Your children’s character is not the only one developing through their journey as an athlete. Parents have a great deal to learn from their athletes experience in sports as well. I learned a lot over the course of 20 years as a sports mom, and am certain that I became a better parent through the process.
Here are 11 ways that youth sports influenced me as a parent
1. I learned when to keep my mouth shut
Sometimes your athlete won’t want questions after practice or after a game. You have to know your kid and let them open up when they are ready. When they are, you have to be ready to listen.
2. I learned that my worrying doesn’t help them play better
It just gives me a nervous stomach!
3. I learned to not be a control freak
Let them fight their own battles. Let them learn from their mistakes. Let them reap what they sow. Let them suffer the consequences of their choices.
4. I learned that what I model at home is what my kids model before their teammates
If I trash talk teammates or coaches, they will most likely do the same. If I am positive and build up the team and coach, they are more likely to reflect that to their team.
5. I learned to let the coach be the coach, and that I will be the parent
He has his job and I have mine. Tips and help at home are okay when asked, but pushing my kids like a coach only added tension to our relationships.
6. I learned that being positive helped me have a better relationship with my kids
Sometimes I was a negative Nancy and when I saw how this frustrated my kids, I knew I had to work on my attitude!
7. I learned that my kids want me to be their fan, but they don’t want me to embarrass them at games
8. I learned how ridiculous I look when I rant at the refs
And how did I learn that? By seeing how other parents look when they rant, and cringing as I remember how I screamed at the refs just the game before.
9. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to step into the fight
I’ve calmly approached refs after the game and expressed my discontent at their call. As a coach, my husband was thrown out of a game for defending his players. There is a time and a place for our kids to know that we are on their side.
10. I learned to love my kids no matter how they perform
If they had a bad game, they know it and don’t need any reminders from me. They just need my support and unconditional love.
11. I learned to respect their choices of when to play a sport and when to move on
Even though we may have been disappointed that they gave up a sport, especially when they were good players, we knew that if they didn’t have the desire to play, it would be a season of battles and negative attitudes.