Without any other guidance, we handle our kid's sports actitivies 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 parent instincts such as protecting, educating, and supervising. Stand on the sidelines, we are forced to resist the urges to help and must watch our kids learn to act indepently and become the 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 a great dea 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 the team and at other times the worst player. Parents need to be there to help kids understand this process which is further in everyday life, kids in sports need positive parental education, guidance, and role models.
Kids are their own worst critics. They are naturally self-critical, self-aware, and self-conscience,. Parents don't help by being more critical or comparing their child's actitivities with those of their teammates. Criticism is not education. Education is patient, encouraging, consistent, nurturing and repetitive. Education is constantly tested, not to demean skills, but to focus efforts on building skills.