How Are Your Athlete’s Life Skills?

By Janis Meredith | Posted 8/3/2020

How are you doing when it comes to teaching your kids life skills? This is definitely an issue for parents today. Take a look at these results from a USA Today poll:

By the time kids are old enough for college and way beyond the point they should have graduated, parents — whether wealthy or not — are still doing things children can do for themselves. Such as:

•         76 percent reminded their adult children of deadlines they need to meet, including for schoolwork

•         74 percent made appointments for them, including doctor’s appointments

•         15 percent of parents with children in college had texted or called them to wake them up so they didn’t sleep through a class or test. 

One of the most egregious findings of the poll is that 11 percent of parents with adult children will call their child’s employer if he or she had an issue at work.

The poll also found among parents of adult children that: 

•         22 percent helped them study for a college test

•         16 percent helped write all or part of a job or internship application

•         14 percent told them which career to pursue

•         14 percent helped them get jobs or internships through a professional network

•         12 percent gave more than $500 per month for rent or daily expenses

•         11 percent helped write an essay or school assignment

•         4 percent wrote all or part of an essay or other school assignment 

Before you say, “I will never be that parent,” stop and think about this: When was the last time you reminded your middle school or high school athlete to get their homework done after practice or wash their uniform before the next game? Or maybe, you’re the parent who is always reminding your athlete to practice their skills.

If you are caught in the trap of constantly reminding your child to do things, checking up on them, helping them with their homework or covering for them when they don’t do something, you will end up with kids going off to college who have not grown up. Growing up means making your own decisions, and sometimes making mistakes.

Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success,” says this:

“If you’re doing it in high school, you can’t stop at college. If you’re doing it in college, you can’t stop when it comes to the workplace. You have manufactured a role for yourself of always being there to handle things for your child, so it gets worse because your young adult is ill-equipped to manage the basic tasks of life.”

If you fear you are one of those parents who may be damaging your child’s life skills, it’s time to stop micromanaging, snowplowing, hovering or lawnmowing in your kids’ lives – especially in their youth sports experience.

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