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GRIEF

UNDERSTANDING GRIEF

Grief is a natural response to loss and can significantly impact your emotional well-being.

PCOM Downloadable Parent Toolkit Includes:

  • What is grief

  • Symptoms

  • On field help

  • When to be concerned about your teen's grief

  • Resources

We hope you find this toolkit helpful in understanding and managing these mental health issues that could affect your young soccer player.

Note: Always consult your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating health problem or disease; anyone seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed professional.

04

GRIEF

Facing Grief: Help Your Young Player Through Tough Times

Dear Soccer Parents,

 

The soccer field has long been a place of joy, challenges, and growth for our young athletes. Sometimes life serves up an unexpected red card—a loss, a significant change, or a disappointment that hits hard. Grief can be a complex opponent, affecting not just your young athlete's emotional well-being but also their performance on the soccer field.

Imagine noticing a change in your child after the loss of a loved one, or even a beloved pet. The usually animated chatter about the previous game or their excitement about an upcoming tournament has faded. Instead, there's a quietness, a distant look in their eyes during a match, or perhaps an unexpected tear during a water break.

Hushed conversations among parents:

"Have you heard? Alex lost their grandmother last week."

"Jordan's dog, their lifelong buddy, passed away. They're taking it really hard."

"Taylor's family had to move, and they're missing old friends deeply."

Grief can manifest in various ways, and it's essential for us as parents to recognize and navigate these challenging waters with our young ones.

WHAT DOES GRIEF LOOK LIKE IN YOUR ATHLETES? 

Grief is tricky; it doesn't stick to a playbook. While some young players might withdraw or seem unusually quiet, others may become more irritable or act out. Some might even throw themselves into soccer as a way to cope.

Recognizing the Shadows of Grief: 

  1. Changes in Play: They might seem less focused or more easily frustrated during games.

  2. Isolation: A withdrawal from teammates or reluctance to participate in team activities.

  3. Emotional Outbursts: Unexpected bouts of sadness, anger, or quietness.

  4. Physical Symptoms: Sleep disruptions, appetite changes, or fatigue.

Guiding Your Young Star Through This Tough Play: 

  1. Open the Lines of Communication: Allow them to share their feelings, memories, and fears without judgment.

  2. Be Patient: Grief doesn't have a set timeline. They might need some time off from soccer or want to play even more as a distraction.

  3. Seek Support: Consider counseling or support groups tailored for children and teenagers to help them express and process their feelings.

WHEN TO CONSULT PROFESSIONAL HELP

If your child's grief persists in a way that affects their daily life and performance in school and sports, it may be helpful to consult with a mental health professional.

STEPPING UP AS THEIR DEFENDER: 

  1. Educate Yourself: Understand the stages of grief and how it might manifest in children and teens.

  2. Engage with Coaches: Share the situation so they can offer additional support and understanding during practices and matches.

  3. Family First: Ensure that, amidst schedules and commitments, your family finds time to comfort, reminisce, and heal together.

 

You and your young athlete are a team, both on and off the field. Tackling grief is no different. With your support and, if needed, professional guidance, you can help them work through this challenging time.

In soccer, as in life, not every match goes as planned. However, losses can eventually turn into learning experiences. Let's work together to guide our young athletes through the ups and downs, and help them emerge stronger.

While soccer teaches resilience and tenacity, real-life challenges like grief provide a deeper lesson in vulnerability and healing. As their biggest fans, it's our responsibility to guide, support, and walk alongside our young players during these trying times.

Together, with compassion and understanding, we can help our children navigate grief and find their way back to joy, both on and off the field.

OUR PARTNERS

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