In life, there is really no end to the unknowns. We cannot see into the future, we cannot predict how our kids will turn out and we cannot foresee the problems that lay in wait for us.
In youth sports, this is especially true. Will my child make the team? Will they start? Will they get much playing time? Will they have fun? Make friends with their teammates? Like their coach? Will they survive the season without injury?
As children grow up, it seems that every day parents are encountering something new to figure out. Then right when they think they have mastered that challenge, they are faced with two more scenarios that leave them feeling clueless on how to proceed.
As one parent friend put it, “I’m trying to hard to be the best parent I can be while feeling like I’m shooting from the hip almost every day.”
I remember many days as a parent when my kids were growing up that I felt like I was par-enting in the dark, unsure of the next steps to take. I just needed someone to turn on the light switch so I could see some clear answers.
Unfortunately, parents can never be fully prepared for what the next challenge is going to be, but there are some things you CAN have in place that will help you feel ready to face whatever comes next. These are handles you can grab to guide you when you feel you are “parenting in a dark hallway.”
These are the values that will guide your family’s decisions, conversations, and solutions. They should be weaved into every aspect of your home.
Boundaries are the tangible expression of those core values. Boundaries may fluctuate as your child grows, however the core values that support them will NOT.
Good family communication is going to be the bedrock of your home. It will see you through tough times as you learn to listen, really HEAR, question, and respond–not RE-ACT–to your child. It takes work, but it is so, so worth the effort. You will reap the benefits for the rest of your lives.
There is a fine line between being flexible and being consistent. Again, I refer to the core values–those are the areas where parents should be consistent. That leaves room for flexibility in many other areas of life. It’s also called “choosing your battles.”
Learn what fills your child’s love tank. Take the time to discover which of the five love languages speaks love the loudest to your child and find ways to express that love to them. A child with an empty love tank is most likely going to exhibit behavioral problems.
These five tools will help you as you face the unknowns of parenting and as your child fac-es the unknowns of their youth sports.
Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help parents raise champions. You can find out more at rcfamilies.com.