Society has changed dramatically from when we were kids, and if our children are athletically or academically driven and talented – the carefree nature of “just being a kid” seems to be on the brink of extinction.
Or should we fight to return to the time in sports when parents were coaches until kids went on to play in college and children spent as much time playing with their friends in the neighborhood as they did with their teammates during practice?
Should we spend our time trying to create an environment where we turn back the clock, or should we instead focus on creating an environment for best supporting our children in the world in which they exist?
I choose the latter and focus on maintaining balance in and perspective about our lives because I believe it’s in the best interest of my child to adequately prepare them for the world that is ours today.
Yes, it’s tough being a parent these days.
But it’s even tougher being a kid.
The pressures our children have placed upon them with sports, school and any other activities in which they participate – is much evolved.
As a youth All-American soccer player and a State Champion high school track athlete, I was an elite athlete growing up in the 1980’s. I had high demands placed upon me and I was extremely busy. In high school, the demands that were placed upon me were unique. I am confident in saying that the vast majority of my high school athletic teammates didn’t train as often or have as high of expectations placed upon them as I did.
The expectations I had placed upon me in the 1980’s made me the exception.
Today – those high expectations are the norm.
And with that shift in expectations, comes the shift in parental responsibilities.
The concept of what a “Soccer Mom” does has shifted from that original Tide or KoolAid commercial in the late 90’s where it was all about clean socks and serving the neighborhood kids refreshing drinks – to that of this decade where being a “Soccer Parent” is all about supporting our children as they deal with the stress of competing for playing time or making a college decision or balancing the real-life stress of the pressure of school and sports.
This is the world in which we parent.
This is the world in which our children exist.
Six Ways to Support our Soccer Playing Children:
1. Make sure our children’s goals and dreams are theirs and not ours.
2. Understand the difference between facilitating their athletic goals and forcing them.
3. Remind them often that your love for them has nothing to do with their athletic achievements and efforts.
6. Be a parent in your conversations with them – not a coach.
I am proud of my child for her dedication and efforts and I rest easy at night knowing how much she loves the game.
I am proud of myself for being a well-balanced Soccer Mom/Soccer Parent that understands my role in providing clean socks and refreshing drinks as well as sage advice and lots of love.
I am proud of you – the non-crazy Soccer Parents – who share similar schedules and lifestyles – and do the same.
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