I have been married for 27 years ( I know- I look way too young for that)! I have three amazing kids 15,12, & 8. I am a teacher and I host a parenting podcast. I love to laugh and make people laugh. My secret dream job is a stand up comedian. I love parenting- every stage of it! I like REAL people ( they are a dying breed). Let's Get Real together!
We have all seen it- maybe a little too up close: the parent who is freaking out from the sideline or acting as an assistant coach.
It is so fun to watch your kids play sports, and it is exciting and fun to cheer, but keep these things in mind:
Do not coach from the sidelines. This confuses the players and there are too many voices.. Let the coach be the coach. If you do not like what the coach is doing, then have your player talk to them first. Keep in mind that many coaches are volunteers and if they are paid, they are in the negative when figured out hourly. They are not coaching for the money. They will make mistakes.
Cheer for your player but also cheer for all of the players. Cheer, don’t criticize. These are kids and they are doing their best. I know I am super motivated when I make a mistake and someone yells, rolls their eyes, or looks disgusted.
Your player may be great, but do keep in mind that you are watching them while wearing your mom or dad goggles. I get it; I have a pair too, but try to realize that.
It is really fine if your kid is not a super star out there. If they are having fun and learning and enjoying being part of the team, then that should be enough for you. It most likely is enough for them. If they want to improve, then they will work on it without you bugging them or forcing them.
Model good sportsmanship. Do not yell at the referee. They are not going to change their mind and they will make mistakes. If you were berated and criticized, would you want to call in favor of that team? Do not yell at the coaches or players or parents from either team. You are embarrassing yourself and for sure your player. It is not worth it.
Well, this happened! My oldest turned the magic 15 ½ and you know what that means! Yes, she has her temporary driving permit. I really have no idea how this has happened and why a baby girl is allowed to be behind the wheel, yet it is happening. It is a totally surreal feeling to be sitting in the passenger seat being driven by my daughter. She has to log hours with a parent, so the daily, “Can I drive” and “Can I go with you and drive?” have started.
Things I have learned:
I love having this extra time with her while she is trapped in the car so we can talk and laugh.
This is a great reminder to spend one on one time as often as you can
She does still need me. She needs me for not only the big things, but for daily guidance.
Never think your child is too old for your guidance and involvement, but don’t go overboard!
Daily check-ins are crucial
You can find out so many things and have a connection with your child even just by checking in with them daily and asking the right questions.
She still has so much to learn and experience
There are so many things she will learn by experiencing them. Give your kids as many experiences as you can and talk about everything.
She is really a smart and funny person and such a better person than I was at her age ( thank goodness)!
Really get to know your kids as individual people. You will find out how great and unique they are.
I hope and pray that when I am not in the car with her that she remembers what I have taught her ( You got the metaphor there, right?!).
Your child has been playing a sport for years, you have invested so.much.money. They have played on numerous teams that has involved traveling all over the world ( or so it seemed) and you have visions of their future. College scholarship? Maybe. You have bonded with the team families and your social life consists of going to games and tournaments and traveling with your team parent friends. The words are still hard to believe. It went something like this, “Hey Mom/Dad, I don’t think I want to play ____ anymore.” Say it isn’t so! Why? How could this have happened? Maybe your child can not really give you a reason. Maybe they want to try something new. Maybe they are just not enjoying it anymore. As a parent, what should you do? What will you do on the weekends if this happens? What will become of your child if they stop playing said sport? What about all of that time and money? Sports Psychologist Dr Sam Maniar gives some suggestions if your child is losing interest in their sport:
Avoid giving your child extrinsic incentives for playing their sport. Remember, they are (hopefully) playing it because it’s fun!
Understand why your child initially took up his or her sport and help remind them of that. In some cases, your child might even need help remembering. For example, “Remember when you first started playing volleyball? It was so much fun for you to be out there with your friends working together as a team.”
Empower your child to make their sport more fun. It’s not just the coach’s responsibility to do this.
Watch your words and messages. Are you connecting fun with winning and scoring, or is the fun associated with the reasons your child originally took up the sport?
I know some kids who miss every party and every other activity because they have something with their sport all the time. Make sure your child is fine with this. They may be burned out and tired of missing everything. Maybe some balance would help them love their sport again.
If your child still wants to give up that sport ( or any activity really- music, etc.), parents need to realize that although we are the parent and need to provide guidance, the child is the one who is going to practice and games and putting the time in, and if they do not enjoy it anymore, that happens. How many things have you as an adult picked up and been excited about only to get bored or find something you enjoy more ( think every January with a new exercise kick)? Make sure that the reasons you want your child to continue are not because of the social or money investment aspects for yourself.
They may be good at it, but not enjoy it, or they may enjoy it but not want to play it as an organized sport.
It does not mean that they are a quitter. Chances are, they have worked hard to get where they are and they hopefully have learned life long lessons.
What will the other parents think? Oh the horrors! Remember that this is about your child.
*I am not suggesting to allow your kids to quit on a whim or mid-season. That is not the spirit of this blog.