Sabotage Your Kids, Much? Sports Parenting
We love parents…but let’s be honest, we know that at any given time and of us can be an unreasonable, pain in the a$$. Sports parenting is not easy! Not because we are bad people, but because we love our kiddos, right? And we hate to see them hurt or upset, right? They say the most dangerous place to be is between a parent and his/her child. And anytime we feel, or perceive, or even think for a split second that someone is hurting our kid in any way, the mama/papa bear instinct rises to the surface and we become a little less than reasonable.
But here’s the thing. It may be just slightly possible – okay, completely possible that we well-meaning, loving, parents create problems for our kids, when in reality there are none and actually can be a source of ‘pain,’ or hurt feelings.
How, you ask? By planting seeds! Often in the aftermath of a game, in the car – on the way home, or around the dinner table!
We think our kid is upset because we are upset about something we PERCEIVE as an injustice and we open our mouths and say things similar in context to these!
“The coach was totally wrong to say that to you when you made an error and I am going to say something to him, especially considering everyone else made errors too!”
“I cannot believe that the coach didn’t play you in the last two innings. That’s just ridiculous!”
“Did it bother you that Kelly got to play 3rd over you today. It had to bother you, it bothered me?”
“Are you mad that you didn’t get to bat in the last game?”
“It really makes me mad that Sheila and Jasmine made so many errors today and the coach didn’t pull them!”
“I really wish we could find another team where the coaches daughter didn’t play short stop. You are just as good as her, but will never get a chance to play there!”
“Don’t you think that the pitching rotation was unfair today?”
“Why didn’t you get to pitch much today, did the coach say something to you?”
“We really could have won that game if the coach would have done a few things different.”
“Sara’s mom was acting like a complete jerk today at the field. I cannot stand that woman!”
“Your team needs to work on catching balls in the outfield. The outfield stinks. It makes me so mad!”
“You did good today. Don’t worry about it. Your coach needs to make some changes in the way he does things.”
“How did you feel today when you got pulled out of that game. That must have been AWFUL!”
You get the drift. We air our grievances to the kids, often in the forms of LEADING questions and comments because we think that they are upset and want them to feel okay – and in actuality pass on our PROBLEMS/PERCEPTIONS/OPINIONS to them!
Most of the time, kids just want to see their parents happy and pleased and proud. When kids see their parents getting upset, they tend to get upset – or feel like they should be upset too. They start over thinking situations, and think “well yeah, if mom thinks I am a better shortstop then she is right, I SHOULD be playing short instead of Cynthia!”
Or, “if dad says the coach is stupid, then maybe he is!”
And, “You know what, that’s true – the coach was really hard on me today. What a jerk!”
After all, kids TRUST their parents first and foremost!
And these comments end up sabotaging our children’s happiness and TAKE AWAY their ownership of their performance and their TEAM.
How? Because they plant the seeds of discontent that grow into gardens of unhappiness, whining, complaining and blame. And then the kid becomes an excuse maker because she knows that mom and dad will always side with them.
Sometimes our kids may be upset, and that is a just part of life that they need to learn to get over, but often it is about something completely different than what WE think it is.
These seeds of discontent make them feel badly or differently about their teammates, coaches and team in general. It changes how THEY FEEL FOREVER! And of course they are going to agree with and go along with what mom and dad say. After all, who loves them more than their parents? If mom and dad are upset, then there MUST be something to be upset about. Remember above all things, your child wants to PLEASE YOU!
We have said this a million times! The perception of what is going on within teams is DIFFERENT for our kids, than it is for the adults. So why instigate, invite or offer ‘issues’ for them to deal with in the heat of the moment?
Parents need to be there to simply listen to their kids and help offer solutions to problems, rather than problems themselves. And if you are really upset about something abide by the 24 hour rule! Side step the bitching, and just tell your kid “hey, you know what kiddo! I sure did love watching you play today!”