For many parents, kids playing sports is an important part of their kids’ development. There are conflicting arguments from doctors and scientists about the role sports plays in children’s lives. Parents can be unsure about whether or not to sign their children up for sports. Although, what if after this decision is made you discover your child is just not very good? Here are some tips about how to be a better sports parent.
Remember It’s Not Your Sport
If you were a football player like your father before you and his father before him, this does not mean that your son (or daughter!) has to be a football player. If you force your child into a sport he doesn’t like, it’s not that he’s bad, he just doesn’t care if he’s good. If your child chooses his sport for himself, his motivation to get better at it will be that much greater.
Invest in Your Child, Not the Game
Don’t be that parent screaming at the umpire or the coach from the stands, especially when the play doesn’t concern your child. Not only will this behavior embarrass her, it places undue pressure on your child to please you by winning. Lessons in good sportsmanship can come from the stands as well. Be supportive and a good audience, but save the color commentary.
Give Your Child Space
It’s always tricky to give kids the space they need to grow, but not so much that you are unaware of what’s going on. If your child struggles in practice or games, you have to be aware of bullying. Kids playing sports get frustrated when they lose and may say something hurtful to your child, but let him and possibly the coach handle it at first. Such are the social lessons of team sports. If it persists, discreetly step in to ensure that your child is okay and the problem is being handled. Often, others on the team will police that behavior and offer a kind of social acceptance that is far more precious than adoration for athletic excellence.
Make Sure It’s Fun
For all the benefits of team sports for kids, they are primarily supposed to be fun. Yes, sports require physical discipline and teach lessons about consequences, but when the dust settles and barrel of Gatorade has been dumped it should have been fun for your children.
Let Them Walk Away (If It’s Time)
If your child has done her best to excel at a sport and is ready to hang up her cleats, let her. The term “quitter” is a pejorative in sports, and if your child wants to run for her favorite video game chair the first time something is hard, of course you should urge her to continue. But if she has really given it a fair shot and wants to quit, don’t stand in her way.
What do you do when your kids have a bad game or bad practice? Tell us below!