7 Parenting Mistakes Affecting Parent-Player Relationships

By Janis Meredith | Posted 9/4/2019

Parenting mistakes can’t be avoided all together, but I do believe there are ways to cut down on them if we know what traps to look for.

I made a lot of parenting mistakes throughout 21 years of being a sports mom – I couldn’t even begin to share all of them with you! However, I can pinpoint the biggest mistakes because they hurt my kids and as a result, our relationship.

If sharing my mistakes with you steers you clear of making even ONE of these errors, then I’ll be grateful.

Mistake #1 – I reacted instead of responding.

Counting to 10 will save you much regret! It gives you time to ask yourself one quick question: what does my child really need from me in this moment? After a big loss or a bad play, make sure your child is okay before making it a teaching moment.

Mistake #2 – I didn’t listen well enough.

This usually happened because I was already forming an opinion or an answer in my head. I’ve missed a lot of valuable cues from my kids because I wasn’t fully listening. Listening is hard work, but always yields great rewards. When your child comes home frustrated from practice, listen first instead of just jumping in to solve their problems.

Mistake #3 – I let my kids push my buttons until I exploded.

Kids love to complain and that really gets on parental nerves after a while. As we strive to stay calm, we may be letting too much simmer internally. If your child is complaining about something, in sports or in general, don’t let them go on and on until you want to explode. Nip it in the bud.

Mistake #4 – I didn’t filter my words when I should have.

I’ve learned the hard way that it can better to think about how your words will be received before you say them. We can’t filter every word, but when the subject is sensitive, take the time to think about what you are going to say and how you’re going to say it. It will save you from conflict and regret. I always had to be extra careful after a hard game, as I’ve had a few times where I’ve upset them by being insensitive.

Mistake #5 – I tried to fix my kids with words.

Sometimes my words were spot on and offered the exact encouragement that my kids needed, but there were many times when my words fell on deaf ears and I’d just keep on talking. Make sure your child is hearing you and that what you’re saying is helping, because if you just keep talking at them it may only frustrate you and them.

Mistake #6 – I tried to control things I should have let go.

As parents, we try many different things to stay in control of situations. We insert ourselves into our kid’s problems, bail them out of situations they created, or act on their behalf when they should be fighting their own battles. Remember that kids are developing people and unless they’re in danger or at risk, letting them control what they can teaches them to be responsible.  

Mistake #7 – I spent too much time worrying.

I know this is parental instinct, but I also know that it can be a waste of time and energy. I worried about kids making the team, becoming starters, getting playing time or earning the position they wanted. I let worry rob me of joy and sleep, causing me to miss out on the fun of the game at times. Try your best not to worry about things that you can’t control, though that’s much easier said than done.

Parenting mistakes are inevitable, and the saying “mistakes are for learning” applies to both athletes and parents! Recognize your mistakes and learn how to do things better next time. Parenting is a journey, not a destination.

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