The scenario is all too familiar. There are many games when the child sits out the game and never gets a chance to prove himself. His teammates joyously move off the court or field following a game, thrilled with their victory, and your son consoles himself.
In a case such as this, what do you do? When your child was younger, it was an easy choice. If someone picked on him at the playground, you went over and lent support. But as your kid gets older, it’s not that simple.
When your child suffers because he feels he doesn’t get adequate playing time, it’s frustrating—for you and for him. The youth may want to quit the sport, and you’re not sure what your involvement should be.
As the parent, what if you were to meet with the coach? Would your kid consider you a traitor because he’d never outlive the branding as the “kid who played in the game because of his complaining parents”? While your child may be unhappy with that strategy, too, it’s probably best to avoid that tactic. Most importantly, you and your child need to know the reason why he isn’t in the game.
Instead of pursuing the coach, why not suggest that your child talk to him? Advise your kid that he should approach the coach and ask, “I’m not getting in the games. What am I doing wrong?”
With this method, the anger your child may feel because of limited playing time becomes a levelheaded response to a situation that disappoints him.
For you as a parent, the best thing to do is let your child take the lead while you stay on the sidelines and wait for the answer.
Suzy Beamer Bohnert is the winner of eight national awards for writing excellence. Her latest book, Game-Day Youth: Learning Basketball’s Lingo, is available in paperback and as an e-book at www.amazon.com or www.bn.com. To buy Game-Day Youth and Game-Day Goddess T-shirts, go to http://www.zazzle.com/gamedaygoddess.