Being a great sports parent does not mean you never ask for help or that you are able to do it all. It does not mean you are Supermom or Superdad who can be at every one of your kids’ games, keep the house clean, cook amazing meals, excel at a full-time job and never lose your temper in the midst of it all.
In fact, part of being a good parent is knowing when to ask for help. You truly do need a “village” to help you get the job done.
Before I talk about the five times when parents need to ask for help, let me ask you this: Who’s in your village?
If you can’t identify five to 10 people that you can call on for help, it’s time to start developing those “village” relationships. They can come from anywhere: family, neighborhood, school, church, work. This “village” is who you need to turn to and ask for help. You really don’t have to do it all by yourself.
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Pride may hold you back from asking for help, but if you can move past that — and for your own sanity and for the sake of your child, you should move past that — here are some times when asking for help becomes a necessity, not a luxury.
There are many reasons sports parents don’t ask questions when they don’t understand. Maybe you’re afraid of looking ignorant, weak or maybe you are simply afraid of being an annoyance.
If you need clarity, it’s time to stop guessing and just ask.
Ask the coach to help you understand: I’m curious, Coach, why do you run practice that way? Help me understand, Coach, what’s your playing time philosophy?
Ask the teacher for help: Is my child participating in class? Can you help me understand how she is relating to her classmates?
Ask other parents for their perspective: What’s your thoughts on my child’s reaction to this situation? What would you do if you were in my shoes and your child was facing this struggle?
The smart parents are the ones who ask, not the ones who pretend to know it all. As author and philosopher Francis Bacon put it: A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
Parents don’t need to have all the answers. They just need to know who to turn to when they feel they don’t have what it takes to help their child in a certain situation.
Is your child struggling with basketball? Get a private coach or sign them up for a camp or clinic.
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Is your child losing the mental game in sports and you have no idea how to motivate them? Find a mental toughness trainer who can teach them some thinking skills.
It really is okay to admit that we need help to help our children.
Can’t be in multiple places at once
Every parent faces this dilemma at some point.
Your child needs to be picked up from school and an emergency is holding you up at work.
Your kids need to be picked up from practice and taken home because your doctor appointment is taking way longer than you thought.
Or maybe it’s your parents who need help getting to the doctor or to the store, and you are booked solid because of your kids’ sports activities.
Don’t you sometimes wish you could clone yourself? That’s what friends and family are for. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Facing a breaking point
A friend of mine recently reached a breaking point with her daughter, who was struggling with depression. They’d tried several “at-home” remedies until finally they were faced with the reality that they simply didn’t have the right knowledge or tools to help their child. Going to a doctor and putting her in a hospital for two weeks was one of the hardest things they’d ever had to do, but they knew their daughter needed help they couldn’t give.
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Sometimes you may put off asking for that kind of help because you don’t want to face the fact that it’s serious, or maybe you just don’t know where to turn. So, you let it go until it does become a breaking point and you simply have no other option.
No parent really wants to reach that point, but when you do, it’s time to ask for help–from a doctor, counselor or pastor or priest.
Just plain weary
You may not have reached a breaking point but maybe you’re just plain tired. You have no excuse except that you’re weary. You need a break from the chaos of life. It’s okay to ask for help from your village.
Are you facing one of these scenarios? Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.