If you are a sports parent, you will lose your patience. It can’t be helped.
In your opinion, kids don’t try hard enough sometimes and may not seem to care about doing their best in sports – goofing off at practice and messing around. That may drive you crazy some days, but it’s important that you remain patient and calm or else youth sports can become more about you than your child.
There is no quick fix for learning patience. However, while your child is exercising their physical muscles to become a stronger athlete, you must exercise your patience muscles so that you can become a better sports parent.
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After 31 years of parenting, I’m still working on this and have discovered a few exercises to help calm me down.
Seek to understand. Rather than being concerned with if your child is listening and understanding you, focus on seeking to understand your child first. Try to figure out why they’re acting a certain way and why they respond like they do.
Be slow to speak; quick to listen. When you listen to your kid, and really listen, you have a better chance of understanding them. This means you’ll have to shut up while they’re talking, don’t interrupt and let them speak without criticizing or correcting.
Look at the bigger picture. It’s not all about the lazy sports practice, the forgotten uniform, or the apathetic performance. Ask yourself, what are you actually mad about and will it really matter in 2 years?
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Think about how your words will sound to your child. If parents taped themselves, they would probably be embarrassed or horrified. Listen in the bleachers during a game and you’ll hear yourself in the voices of other parents. How does it sound?
Breathe deeply and walk away if necessary. Whatever it takes for you to calm down, do it. Deep breathing, counting to 10, sending your child to his or her room. I guarantee that what you say in anger and what you say when calm are two different things.
As you exercise your patience muscles, start by being patient with yourself. It will take time but eventually your sports parenting patience will hold up when your child seems to be doing everything they can to make you crack.
Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.