Do you know how to relax and enjoy youth sports and stop taking your child’s game so seriously? 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.
At every youth sports event there are parents who take their children’s games way too seriously, to the point of caring about the game more than their kids do.
They get tense and express their frustration to the coaches or officials or they pace the sidelines, unable to calm down and enjoy the game.
There are also times when you can’t see the effects of taking the game too seriously because it’s something parents keep to themselves. Losing sleep, worrying, badgering kids to work harder…these are all very clear signs that parents need to lighten up and remember that it is YOUTH sports.
When you are tempted to take your child’s game way too seriously, remember these three words–Relax, Rejoice, Release.
When I say relax, I don’t mean that you remain aloof or appear apathetic to your child’s sports. I’m not even saying that you shouldn’t get nervous. I’ve sat many hours in the stands with nerves on edge watching my kids play sports. I want them to do their best, pray they wouldn’t get injured, and hope they’d feel good about their performance.
When I say relax, I am saying that you should not be so obsessed with your child’s performance that you can’t see the bigger picture of sports.
Help them improve, yes! Challenge them to work hard, yes! But never, ever forget that the most important part of your child’s sports playing is NOT his stats, press clippings, or awards. The most important part of sports is who your child becomes in the process. When you can see the bigger picture, then and only then can you relax, knowing that the world will not end if they don’t get their playing time or if they don’t score enough points.
Maybe the game was a disastrous loss. Or your child only played two minutes. Or maybe your little athlete got in the game only to make some major goofs. Nothing to celebrate there, right? But despite the mistakes and the embarrassment and frustration, there is always something to enjoy.
- Look for your child’s small victories–they are in every game.
- Recognize skills and plays on both sides.
- Sometimes, it is just simply the fact that your child is able to play sports.
Rejoicing may not come easy for some of you. If so, you must practice looking for the positive.
Part of a parent’s job is to be in control…at least for awhile. But the other part of a parent’s job is prepare your kids to be in control. And that’s why you must start releasing them a little bit at a time.
Let them make mistakes….and show them how to learn from them.
Encourage them to fight their own battles, whether it’s confronting a coach or a teammate.
Teach them how to make their own choices and how to understand the consequences of those choices.
Resist the temptation to always make their path a smooth and easy one. There are times to step in and help, and there are times to let them figure it out on their own.
Being a sports parent is consuming and emotionally draining, adding another layer of challenge to the already demanding job of parenting. But I am convinced that if you can remember to relax, rejoice, and release, your child will learn to enjoy competition–win or lose.
Are you struggling to enjoy your child’s season? It may be because of playing time, or the coach, or bad team chemistry. If so, I believe I can help. As a certified life coach, my job is to help you find answers to areas where you feel stuck. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started on helping you work with the coach so that your child will grow to be the best he or she can be.