5 Signs That You’re Over-Parenting Your Young Athlete

By Janis Meredith | Posted 10/16/2019

Being an involved parent is a good thing. Being active in a child’s life can build their confidence and establish a close parent-child bond. But where is the line that divides the engaged parent from the over-parenting parent?

This line is especially blurred in youth sports where parents have gone overboard in over-parenting. From the car ride on the way to the game to drive the way home, parents easily step into overdrive.

Do you struggle with this? Here are a few signs you’re over-parenting your child before or after a game.

Before: You over-prepare your child.

Last-minute instructions in the car usually aren’t productive. Your child is probably not in a very receptive mood, because they’re anxious to get out and play. They already prepared in practice, so you don’t have to re-hash it all at the last minute.

After: You over-analyze the game.

What do you say when your child gets in the car after a game? Do you critique their game? Point out where he or she could’ve done better? Analyze the coach’s decisions?

One of the problems in youth sports today is parents take the game more seriously than kids do. And nowhere is this more evident than in the car on the way home after a game.

In your car conversation, follow your child’s lead. If he asks for your feedback, give it in a positive and helpful way. If she doesn’t want to talk about the game, then don’t.

At Home: You over-talk the game.

Perhaps you ask a lot of questions that your child either doesn’t know the answer to or doesn’t want to answer. Or maybe you talk about how YOU would run things if you were the coach.

Your interest in your child’s sports is a good thing, but it can also be too much of a good thing. Let your child take the lead on how much you talk about sports at home.

Before and After: You fight your child’s battle.

When you step in to fix things for your child and handle their problems, you’re not letting them learn how to fight for themselves. Yes, this is a parental instinct to protect, but it won’t help your child develop. It will instead stunt their emotional growth.

 In the off-season: You over-train your child.

Are you the parent who is always signing their child up for sports camps? The one who insists on a private coach so that their child can continue to improve during the off-season?

It’s one thing if your child is eager to work on her skills, but it’s over-parenting if you’re the one who is doing all the pushing.

Studies show that parents who are too involved in a child’s life add to their son’s or daughter’s anxiety. By being overly involved, parents run the risk of keeping their children from learning how to work hard and developing problem-solving skills,

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