5 signs a parent is living through their child

By Joe Frollo | Posted 3/26/2018

As parents, we all want the best for our children. It’s much easier to celebrate their victories than let them make mistakes and learn from them.

But that’s what life is — a series of setbacks that turn into stepping stones for the next opportunity.

Too often, parents lack the patience young athletes need them to show. That takes time, and the big game is coming up this week.

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So they push their kids – sometimes unknowingly – toward a perfection most can't achieve. Then when the disappointments come, the devastation on parents’ faces leaves kids feeling like failures.

Nearly 75 percent of children who play organized sports quit by age 13. Most of that is because of burnout. Playing sports isn’t fun anymore for them.

Steve Henson of ThePostGame.com offered five signs to help parents take a step back and re-examine their relationships with their kids and sports:

1. Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship: One lesson football teaches is the importance of playing at an even keel, win or lose. Parents who are demonstrative in showing displeasure during a game send the wrong message. Encouragement is crucial, especially when things aren’t going well on the field.

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2. Having different goals than the child: Children and teens generally want to have fun, enjoy time with their friends, improve their skills and win. Parents who are solely focused on college scholarships and making the all-star team need to adjust their perspective.  

3. Treating a child differently after a loss than a win: All parents love their children the same regardless of the outcome of a game. Yet behavior often conveys something else. The sheer disappointment on the faces of some parents after a loss can make young athletes question whether their value as people is tied to playing time or winning.

4. Undermining the coach: Young athletes need a single instructional voice during games. That voice has to be the coach. Kids who listen to their parents yelling instructions from the stands, or even glancing at their parents for approval from the field, are distracted and can't perform at a peak level. Second-guessing the coach on the ride home is just as bad.

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5. Taking credit for child’s success: This is a sure sign the parent is living through the child. “We worked on that move for weeks in the driveway,” or “They did it just like I showed them.” It’s OK to be proud of your child’s accomplishments, but remember, it’s not you out on that field.

This is an updated version of a blog that originally published May 22, 2015.