No parent wants their child to grow up with an attitude of entitlement. How can you keep that from happening?
I didn’t grow up with things being handed to me. I had to work hard. Serena Williams
I’m not one bit surprised to hear this statement come out of Serena’s mouth. She’s one of the toughest mental competitors I’ve ever watched. I’ve seen her fight back to win matches many times in her tennis career. I have no doubt that she will be back again, after having her first child.
Her phrase “I didn’t grow up with things being handed to me” is without a doubt the secret to her success. If she’d had things handed to her, we would not even know who she is today.
Are you “handing things” to your child?
In an effort to give your children the best, are you going overboard and fostering an attitude of entitlement?
No parent purposely sets out to raise entitled children. But I fear that parents are unknowingly handing things to their children left and right without even realizing the dangers.
Here’s a few ways that sports parents encourage entitlement in their athletes:
Fight their battles.
You fight their battles by confronting the coach about playing time or position or yelling at refs and coaches from the sidelines. You basically are doing the work for them so they don’t have to work hard.
Pay for everything.
There are many ways to have your child help with the costs of their youth sports. That’s totally up to you. The point is that they have some skin in the game. People value things more when they do.
Your child should not expect that you’re gong to fork out all the money to cover their sports every season. Even if they can’t pay with money, they can pay in other ways–work around the house, babysitting, etc.
Say yes to every opportunity.
Your child does not have to play on an elite team every season or go to expensive camps every summer. It’s okay to say NO to things that you either cannot afford or simply don’t have time for. There’s always options that are less expensive and less time-consuming if you look for them.
Be choosy about the opportunities you say yes to for your athlete. Even if their sights are set on playing high school and beyond, there are ways to work around the money pit youth sports system. Do your research!
Let them off the hook.
A little grace now and then is okay if your athlete is especially tired or sick. But don’t make a habit of picking up after their messes, doing their chores for them, or excusing their poor grades.
One of the most important lessons a young athlete can learn is how to manage their time well and being responsible outside of sports. It’s easy for parents to be so proud of their young stars that they reward them by going easy on them. That is not going to help your athlete in the long run.
Help them find an easy way.
Your athlete will have a better chance at success if they realize that success is earned. Please parents, let them earn it! Don’t look for the easy team where they will be the star. Don’t jump from team to team because your child wants to play a certain position. Don’t run from a team where the coach challenges and pushes your child out of their comfort zone.
The easy way will not lead your child to success.
Something for Nothing
American Radio host Dennis Prayer says that “Nothing guarantees more the erosion of character than getting something for nothing.”
Let your child work hard for their goals, and ultimately their success. The payoff may not be grand slam titles or national championships, but it will surely be strong character.
Are you striving to not raise an entitled athlete? If you are struggling to do this, I can help. I’m a life coach for sports parents. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org