Are you aware that your sports parenting mindset could be holding you hostage?
Parents are under a lot of pressure. We want to raise young athletes who do good in school, who either graduate from college or at least get a good job out of high school. We want our children to grow up to be good human beings who are compassionate and who live with integrity.
When you think about it, the task of parenting is rather daunting. Molding and guiding a young life are huge asks of parents who are struggling with challenging issues. We often have enough trouble navigating our own lives, much less be a positive role model for multiple children.
The pressure we feel motivates us to always get it right with our kids. Every conflict, every challenge, every issue we face with our children becomes a mountain, instead of a mere molehill. Our short-sightedness often causes us to assign more importance to situations than they deserve—every minute your child is on the bench, every mistake in their game. Every problem becomes crucial, and that adds up to 18 years or more of a lot of crucial-ness!
I’d like to share a thought that should take some of the burdens off of your shoulders. I want to speak a truth that frees you from expecting too much of yourself. I read this truth in the book Parenting, by Paul David Tripp.
You need to see parenting as one unending conversation.
As a parent, I find this mentality incredibly freeing. Let me explain. You are freed from the pressure of needing to get from your child what you are never going to get in a single conversation. You know that this conversation is only one moment in an ongoing conversation that began when the child was born and will probably not even end when your child leaves your home. You are liberated from having to load your hopes for your child into one conversation because you know that you live with this child and you will get many more opportunities.
This is a huge pressure off sports parents! Think about it: you don’t have to put all your hopes on one season. Your child does not have to reach their potential in one season or even in a couple of years.
Do you see how this mindset can be freeing for a parent? You have new opportunities every single day to take another step forward in the process of guiding them and giving them a moral compass. Each day, you look for another chance to continue that goal and because you are doing that, you don’t see moments when correction is needed to be interruptions or hassles, but a gift of another opportunity to help your child grow up.
It could be a few minutes at breakfast each morning before school, a brief talk in the car ride home from a game or practice, a listening ear at the dinner table or a quick chat at bedtime. In each of these conversations, little steps are being taken to transform your child.
As a mom, I often felt that I had to say just the right thing in a conversation with my child as they struggled with something–as if that one spectacular conversation was going to be life-changing for my child and they would learn their lesson and never repeat their mistakes.
That can happen, but it’s rare. What really happens is that our parenting is made up of thousands and thousands of moments of time as our kids grow up. If you blow it in one conversation, you will have many more to get it right – kind of like how your child progresses step-by-step in sports.
This freeing mindset will help you be released from the unrealistic parenting expectations you place on yourself and give you the stamina to parent for many years. Eighteen years is plenty of time to shape a life if you realize you are in it for the long haul.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.