It’s way too easy to point the finger at other parents and say they're the problem. Most parents who are snobbish about their young athletes are totally unaware of it.
We all exhibit some level of sports parent snobbery every now and then. It’s understandable. Parents are proud of their kids and want to let everyone know. But there are some who just can’t stop themselves from being a problem on a regular basis.
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Are you showing any of these signs?
1. You believe your child is the best player on the team and deserves to be in the game all the time: They might be a really good athlete, but they aren't the entire team.
2. You tell your child to “take charge” because this is their team: I’ve actually heard a parent say this to his child. It’s OK for your kid to be a leader, but the team belongs to everyone, not just them.
3. You're quick to blame others for mistakes your child made: When my daughter played in high school, I often heard one basketball mom blame other people for her child’s errors. Of course, the parents around her didn’t appreciate that one bit.
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4. You're adamant your child deserves a college scholarship: It’s OK for your child to work toward that dream, but some parents are blinded by unrealistic ambition. Your child may or may not be good enough for a college scholarship, but that must be their passion, not yours. Your child may be a decent player, but there comes a point when some parents should take off the rose-colored glasses and realize their kid just might not be cut out for NCAA Division I sports, or for college sports at all.
5. You have a habit of doubting the coach’s decisions and thinking you know better: It’s so easy to criticize from the stands, but until you’ve walked in the coach’s shoes, spent hours in practice and in preparation, you can't fully understand why a coach makes each decision.
6. You have a hard time congratulating another player when they do better than your child: This is especially tough after your kid has a less-than-stellar game. But remember, the team is not all about your child.
7. You have few interests outside of your child’s sports activities: Youth sports can suck you in and wrap you up until it seems you have no other identity. It’s healthier for you and your child if you maintain some balance and have a life outside your child’s sports.
Take some time when you're alone to look in the mirror and ask yourself if you see any of these signs. Admitting it is the first step. The second is to change and restart the clock.
Today is a new game, and it’s not too late for you to make sports what it should be for your child.
This is an updated version of a blog that originally published September 21, 2015.