Friday, July 6, 2012

Open letter to pushy parents eveywhere

Parents, naturally, have concern for their children and are interested in their lives.  When does this concern go overboard?  Too many parents become overly involved in their child's life.  Personally, I see this happening far too often, particularly in respect to children and sports.

Children need to explore their independence and learn how to live and grow outside of their home.  When parents step in and try to control their child's life, the only person to get hurt is the child.  As the child starts to feel like they are losing control over their athletic life, they will become disinterested in their sport and lose all drive and motivation.  Unfortunately, it winds up with the child abandoning the sport that they once loved.

Parents need to learn to take a step back.  Encourage your child.  Give them support.  Stop questioning the officials, the judges, the directors, and the coaches.  These people are there to make sure your child is safe and treated fairly.  Some parents hoot and holler and, frankly, make themselves look like baboons.  When their child fails, they take it as a personal blow.  They stress unnecessarily over upcoming games, meets, and tournaments.  When exceedingly high expectations are constantly placed on the child, eventually they will start to crack.

Sometimes parents will take on  their child's achievements as their own.  If your dream was to play baseball, score a perfect 10 on balance beam, or score the winning touchdown, then put on the uniform and do it yourself.  Your child is not a puppet for you to put on display.  Cut the strings.

Don't go around and try to break other children down.  Don't dredge up past failures or injuries. Teach your children respect for their peers.  Don't talk down about other children in front of your child.  Don't ever, ever, EVER let your child talk down to their teammates.  It will only come back to bite you in the behind, or worse, bite your child.  It will be pretty lonely when no one wants to associate with your child anymore because of their attitude.  

Stop hovering and stop pushing.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.  Sit back and enjoy yourself.  It is not about who gets there first, it is about who works the hardest and wants it the most.  Ultimately, it is about letting your child grow up and figure it out for themselves.

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