9 rules of positive sports parenting

By Janis Meredith | Posted 7/13/2015

Parents need to see the big picture. Remember that youth sports is not the end in itself. In fact, sports in general is not the end in itself.

Sports are fun and provide opportunities for the future, but nothing is more important than who you and your child become in the process.

Here are nine rules for positive sports parenting.

Love your child no matter what. Be sure your child believes that he is loved whether he wins or loses and that if he does not have a good performance, you are not disappointed in him.

Let the coach do his job. Even if you don’t like him or agree with his strategy, refrain from coaching your child right before, during or on the way home from the game.

Let your child have fun. Teach your child to enjoy competition, whether they win or lose. In other words, thou shall lighten up.

Be realistic about your child’s abilities. Be a fan, always. But take off the rose-colored glasses. It’s okay if your kid doesn’t go pro.

Volunteer. Find something you can do to help out the team, no matter how minor you may think it is. If enough parents do this, things get done.

Do not relive your athletic life through your child. Let your kid carve his own path, be his own person.

Don’t compare your child’s abilities or attitudes with anyone else’s.  Let them focus on their own performance, instead of trying to be like someone else, including his older brothers and sisters. 

Be grateful. Be sure you tell the coach thanks when the season is over. He has put in a lot of time and energy to coach the team and even if you don’t like him, he still deserves appreciation for doing a difficult job.

Support the whole team. As a spectator, cheer for everyone on your child’s team, not just your kid.

Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach's wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.