5 of the hardest things about being a sports parent

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/7/2014

Sports are fun, but sometimes it just can’t be sugar-coated that there are days, weeks, even months when being a sports parent is not fun.

If your child is just starting out in sports, read this to prepare.

If your child has been playing for a while, then read this as a reminder that you are not alone in your frustrations.

These are the hardest things you will do as a sports parent:

  • Watch your child sit the bench. It’s tough, plain and simple. You will want to cry, scream at the coach, hug your kid and punch the kid who’s spot your kid wants to play. Well, maybe not. But you will get mad, and knowing that your child is learning life lessons about being a team player will not totally squelch the frustration.
  • Watch your child feel like he can never please his coach. If you’ve ever had an employer or father who you could not please, then you know what your child is feeling. Whether or not he is pleasing his coach is not the issue; he still feels like he is not.
  • Watch your child fail. It is so hard to watch your child go through this. It’s almost physically painful. You feel as though your heart is breaking in two. Sometimes the only cure is a good cry and lots of hugs.
  • Watch your child get injured. Your stomach will drop, and you will hold your breath as you wait for him to get up and walk off the field or court. Once you know he is not damaged for life and that he will recover; once he has been treated, told he is out for two weeks, six weeks or even the season, then comes the hard part: watching him as he watches his season go by without him.
  • Watch your child be too hard on himself. If you have a perfectionist athlete, it can be a miserable night in the house after a game when he feels she did not play up to his standards. Doesn’t matter if he played a good game. Doesn’t matter if he played a lot. Doesn’t matter if his team won. If he feels like he didn’t do his best, he will be his own worst critic.

I have been through all five of these “hardest things” many times.

I survived. My kids survived. And we both became stronger through it.

How about you? What is the hardest part of sports parenting for you?

Janis Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. Check out her Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series with survival guides for football, softball, basketball and volleyball moms.