Many of you are striving to be the perfect sports parent. You’d really like to always be positive and supportive of your child, his team, and the coach. You desire to be a dutiful volunteer for the team, make it to every one of your child’s games, and never get mad at the refs.
But instead, you end up falling off the pedestal of your own expectations. You end up screaming at the officials, fuming at the coach, and frustrated with your child. On top of that, the amount of time you sacrifice for your child’s sports involvement means other areas of your life suffer: your house is messy, work is piling up, and your sanity is starting to slip.
Stop right there. Perfect is not the point when it comes to sports parenting. You will make mistakes just as surely as your child will make mistakes when he plays sports.
Perfect Sports Parents
Nobody likes to make mistakes. I know I didn’t. Whenever I said something stupid to my kid after a game or butted in to talk to a coach when I should have kept my mouth shut, I usually wound up wanting to kick myself.
No matter how hard you try, it’s doubtful that you will be the perfect sports parent. (If you do, please let me in on your secret.) But here’s the deal: it’s not so much whether you make mistakes, it how you deal with them once you do.
- Mistakes are okay. Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Write yourself this note and keep it visible:
I, ______________, hereby acknowledge that on occasion it is complete normal/human/expected that mistakes occur and that when they happen, I will not spend an exorbanant amount of time beating myself up over it. I understand that I have full permission and am expected to make mistakes on a regular basis.
- Extend that same grace to your child. He is going to mess up many times as he plays.
- Admit your mistakes and make it right. After you’ve given yourself grace, be brave enough to admit the mistake to others if needed. Apologies go a long way towards putting mistakes to rest.
- Learn from your mistakes. What should you have done instead? Was there a better way to handle the situation? Mistakes can actually be blessings in disguise as you learn and grow from them.
Instead of letting your sports parenting gaffs eat you up, be glad that each day, each game, each season gives you a new chance to learn from the past and keep working towards helping your child have a positive, growing youth sports experience.
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