Teaching and shaping children: two keys to successful parenting

By Janis Meredith | Posted 6/5/2017

It is a parent’s job to not only teach their children but to shape them as well. As your child plays sports, look for opportunities to do both. 

Teaching Your Child 

Teaching your child means that you instruct them how to do things, like clean their room, get along with friends, or eat vegetables. In sports, you could teach them how to play defense or how to block for the quarterback. 

Between their teachers at school and coaches in sports, your child learns all day and is filling their head with information that he/she may or may not remember. 

Your children need to be taught. It’s part of the growing up process. But your job as a parent does not stop there. 

Shaping Your Child 

Sometimes sports parents get so caught up in the teaching aspect, they forget the importance of shaping. Shaping your child means you focus on who they are becoming as you is guide them to learn integrity, honesty, love, compassion, and forgiveness. When you shape your child as a person you help them understand how to get along with difficult people, how to keep trying when he feels like giving up, how to make decisions, and how to think for themselves.  

When you focus on who your child is, rather than just on what your child knows or the skills he/she can perform, you are shaping your child and laying a foundation of character development for the adult he will become. 

Which is more important? 

When your kids grow up, do you want them to be skilled in sports, but lacking in character? Do you want your son to know how to quarterback a team, but not know how to get along with difficult teammates? Do you want him to know all the offensives plays, but not know how to persist in hard times?  

Here’s the deal: Teaching is a lifelong journey and you can always search the internet for tips on how to play a position or how to run an offensive. 

But when it comes to shaping who your child is, you simply can’t google character into them. 

The most important thing for you to focus on as a parent, is shaping your child’s character. In the overall scheme of life, who he is trumps what he can do or how much he knows any day. 

SEE ALSOUSA Football's Youth Football Parents 101 course, with Christine and Mike Golic

Janis B. Meredith is a sportsparenting blogger, podcaster, and life coach. She provides resources to help parents give their children a positive and growing youth sports experience. Her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.