It’s Time to Change Your Mind About Raising Young Athletes

By Janis Meredith | Posted 5/18/2020

Raising young athletes—raising kids — is not an easy task. There’s an opportunity for parents to make lots of mistakes because, after all, we are human.

The bottom line is this: if we want to release well-adjusted young adults into the world, we must take a long look at how we approach parenting them as they play sports. The key is focusing on preparing them for adulthood, not merely protecting them.

It’s wonderful that parents are so engaged with their kids these days, but there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing; over-protecting and over-involvement are not healthy.

When parents live in fear of their kids taking reasonable risks, rescue their children too quickly, rave about every little thing they do, and reward them too often, they are parenting for the short-term: looking for the quick and convenient solutions to problems.

On the other hand, if you are parenting for the long-term, you will be more concerned with equipping them and preparing them for the future than with doing what’s easy at the moment.

How are you parenting your athlete? For the long-term? Or for the short-term?

Parenting for the long-term means:

•   Permitting your athletes to learn the value of failure

•   Finding your identity in something other than your kids’ sports

•   Letting kids know that happiness is a by-product of using their gifts to help others: teamwork!

•   Letting kids experience the outcome of their choices–good or bad

•   Helping your kids identify their strengths and reinforce the growth of those gifts, praising them for their effort, not for the outcome.

•   Not stepping in to change situations so that your child doesn’t have to struggle

•   Guiding your child through hard times, don’t fix it for them. Let them learn to work through it themselves.

The biggest change you can make in your parenting is to parent for the long-term, preparing future adults, not just focusing on today’s problems.

Are you ready to make the change? Do you want to parent for the long-term instead of the short-term? 

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.