Most parents strive to be a good sports parents. Most of them will probably succeed at that.
What if you wanted to be better than just “good”? What if you wanted to be a GREAT parent? A parent who focuses on what is best for their family and kids. A parent who sees the bigger picture of life (and youth sports).
If you have set that as your goal, you know that the hard part is seeing “Great” through every day.
Being a great parent takes a series of daily, hourly choices. Just like getting in shape happens one workout at a time. Whatever goal you’re going after, you have to take it one step at a time, one day at a time. It’s all about building good habits.
The first step to being a great sports parent:
Any time you set a goal that will be achieved by taking daily choices, you are faced with the first step: Stop the bad sports parenting habits and replace them with good ones.
You may think that’s an easy fix. But it’s not as easy as simply saying “I will not be critical and critique my child in the car after the game.” Because usually, establishing a good habit of being positive in the car means you must break the bad one first.
As author Mark Batterson says in his book IF, “If you want to break a bad habit, you have to build a good one. It’s the law of displacement. In psychology, it’s called a double bind. If you’re focused on what you shouldn’t do, you probably won’t do what you should. Goodness is not the absence of badness. After all, you can do nothing wrong and still do nothing right.”
So instead of just focusing on what you don’t want to do as a sports parent–because we certainly have plenty of role models today for bad sports parenting behavior!–focus on what you can do right to displace that negative behavior.
You don’t want to nag the coach about your child’s playing time? Stop that bad habit by practicing the habit of encouragement and gratitude.
You don’t want to be the parent who coaches their kid on the sidelines during the game? Stop that bad habit by practicing the habit of sitting in the stands, with a snack and a drink to calm you down.
You see how that works?
If you are tired of some of the “bad” sports parenting habits you’ve gotten into, then start replacing them with good habits. Change will come and the positive outlook you have will positively affect your child’s youth sports experience.
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. Learn more about good sports parenting habits in her book 11 Habits for Happy & Positive Sports Parents, available on Amazon.