Sports parents, are you letting your child play his or her game, or are they playing yours?
This post is an excerpt from my book 11 Habits of Happy and Positive Sports Parents. To get your copy or learn how you can give one to every parent on your child’s team, click here.
It’s hard for sports parents to admit that they are trying to live vicariously through their children. Most of those who do, don’t recognize that they are doing it.
So let’s start with a few questions:
Did you play sports when you were young?
If the answer is yes, the next question is: how well did you do?
If you were good, be careful that you are not pushing your child to be just like you.
If you were not good, be careful that you are not pushing your child to be what you were not. You may be trying to make up for your own frustrations by pushing your child to do what you could not.
If you did not play sports, then be careful that you are not pushing your child to make up for something you wished you would have or could have done.
The best way to be certain that you are not living out your own desires and dreams through your kids is to let your child make the choices when it comes to sports: whether to play and what to play, as long as it is in line with your family’s schedule and budget.
Once your child makes that choice, here’s how you let her game be HER GAME:
• Sit back and enjoy the game; don’t hover on the sidelines, coaching or commenting. Be a spectator.
• Avoid nagging and pushing: Shouldn’t you be practicing extra? Don’t you want to stay after and work on your hitting? If you’re not gonna work any harder, you may lose your starting spot. I know from experience that nagging does not work. It merely puts tension between you and your child.
• Let him fight his own battles. For playing time or a certain position, or even when it comes to team drama. Talk with your child about it at home; give him guidance and support. But let him do the front line fighting.
Of course your child will be influenced by your desires and interests. If he is raised in a sports-loving home, there’s a good chance he will love sports too. But it’s important to let your child carve his own path and be his own person.
Do you find yourself taking over your child’s youth sports experience? I can help you relate to the journey in a way that is healthy for both you and your child. I’m a life coach for sports parents. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org