Everyone would agree that parent involvement in sports is a good thing if parents behave appropriately and professionally. Unfortunately there are a few parents out there that take parent involvement far past the word “involved” and can create poor environments for kids to be learning and enjoying themselves. Let’s look a little deeper into parent involvement in sports and some do’s and don’ts for sports going parents.
Responsible sport parenting
Some have often wondered if such a term exists “responsible parenting” when it comes to watching children play sports. There are however a couple of key things to keep in mind when involving yourself in your child’s sports activities.
1. A responsible parent will always ensure that the safety of your child comes first and foremost.
2. A responsible parent will also help their child learn life lessons from the sports they are playing; on and off the field.
3. With those two things in mind you can now ask yourself, is this ultimately what I have in mind when I get involved with the sports my child plays? If your answer is no, then it may be time to readjust your objectives and motives for putting your child in sports and motives for getting so involved.
Things you can do as an involved parent in sports
While it may be hard to stay away, after all it is your child and you want the best there are some things you can do to make sure that you keep yourself in check when it comes to your child and playing sports:
•Don’t feel bad about receiving pleasure from watching your child play and be successful at what they do. Every proud parent is guilty of that, but make sure you keep that pride check and don’t let your ego get too high and mighty. That’s usually when bad things begin to happen.
•Even though competitions, games, or matches may be stressful for you, try and enjoy yourself. That’s why you put your child into sports in the first place isn’t it? So they could learn to compete, learn some valuable character building lessons, and enjoy themselves doing it. If you’re not enjoying it then neither will they.
•Try to relax while your watching them perform. Kids can sense stress and tension a mile away and will respond accordingly. Your lack of energy or high stress mode can affect the way they perform and how they feel about the game or sport.
•Live your life. While we always want to be involved in every aspect of our child’s life it’s not healthy and virtually impossible. Have your own life outside of your child’s sports so that they have their space and you still have yours.
•Emphasize fun, self discipline, and cooperation. Help your child get more out of the game than just competing and winning. Parents can teach some very valuable lessons when they get involved with sports.
Things not to do as an involved parent in sports
While there are many things a responsible, caring adult can do to help their child find success in their sport, there are also some things you should avoid doing:
•Don’t let the success or failure of your child’s sport dictate how you feel about yourself. If you find this happening then it’s time to take a step back from the situation and realign your values and motives for being so involved.
•Don’t worry so much about how your child performs. Encourage them to do their best and let the chips fall where they may.
•Don’t ever make enemies with any of the other parents. This only causes rifts between families and children and really only ends up hurting the child.
•Don’t lose yourself in the sport. Most, if not all parents want the best for their child and will go to extreme lengths to help them find success. Don’t take your parental instincts too far though and lose who you are in becoming too involved with the sport itself. You can’t live your life through your child and expect them or yourself to still enjoy it.
Parent involvement in sports can be a good or a bad thing, depending on the type of parent involving themselves. If you are responsible and remember that you child is participating because they like it and not just to beat someone else or win, win, win, then you will have a positive experience.