You don’t have to be a crazy sports parent. I’ll be the first to admit that there are challenges to parenting an athlete, issues that could push you towards the extreme end of the crazy scale, but you can meet -- and CRUSH -- those challenges. And when you do, you and your child will have a much more enjoyable season.
Crush These 5 Challenges
The coach who your child can never seem to please.
If you’ve ever had an employer or father who was hard to please, then you know what your child is feeling. Whether or not he is pleasing his coach is not the issue; he still feels like he is not.
The best way to crush this challenge is for you and your child to focus on what you can change -- his skills, her attitude -- not on the coach that you can’t change. Remind your child that he or she is not playing to make the coach happy, but for his or her own satisfaction and for the success of the team.
When your child doesn’t get enough playing time.
It’s not easy to see your child on the bench, dying to get into the game, eagerly waiting for a signal from Coach. Their frustration may be hidden at the game, but you will see it at home, and it may make you want to cry, scream, hug your kid, and cuss out the coach.
The best way to crush this challenge? The honest truth is there’s no easy way to do it. Yes, you know that your child is learning life lessons about being a team player, but that knowledge won’t squelch your frustration. The only way to crush this challenge is to hug your child, stay positive, encourage him or her to keep working hard, praise effort, and don’t let your son or daughter put all their hopes and dreams into sports. Be sure your child is involved in other activities that validate him or her.
Watching your child suffer through failures or mistakes.
It’s almost physically painful to watch your child go through this. Your heart will break and sometimes the best thing you can do is let your child cry and be there to give a hug and listen.
Crush this challenge by resisting the urge to be the fix-it parent. Be a sounding board, a listening ear, a “coach” who helps your child think through the issue and figure out what can be done to be sure the mistake doesn’t happen again.
When your child is too hard on himself.
If you have a perfectionist athlete, it can be a miserable night in the house after a game when he feels he did not play up to his standards. Doesn’t matter if she played a good game. Doesn’t matter if he played a lot. Doesn’t matter if her team won. If he feels like he didn’t do his best, he will be his own worst critic.
Crushing this challenge is monumental. There’s a very good chance that your child will not hear your encouragement, but I would say, keep speaking positive truth anyway. Some of the seeds will sink in sooner or later. Be sure your child is around others who will echo your encouragements because the chances are pretty good that your son or daughter will take in the positive remarks from someone else, even if you’ve said the very same thing!
What are some of the challenges you’ve face in youth sports that I’ve not mentioned? And how are you doing at crushing them?
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