ADVICE FOR YOUTH SPORT PARENTS
Parents, Things to Remember
At the end of the day, it is good to have dreams and aspirations for our children, but it is vitally important to make sure that our kids enjoy just playing in the moment, and that we, as parents, are allowing them to develop physically and emotionally at their own pace. Remember, like all things in life, sports and being physically active is a process.
1. Research all avenues and make the best-informed decision as it relates to a particular sport, the organizations/teams in those sports, and the coaches. Find out what their mission is and how they support the development of the athlete.
2. Listen and observe your child-athlete to see if they are enjoying their sport(s) and if they are connecting with coaches and teammates.
3. Stay grounded in the present moment. Don’t get carried away thinking about your child’s future in the sport, or with the potential that you and/or others see in your child.
4. Wear one hat at a time. Parents wear many hats or have multiple identities that include being parents to your kids; being a son or daughter; brother or sister; as a working professional, and there may even be times you coach your kids in their sport. To be fully present for our kids, we need to wear one hat at a time. For example, if you are watching your child play their sport, you need to be there as the parent or spectator to cheer your kid on and support them. If you get caught up wearing multiple hats, like being a parent and trying to be the coach from the sidelines, you send mixed messages that can cause confusion and resentment from your child. As a high performance coach, when I ask athletes who they love to have in the bleachers at competitions, the number one answer is grandparents. They say that grandma or grandpa just come to watch and always tend to say, “We just love watching you play!”