Each parent focuses on his or her child’s issues–whether it’s playing time, teammate conflicts, or coaching problems–often unaware of other families on the sidelines or in the bleachers.
This is neither a good or a bad thing. However, a lack of cooperation between sports parents–whether it’s on the same team or on an opposing team–means you, parent, are missing out on something very very valuable.
And that something valuable is this: When parents work together, they not only get amazing things accomplished and make some pretty good friends, they give a very important lesson on team work to their kids.
Sports Parents are Team Mates Too
It’s time to stop the bickering and start bolstering each other. Because if you really want your child to learn how to get along with teammates, if you really want your child to learn to respect opponents, then you’ve got to show him how.
Here are some very specific ways that Sports Parents can help each other out:
- Carpool. It saves time and money. It means you do not have to rush to pick up your child from practice because you’ve got another commitment. It means you can attend child #1’s recital or sports event because you know that child #2 is getting a ride home from practice with a friend. Make it a point to get to know other parents and where they live. Initiate a carpool with others in your neighborhood. It’s a great way to help each other out.
- Support every child. Make it a point to encourage every kid on the team at some point during the season. Purpose to tell opposing team members that they played a good game. Take it from a sports mom of 21 years, it means the world when your child gets a slap on his back for a good job, or a word of praise for her effort from another sports parent.
- Volunteer. Yes, you may have a job and other kids and a hundred other things to do, but if every parent took on one small volunteer task, it would not always fall into the hands of the faithful few. And there’s something about working with other parents in the snack bar or at a fund raiser that builds camaraderie. This is another great opportunity to model teamwork to your children.
- Stop the squabbling. And the gossiping. And the post-game sympathy groups. Let me put it rather bluntly: stop being so dramatic and petty about things you dislike. Stop running to other like-minded sports parents and trying to get their support. Geesh. Give it a a rest. It’s just youth sports.
- Be a bolsterer. This rachets up “supporting” to the next level. When you look to bolster, you seek ways to encourage an athlete or parent who’s obviously having a hard time. You show sympathy for frustrations without forming sympathy groups; you listen without judging; you resist the urge to chime in with your own complaints; you pull a kid aside and tell him he’s working hard and you are so proud of him.
When sports parents stop bickering and start bolstering, they help each other, every single kid playing, and every coach who wants to focus on kids and not parents. Will you look for ways to stop bickering and start bolstering today?
Do you want your child to learn life-shaping lessons as he plays sports?
If so, you are part of the Positive Sports Parenting Tribe!
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