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If you grew up with competitive values, those same values have probably followed you deep into your adult life. You can still remember vividly the days of your adolescence when sports were one of the most important parts of your life. Now, not too many years later, you are a parent. You now have the opportunity to right whatever wrongs you had on the court or field growing up. This is not an uncommon mentality for competitive sports parents. And provided that the parent manages to keep this mentality within limits, it need not be a huge problem.
But staying within those limits is a lot easier said than done for some parents. And when they go beyond those limits, they usually inspire their kids to instead become less competitive and prefer to quit the sport altogether. As a sports parent, this is the last thing you want for your child. Here are a few flags that should let you know you’ve crossed the line, and are thus pushing your child ever closer towards quitting. And here’s what you can do to reverse those habits.
We encourage all parents to want to involve themselves in their children’s lives. These are the ingredients of a healthy relationship with your child. But your role should not be to judge and criticize. Instead, you should be helping your child. You want your child to think of you as a source of positive energy, rather than someone who will always invade his or her privacy and personal space.
The goal is to convince your child to want you to be in his or her life, rather than inserting yourself at every opportunity against your child’s will. Such is the case with sports as it is with anything else. If your child feels that he or she is struggling with the sport, you should make sure your child knows that you want to help. But if your child doesn’t want the attention, then you need to give your child the space that he or she deserves.
This is a character flaw all too common in competitive parents. If your child is old enough to participate in competitive sports, that means that your child is old enough to think for him or herself. As much as you would love for your child to have all the same exact goals and views as you, only better, that usually just isn’t the case. And if it is, then those similarities usually stem from your child looking up to you, rather than emulating you due to your having imposed those values upon him or her.
If you find that you’ve been investing yourself so passionately into your child’s competition to the point where you suspect you may be embarrassing him or her in front of the other parents and teammates, that’s a problem. Sports are supposed to be fun. If your child is suffering through them, and dreading your coming to their games or matches because of the scene you make, that’s a sign that it’s time to tone it down a bit.
Competition is healthy. But it’s important to keep your emotions under control. If you think you’d like to receive counseling, or if your child could benefit from our child therapy Westchester NY services, give us a call today at (914) 793-3388.