We’ve all heard of it before, or perhaps even seen it first-hand: the sports parent on the sidelines, screaming at their child or the coaches. They may mean well and think they’re being encouraging, but they’re negatively impacting their child’s sports experience. So how can you tell if you’re an overly involved sports parent?
You may have noticed when a sports parent friend or family member gloats on social media when their child succeeds. You may even be guilty of this yourself. They show ribbons, trophies, or happy, smiling photos when their child wins, yet say nothing when they lose. To foster confidence in children, we should put emphasis on their effort, not focus on their success while downplaying a loss.
Losing Your Identity
You may have “softball mom” t-shirts or even a customized license plate. You may schedule your life around your son or daughter’s sports events, or have an empty feeling when you can’t attend one of their games. You might personalize their success or failure by thinking or saying “we won” or “we lost.” If some or all of this sounds familiar, you might be over-involved in your child’s sports activities.
Obsessed with Winning
Parents that are over-involved in their children’s sports activities tend to obsess over wins and become sad or angry over losses. If you count your child’s points or offer a prize when they win or a sour attitude when they lose, you’ve become over-invested.
It’s natural for a child to crave their parent’s love and acceptance. It may be difficult to see how your expectation or encouragement to win is negatively impacting your child, as it might appear to be working. However, when you pressure your child to succeed, they stop having fun and are instead focusing on pleasing you and making you happy.
Instead of expecting or hoping for a win or the most points, concentrate on helping your child build confidence. Find out from your son or daughter what motivates them to play, then change your perspective to match theirs as you encourage and support them.
It’s important to understand that what you might see as gentle encouragement for your child to win or to be their best, is actually creating unneeded stress and pressure on your son or daughter. Parental expectation on a child to succeed does not create a confident or successful athlete.
If you think you might be overly invested in your kid’s sports and need some help, please call my office at your earliest convenience so we can set up an appointment.