They say the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And parents, are certainly proof of that. We collectively all want what is best for our children, worry obsessively about their successes and failures, and lie awake at night worrying about making sure we are making the right decisions for them. And even so, each of us, on a daily basis, get caught up in the emotions (the most prominent of which is LOVE) and screw things up somehow or another.
Let’s just admit it, parents are imperfectly perfect creatures, and thank goodness life (and parenthood) is full of Grace!
- Criticize, complain and gripe about every decision the coach makes on and off the field IN FRONT OF YOUR DAUGHTER! Make sure she KNOWS that you feel he/she is just a monkey going through the motions, and that they are unworthy and usually wrong. Say crappy things about her teammates and the other parents on the team. Do this often, and especially when your daughter is trapped in the car with you and can’t get out and BE sure to inflect the tone of disdain in your voice. It won’t take long before she lacks faith in any coach or mentor, and becomes un-coachable, and eventually quits.
- Hop teams every time YOU don’t get what YOU want for your child. Doesn’t matter if your child is happy, (because how could she be if YOU aren’t)and is building relationships. If she doesn’t get to start at first base and you want her to start at first base – change teams. If the team loses too much – change teams. If a better offer comes along, change teams. Constantly look for the greener grass where your daughter can plant her cleats and always believe that your daughter is ALSO unhappy, instead of understanding that a fundamental part of our children just wants to please us parents…. That way you can tell people SHE was unhappy, and that SHE wanted to change teams. And if you happen to eventually run across the same ‘issues’ on every team you are on, leading to your team hop habit – blame others, instead of realizing that the problem may be with you because ya know…whereever YOU go…there you are!
- Make sure your daughter is not ACCOUNTABLE for anything she does. Blame every other player, every coach, every parent for anything that goes wrong. If she misses a ball, it was a bad throw. Strikes out looking? The umpire made the wrong call. Coach benches her? He’s just a jerk! This will ensure that she never improves herself, and develops a sense of entitlement where she places herself on a pedestal. Eventually, she will realize that she will never ever ever find a team good enough for her and that it’s time to try something else in life.
- Constantly COACH her. Stand behind home plate and yell at her while she is batting. Make sure everyone on the softball field can hear you hollering direction toward her when she is on the field. Stand at the fence at practices and analyze every single move she makes. Hang around the dugout as much as possible giving advice. If, between games she is chilling with her friends, make sure you drag her away to hit a bucket in the cages because she didn’t hit well during the last game. During dinner conversations, correct her swing, and rehash every pitch and play from her last game – especially focusing on the errors she made or that high pitch she swung at and missed even though you have told her umpteen times not to do that. Be a little angry too, that drives home the idea that you are not proud of her. Every once in a while, make sure you throw in the guilt of how much money and time you spend on her to play softball, and remind her that you have the power to take it all away if she doesn’t perform the way you want her to.
- Last but certainly not least…re-live your softball, or sporting days through her. Let her shoulder the responsibility of pleasing you and making you happy, because kids don’t want to disappoint their parents. And if you work hard enough at it, and almost behave as though this is your life, and your team, and your sport, and your past-time and not hers, she will eventually build up enough resentment that she will give it all up – and your weekends will be FREE again…so you can get that grass cut.
- Don’t listen to her words, or body language. Disregard that there is such a thing as playing too much. Don’t allow it to be FUN! Make sure she doesn’t have the opportunity to try out other things, other sports, other hobbies. Insist that softball be her one and only commitment – and from an early age as possible, start inserting blurbs about her playing D1 college ball. In other words, burn her out completely…