The list of things for sports parents to be afraid of is very, very long. And the older our kids get, the longer the list gets.
In general, research shows that both sports and non-sports parents fear:
• That they are not good enough or doing a good job.
• That their kids are not going to make it to or through college or be able to find a job.
• The danger of strangers.
• That their kids will be bullied.
• Accidents, injuries, and illnesses.
• Financial stresses and worries.
I’m sure that you could add to that list.
Parental fears are normal, but you must learn how to manage them so that they do not hurt your children. Fear-based parenting also puts all your focus on what you don’t want—which means you’re actually more likely to create it.
For sports parents, the fears for their athletes touch on injuries, lack of success, not being able to make the team or the starting position, and not meeting a goal of playing in college.
How do you know if you are parenting from fear? If you find yourself thinking or saying any of these things on a regular basis, you are letting fear rule your parenting:
• I’m worried, afraid that my child will…
• I just don’t want my child to…
• What if (the worst thing that could happen) happens?
If your words or thoughts focus on what could go wrong, what-ifs, or what you want to protect your child from, you may be parenting from fear more than you realize.
A mindset of fear from parents can be contagious. Kids are likely to focus on fears too if they see that type of lifestyle modeled in their home. I’ve seen some of the fears I voiced start to surface in my grown kids. Worries about money were one of the main ones. I’m sad to say that my kids struggle with the same problem and I know that I contributed to that.
But you do not have to pass on fears to your children; you can stop parenting in fear. You CAN conquer parental anxiety!
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.
USA Football's 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.