As a parent, you want the best for your child beyond a reasonable doubt. You want to put your best foot forward, but sometimes you get caught up in the game. In the past few years, parent’s involvement in youth sports has grown tremendously and can end badly. Can parents be involved in youth sports? The obvious answer – absolutely. There is no doubt you want to see your child thrive in every way imaginable, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to. On the other hand, there are things to be considered when deciding your level of interaction with your child and their sporting experiences. Here are some ideas to implement in your household.
Put Your Child First
Remember the reason you’re doing this! Youth sports are an experience similar to any sporting event. It unites fans, it builds character and strength in the players and gives both the audience and players something to believe in. It’s understandable to be so invested in your child’s success, but you’re probably on that field because your child wants to have some fun! It’s important to teach them to work hard and have dedication, but more than likely your first few games your kid just wants to get out there and play.
Put Yourself In Their Shoes
It’s hard to remember this when you’re in the heat of the moment and you’re so close to winning the game, but this can be very effective. Imagine being in your child’s shoes at the exact moment you’re yelling at the ref, yelling at their teammate, maybe even yelling at them! Think of the obstacles they’re facing at the moment – the opposing team, the sport itself, the audience, and most of all impressing you! All of this can be a lot of pressure without mom and dad vocalizing some of it, too. Sometimes being empathetic in the moment helps to avoid overstepping your bounds.
I think everyone can agree the most important thing is that your child is happy and has a positive experience! If your child is falling behind, let them make mistakes. Participating in a sport at a young age has so many benefits. These range from physical development, to character building, to leadership skills.
A common but unexpected benefit can be the acceptance of failure if that’s something you choose to implement in your household. Making mistakes allows your child to fall down, and learn how to pick themselves up. Instead of fixing it for them, or getting aggressive with the coach, ref, or the other team, do something that will have a positive impact. Spend a few minutes every day, or every other day, practicing things they’re struggling with. This is something your child will enjoy and it will help them grow. This allows you to become more involved but has a positive impact.
No matter how much you put into youth sports for your child, if they don’t enjoy it they will eventually quit. If you want to be involved in your child’s youth sports experience, it’s better to be an unbiased observer than to take a front row stance. Ask them how their game went, how they’re getting along with their teammates, or what they like most about this season. Take a genuine interest in their new experiences, but keep in mind this is their experience. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be supportive of your child on the sidelines, as long as you remember who you’re cheering on!