Without any other guidance, we handle our kid's sports activities the same way our parents did or the way we see other parents do. Most times, we get it wrong. With over 70% of kids quitting organized sports by age 13, our sports parenting skills are not something we often brag about. But, maybe we are lucky that almost 30% keep playing.
Being a good sports parent is not a natural skill. In fact, being a good sports parent often conflicts with natural parenting instincts such as protecting, educating, and supervising. Standing on the sidelines, we are forced to resist the urges to help and must watch our kids learn to act independently and become adults we wish them to be. Being a good sports parent is hard!
How do you know if you are a good sports parent? One simple test is if your kids are eager to go to practices and love the game. Although this sounds like a test that requires little parent support, it is a test that actually requires a great deal of parent involvement. A child's development is never a straight path of constant improvement. At various times, kids will develop quickly, slowly, not at all or even regress. Sometimes, kids will believe they are the best player on the team and at other times the worst player. Parents need to be there to help kids understand this process which is further complicated by growth spurts and hormonal changes. As in everyday life, kids in sports need positive parental education, guidance, and role models.
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