the issue or the player, you’d be best served by dropping the issue. In the end your child will make up his own mind about both.
Nothing about this is easy. If you must have this talk with your child make sure you are prepared to be patient and understanding. Children deal with disappointment in very different ways.
Danny Grubb lives in Seattle with his wife and twin girls.Ã‚Â He is the founder of GladDads.com and believes that every Dad has a story to tell and knowledge to share.Ã‚Â When heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not blogging or parenting, Danny enjoys putting random items in unsupervised shopping carts.