How Sports Parents Can Become Better People as Their Kids Play Sports

By Janis Meredith | Posted 2/5/2020

Parents always say how much they learn about themselves when they have kids. It’s so true. But when my kids started playing sports, the learning progressed to a whole new level.

Actually, I probably knew most of these things about myself before my kids started playing sports. But gymnasium and field lights can expose new angles to old traits. And sometimes it’s not a pretty sight.

What have I learned about myself?

I like to have control. I want to know that every situation my kid encounters will work out perfectly and the more I can do to help it, the better.

I want to be able to fix things for my kids. Maybe talk with the coach or pushing my kid to work extra hard will fix things. Then again, those may not be the best decision. 

I often say things I regret. After games, before games, after practices, before practices - I’ve pretty much done it all. Biting my tongue is a skill every parent needs to work on.

I worry way too much. When my son was starting quarterback, I’d get an upset stomach on the day of his games. When my daughters played as a varsity starter, I could not eat before the games. And here’s the kicker: worrying never ever helped them play better. It was just a habitual waste of time that disrupted my body.

Im very competitive. The competitiveness I felt when watching my kids play sports was almost embarrassing. What mom doesn’t always want her kids to win, succeed, shine and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the best there ever was?

I love my children very much. Of course, I knew this before they played sports, but the reason that I do all those other dumb things is that I do love my kids so much. And sometimes I just can’t control the way it shows.

My kids played sports through college and are now out, making their way in the world. It was a long 22 years of sports parenting and self-discovery. What has your journey looked like?

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


USA Football's new model for youth football is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and by teaching the game based on an athlete's age, the skill they are learning and game type.