If you as a parent are always stepping into battle for your children, you’re sending your child the wrong message.
“You’re teaching the child that you will always solve their problems in life, and that is a disaster, and we’re doing more of that than ever before,” says Michael Bradley, an adolescent psychologist and author of When Things Get Crazy with Your Teen.
And nowhere is this more clearly seen than in youth sports. I saw it when my kids first started playing 25 years ago and I see it today as I watch my husband, daughter and son-in-law coach high school sports.
Fighting your child’s battles will HURT them more than help them. And it’s not just about the message you are communicating to your child. It can affect your child emotionally.
"We've had a 400 to 500 percent increase in adolescent anxiety and suicidal behavior over five decades, and part of the reason is that a lot of parenting has gone in a lot of directions — the parent is not involved or the helicopter parent who is fighting all of the kid's battles, and those are both disaster parents.” (Michael Bradley)
So then, is the answer to stand back and let havoc ensue?
Of course not. Your job is to teach your child to fight their own battles with this intentionality:
• Teach your child to stand up for themselves with words when they are very little.
• When they have a problem, ask them questions to help them find their own solution.
• When you and your child have a conflict, let them speak their mind, don’t dismiss their opinions.
• When your child is being bullied and all their efforts to stand up for themselves do not resolve the issue, it may be time to step in and get the teacher’s, coach’s or school’s help.
Youth sports are an ideal environment for your child to learn how to stand up for themselves. Unfortunately, many parents are missing out on this opportunity for growth because they feel the need to take control or fix the situation.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com