Parenting an athlete will never be easy, but there are things we can do to meet the challenges

By Janis Meredith | Posted 8/5/2015

Even with the difficulties that come with sports parenting, there are still some pretty awesome moments for sports parents. There’s nothing like the joy that comes from watching your kid work hard and achieve success.

But let’s be honest. Sports parenting – albeit rewarding – will never be easy. There’s just too many negative factors to face if your kids play sports, including:

  • Team drama. When your kid is surrounded by drama, help him to learn to get along with people, ignore the garbage and focus on the game.
  • Hours of traveling. When you’re tired of all the road trips, remind yourself that you are making wonderful memories with your family.
  • Increasing costs. When you’re sick of shelling out money, remember that youth sports is an investment in character development as well as sports skills.
  • Unfair politics. When the politics makes you want to throw up, sort through the issues with your children and help them learn to deal with difficult situations. When the unfairness hits – your child gets shoved aside for a less-skilled player or your child works hard and gets no reward – give your kid an extra hug and let him know that even when life’s not fair, you still love him and are his biggest fan.
  • Watching your child struggle. When you don’t know if you can stand another day of watching your kid struggle to improve with little success, keep expressing your pride in the hard work and persistence.
  • Obsessive, manipulative, pushy parents. When you are so sick of crazy parents that you seriously want to punch one in the face, show strength by walking away. Your child is watching.

Perhaps you can add to the list. I’ve heard from many sports parents during the past five years of blogging to know that the job of sports parenting is not getting any easier.

Sports parenting may never be easy, but by tackling difficulties and setting an example that help children grow stronger as people, we meet the challenge in a way that will shape our children positively for life.

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.