7 Sports Parenting Defaults That Suck You in Before You Realize It

By Janis Meredith | Posted 7/15/2019

All of us are creatures of habit. And it’s no different in parenting. The longer we do it, the more we find ourselves defaulting to behaviors that we do without thinking twice. Good or bad, they’ve become a way of life.

The problem with defaults is that they are usually the most basic, the most average, and the most unspectacular behaviors. Sometimes they can even be destructive or damaging. And if you don’t work at breaking away from the defaults in your life–the way you react to your kids, the way you react to coaches or teachers you don’t agree with, or the way you respond to anyone who interrupts your life–you will find yourself stuck and going nowhere and not knowing why.

Unfortunately, unless you work to change it, your default will never die. You will be drawn to it over and over. And the first step to changing the default is recognizing it. Do any of these defaults ring a bell with you?

I’m just being a mama bear. It’s just who I am.

Feeling protective of your children is totally natural, but it doesn’t have to lead to overprotective behaviors that can alienate coaches and other parents, and do not lead to any solution for the problem.

Hotheads run in my family.

I’ve seen a lot of hothead parents in the stands and after games. I’m not so sure there’s DNA evidence for a hot temper, but even if you were raised around it and adopted that behavior, you can still choose to control the temper and not let it hurt the people around you.

I’m too tired to deal with this–just this once.

Successful parenting is dependent on consistency. You cannot say one thing and then not follow through because you are tired or don’t have the energy. Your child learns this in the world of youth sports; it’s a lesson parents would benefit from as well.

I remember many times when the last thing I felt like doing was going and having that hard conversation with my child. I’d had a long day and did not have the emotional energy to deal with an issue. I recognized the importance of consistency, so I’d do one of two things: I’d have the hard conversation right then, or I’d tell my child that I was tired and did not want to confront the issue right now, but that we would discuss it tomorrow. And then, I would follow through with a conversation the next day.

The “I’m too tired” default has allowed many children to slide by with behaviors that Mom and Dad really don’t condone, but don’t have the strength to confront.

I must fix this for my child.

This default is alive and well in youth sports. But the honest truth is that your child will learn more from the issue if you work with them on how they can fix it. If you default to always fixing things for them, your child will grow up expecting Mommy and Daddy to always intervene when a problem arises.

Other parents are doing it, so it must not be so bad.

One parent’s bad behavior at a game does not justify yours. Don’t let other parents’ decisions cause you to go against what you’ve already decided for your child. Be the parent YOU are committed to being and don’t give in to parental peer pressure.

I’m just not very good at this parenting thing.

I don’t know any perfect parents, do you? Kids are not born with instruction manuals, so it’s up to every parent to figure things out. We all have moments of parenting brilliance, and we all have moments of total parent fails. Stop putting your parenting skills down, or even worse, comparing yourself to super-mom or super-dad, and focus instead on how you can love your kids wholeheartedly.

I will focus on providing.

Providing for your family is only half of the job, and I know many parents who did a very good job of it, but left out the other half of parenting, which is focusing on loving and guiding their kids. Paying for your child’s sports equipment, sports camps and personal training is important, but training up your child in the way you want them to go is more important. Don’t be so busy providing, that you forget to be a dad or a mom.

Are You Defaulting?

If you feel you are defaulting to any of those behaviors, you don’t have to be stuck. Change is possible if you are committed to it.

Janis Meredith is a family coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.