How to Use Your Most Powerful Sports Parenting Tool

By Janis Meredith | Posted 7/17/2019

The tongue is probably your most powerful sports parenting tool.

If you’re like me, you have days when you use it wisely and generously and feel great about how you handled your child’s fears or mistakes after a game. And then there are those days that you wish you could press re-wind and take back words that you said.  Sometimes those were words spoken in anger and other times they were just blabbering comments you made without thinking.

There’s a verse in the Bible that describes the tongue as a “flame of fire” because it can start as a tiny spark that may actually end up causing a whole lot of damage. That tiny spark can be a seemingly innocent suggestion to your child to “work harder” or “play like so-and-so”.

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Left unchecked, the tongue can end up causing irreparable damage in the hearts and minds of people you love.

Sports parents would benefit from doing a better job at biting their tongues. Here are a few ideas:

Never say anything about someone that you wouldn’t say to their face.

Never say anything about someone unless they are there to respond.

Refuse to listen to someone else’s gossip.

Initiate positive comments about people you are discussing.

This is a great tactic to use in parenting sympathy groups before, during and after youth sports events when coach and player bashing starts.

Remind yourself that the tongue is “a fire” and think about the effect of your words before you say them.

This is especially helpful when you are discussing sensitive subjects with your child. Take a second to rehearse the comment in your mind and think about how it will be received. I’ve started doing this more and more and I know it has saved me from saying things that stir up conflict or hurt feelings.

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The simple fact of the matter is this: Those who measure their words get into less trouble and cause less damage to others than those who blabber on and on and never think about what they are saying.

Your words can speak life to your children, to anyone really. They can also speak hurt and destruction. They are your most powerful parenting tool. Are you using them wisely?

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