No mom or dad that I know really wants to be known as a PUSHY sports parent. But at the same time, parents sometimes let their “encouragement” turn into pushiness, without realizing it or even wanting it.
Sometimes parental pushiness is blatant; you see it come out as parents coach their kids from the sidelines, after the game walking to the car, or in the car on the ride home. Parents who are blatantly pushy may think that they are “encouraging” their young athletes, but they are only making noise that their kids may hear but are not taking in or that their kids are simply tuning out.
Sometimes parental pushiness is subtler; it’s masked in the suggestions you consistently make that your child practice more, in the comparisons you make to other athletes on the team or to siblings, or in the back-to-back-to-back clinics and camps you sign your child up for without asking them.
Whether you are blatantly pushy or subtly push, I understand that your real desire is to help your child. You are only trying to encourage your child to do their best so that they can reach their potential. Your motivation may very well be to help your child succeed, but your parenting approach is not really working.
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The solution? There is an approach that will not push your child away, an approach that does work. Here are ways to encourage your child without being pushy.
• Actively listen
• Ask questions that show interest
• Be Involved
• Praise progress
• Be the parent, not the coach
• Show love, no matter how they perform
• Be present
• Give a hug instead of always trying to fix with words
• Encourage your child’s choices, not yours
I think that you’ll find that these suggestions motivate your child way more than pushy parenting.