When you are the parent of a child who loves, and is good at, sports, it can be easy to push them too hard to achieve their goals or to go completely the other way and be too loose with your parenting less you become an overbearing mom or dad, and it can get pretty stressful trying to do the best for your kids when you don’t really know what will help them to pursue their love of sports while still enjoying everyday life as a child.
Of course, parenting is an individual thing, and there is no right or wrong ways as long as your child is happy and healthy, but if you are a sports parent looking to do your best, here are a few things that might help you to get the balance right.
Be the kind of person you would like them to be
Whether you are the parent of a sporty child or not, one of the best things you can do for them is to be a good role model. Children are like sponges and they soak up all of the information around them. If they see their parents trash-talking their opponents, being a sore loser, or never taking time out to relax and just have fun, chances are they will think that is the right way of doing things and they will follow suit.
It’s not always easy, but if you can model good sporting behaviors like always being the first to congratulate the winner, even if they were not your child, always speaking well of others, and making time for fun in your busy schedule, you will be far more likely to raise a happy, successful and well-rounded sporty child.
Don’t apply too much pressure
Again, it can be tricky to find the balance when you have a sporty child and you want them to do well, but you also want them to enjoy the sport and have a life outside of athletics or football or whatever, but it is really something you, as a parent, should focus on.
Encourage your child to train hard when they are training, but make sure that they also take time out to read a book or play with friends, or hit the park with mom and dad without any pressure to always be on. Stress the importance of fair play and praise the effort they put in rather than the end result and they won’t be so scared to fail that they push themselves too hard and struggle to enjoy everything else that life has to offer.
Many parents of sporty children end up missing out on the joy of seeing their kids succeed in the present because they always have one eye on the future. They are so busy thinking about that college scholarship X years into the future, that they never take the time to sit back and enjoy how well their child is playing in the baseball game today or how much effort their child puts in.
As a parent looking back, this is something you are likely to forget. So, yes, prepare for the future, but don’t let it take over all of your lives, and try to focus more on enjoying their success now if you can because they really do grow up so fast.
Give them what they need
Whether it is a new pair of custom made goalkeeper gloves that will help them be more effective at their sport or a hug to show them you care when they didn’t quite hit their goals, giving them what they need when they need it most is an easy way to show them that you love them for who they are, care about their happiness, and support them in their sporting endeavors.
Of course, what they need may not be sports-related at all, it may be time cuddling while you read a good book together or a fun day out with friends who aren’t on the sports team so that they can have a brake and this is just as important of ensuring they have what they need for their sport.
Give them more independence
If you want your sports-loving child to really blossom and achieve their full potential, then you need to learn how to loosen the reins a little. The more independence you can give your child, the better able they will be to experiment with techniques, take more risks and work out what they are fully capable of. Sure, they might take a wrong turn now and again, but that will just help to build their character, and as long as they are not in any danger, it will be a great life lesson for them, and you as parents of a child who is growing up every day.
Encourage academic studies
When your child is a football star or the best gymnast on the team, it is easy to pin all your hopes and dreams on that, but even if your child does get to be a sporting success, having a solid academic education behind them will give them more options should they not wish to pursue sports or when they retire from the game. Smart kids are also better at working out tactics and techniques that will help them to succeed even more effectively in their sports.
As a family, you should make a point of having as much fun together as possible on and off the field. Go to games, then go out for pizza, see a movie, play board games and just enjoy being together no matter what.
Not only that, but if you show your child that academics is equally as important as sports, it will help to take some of the pressure off them too,
Benign the parent of a talented sports girl or boy can be tough, but if you love them, nurture their talent and let them have lots of fun times amongst the training, you can probably strike the right balance for them, and for you as a parent too.