It’s 2016–a new year with new seasons, new coaches, and new challenges as a sports parent. And if you are to keep the positive in your child’s youth sports experience, here are 5 things you absolutely must let go:
Other people’s opinions of you
If you are a parent who doesn’t like to get sucked into the negativity of youth sports, you may feel like an outsider. Parents may try to pull you into their sympathy groups and when you don’t join, they may leave you to yourself. Which is not necessarily a bad thing, but nobody likes the feeling of being disliked or ignored.
It’s time to let go of your people-pleasing habits and do what you know is right for your child and for you. Don’t let the crowd’s opinions of you determine your behavior. Show your child what it means to have the courage to do what’s right regardless of what others think of you.
Your opinion of everyone else
What kind of a year would it be if you adopted the directive “Seek to Understand” instead of labeling and jumping to conclusions?
There could be a very good reason that the coach never smiles, that the team “star” has an attitude, or that a parent on your child’s team never volunteers.
We are always so quick to form opinions of others without knowing their story. I’m not saying their behavior is right or even acceptable, but seeking to understand does more to help others than labeling does.
Your need to control
Open your fist and let go. You do not need to be in control of everything your child does.
You don’t need to find the best team for him to play on or confront the coach when she’s not getting the playing time she wants. Stop smoothing out every bump in the road so your child doesn’t trip. Your need to control is NOT helping your child grow stronger.
Your comfort zone
Letting go of your comfort zone is something every parent needs to do, sports parent or not. Parents were simply not mean to live in comfort zones.
Show your kids how to take risks, try new things, take initiative.
For some of you, it may mean agreeing to help coach your child’s little league team. For others, it may mean being the team parent or learning how to run a snack bar. Just because you’ve never done it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
Whether you venture out of your comfort zone in the youth sports arena, in your job, or in your relationship with your child, just do it!
I’ve never regretted trips outside my comfort zone because they’ve always stretched me, brought me new friends, and made me a stronger person. Show your kids what it looks like to face and conquer fears.
Your Desire for Perfection
Wanting to see your kids do well often makes parents push for perfection. Perfection from their child, perfection from the coach, and perfection from the officials.
Stop pushing your child to do something he or she had no passion for. Striving for perfection has to be your child’s goal, not yours.
Stop demanding that the coach have a perfect game plan that includes your child getting lots of playing time, the team winning, and each child reaching his or her full potential. Coaches are not super heroes; they are people with jobs, they are moms, dads, uncles, aunts–they are just trying to help kids, not get promoted to college or pro.
Stop expecting the official to always get every call right. He or She is human, after all.
Parent, it’s time to encourage excellence, not perfection.
The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time–Edwin Bliss.
How Will You Greet 2016?
To 2015 I say: See ya, I’m leaving you and some other unnecessary baggage behind.
To 2016 I say: Bring it on! I’ve left the useless stuff behind and am ready for a positive sportsparenting year!
Are you dealing with the challenges of parenting a teen athlete?