When parents back off and let children fight their own battles, especially in the arena of youth sports, it is inevitable that those kids will grow stronger and learn lessons that will be with them for life.
But what about you? It’s frustrating for parents to watch the caterpillar turn into a butterfly, but is there anything else in this journey for you besides the pain of watching your child struggle?
Yes, there is much more. Here’s what you can learn when you let your child fight his own battles.
- My child is stronger than I think. It’s easy to swoop in and rescue rather watch your child fight through things, but honestly, he is more resilient and inventive than you realize. Give him a chance to grow his muscles.
- My interference often causes more harm than good. Before you roll up your sleeves and step into the fight, ask yourself this: is my interference really going to make things better?
- Parenting doesn’t equal controlling. We can’t control every situation our child faces. It’s frustrating because we want everything to turn out all right, but for the sake of your sanity and the health of your child, you must give up the need to control and fix every situation.
- My child doesn’t have to be ME. Whether blatantly or subtly, parents often try to manipulate their child’s sports careers because they want their children to be like them--as good as or better. Let your child be his own person.
- There’s more to me than being a sports parent. Sometimes the pride we have in our kids morphs into an identity crisis. Don’t let your self-importance rest on the fact that your child is the star of the team or that your kid is known for being a super jock.
- This too shall pass. Those four words often got me through some tough stretches in parenting. Life is lived in seasons and if your child is struggling right now in his sport, believe me when I tell you that this season does end. Honest.
- My kids need my love more than my coaching. Even if you played all your life and know the game inside and out--even if you were pro, or Division 1 college--your child needs your love, your support, your belief in him more than he needs your expertise.
- There are always rewards. Always. When you let your child learn to fight his own battles, the rewards will be seen in the character your child shows. As you let go, he will hang on to what you’ve taught him and seeing that will be all the reward you need.
Janis Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks.
- Letting go does not mean abandonment. Let me be clear about one thing: letting your child learn to fight his own battles does not mean you are still not there for them. It doesn’t mean that they don’t feel your support and love. It simply means than when they have to go into battle, you are standing beside them, not charging in front.
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