A new year is a time for fresh starts. If you’ve made mistakes in your sports parenting in the past, it’s never too late to begin anew.
This year, as the ball drops and a new year begins, resolve with me to:
1. Love your child before the game.Express your support and love in such a way that has no strings attached to the upcoming game.
2. Bring your encouragement as you go out the door with your child to the game. Not your last-minute coaching tips or your comments to subtly or not-so-subtly pressure your kids to perform.
3. Sit with positive spectators at your child’s game. Not around critical, grumbling parents and grandparents who will make your blood pressure climb.
4. Be a total-team supporter. Cheer for your kid, and cheer for others on the team as well. Be an encouraging voice for every player on the field or court.
5. Let your kid have fun. Let them enjoy the game, mistakes and all. What’s the point of playing sports if your kids can’t have fun while exercising and working hard?
6. When the game’s over, let it be over–mistakes and all. Don’t do the rehashing-the-game thing with your kid unless they bring it up and want to talk. Sometimes all they want to do after a bad game is move on.
7. Make the car ride home a game-free zone. Don’t talk about the game, win or lose, unless they want to talk. Say something positive, then let it drop until they bring it up.
8. Have a life outside of sports. Enjoy other things with your kids that have nothing to do with sports. Play table games, watch movies, go on a family adventure. Kids need balance.
9. Bite your tongue when you want to whine. Whether it’s to your kid about how terrible his coach is or to your coach about how terrible he is, practice restraint. Set a non-whining example for your kids to follow.
10. Love your child after the game. Let them know that no matter what happens, how they perform, whether they even choose to play another season or sport, that your love is totally unconditional. Say it.
Happy New Year to all! May you have many touchdowns, goals, baskets, digs, kills, home runs, and most of all, may you make wonderful memories with your kids in 2011.