Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Say No to Nightmare Parenting

We’ve all been on the sidelines, whether it be a soccer field or theater, anxiously watching our offspring do their thing.  When I recently read about how to be a well-behaved parent of an athlete, I realized it’s not just soccer moms that can be awful.  Parents of all spectating ilks can be awful.  Don’t let it be you.

Breaking it down…
1.  Be the parent, not the coach/director/teacher.  You don’t get to tell the adult in charge what role your child plays, be it a position on the field, Hamlet or first violin.
2.  You don’t have to fix things.  Whether it’s a problem on an exam, an admonishment by a teacher, or, perish the thought, something your child’s done to someone: have them fix it.  How else will they learn?
3.  Be the supportive cheerleader.  No matter how flat your kid’s Hamlet was, high five them for getting it done and for the good effort (assuming there was good effort).  Ditto the shot they missed (remember, it happens even in the pros), or the note they flubbed.
4.  The success is theirs, and the failure.  There’s no need to take credit where none is due.  There’s no need to rescue.  We all experience failure; just be with them as witness.  Offer comfort as needed.
5.  Compare notes.  Do they want to have a good time while you want them to become the next Garbo?  Talk about it.
6.  You will be noticed.  Give credit to all and put on your party face.  Be a model of good audience behavior and good parenting.
My stupid mouth (has got me in trouble again)…John Mayer


Luke said...

Great post!

I completely relate to this, but as a coach I'm also aware that I have to let my daughter go in order for her to shine as her own person!
I think it's about standing back and consciously being aware of the implications of our fears and worries as parents, and then coaching ourselves to let go, for our kids sake!


Jodi Bakken said...

I think it's great for kids to develop teamwork skills from sports and vital for parents not to jump in and try to rescue their kids all the time. It's important to remember we are all raising future adults--and they need to develop these types of life skills.