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HomeBlogFranklySteinLessons learned on being a supportive sports parent — FranklyStein

Lessons learned on being a supportive sports parent — FranklyStein

cheerleaderRecently, my 11-year-old son, who is a swimmer, said to me out of the blue, “I’m glad you aren’t the kind of parent who yells if we don’t do well.”

One of his friends gets yelled at, he said.

I would never get angry at one of my kids for not doing well in a sport, but I’m not the perfect sports parent. I’ve been known to get caught up in the moment. I’ve wondered why my child wasn’t doing better. I’m always struggling to control my competitive nature, and I have to be careful to remember that it’s their sport, not mine. But all it takes is one crazy sports parent yelling from the sidelines to remind me what I don’t want to be.

I’ve heard over and over the best thing to say to your child after a game is, “I really enjoyed watching you play.” After one particularly rough game, my daughter and I were driving home with a friend and her daughter and the friend started venting about the game — criticizing the ref, the coach and some of the players on the team. When she was done, I just told the girls I had enjoyed watching them play. I think the girls appreciated it, and it put a quick end to the venting.

Sometimes after a bad loss or an obviously difficult swim, it’s hard not to ask my kids what happened or offer advice. Many times I’ve done just that, but I usually regret it. They don’t need me pointing out the obvious, and many times they don’t really know what went wrong. If they want to talk about it, they will say something.

And no matter what happens, I try to come up with something positive to say. I do enjoy watching them do whatever it is they love to do — regardless of how they do. And above all, I want them to keep loving it.

If you are looking for top-notch advice on how to support your young athlete, check out our story Advice from the pros on how to best parent young athletes. We asked professionals like Raven Steve Smith Jr., coaches like Brenda Frese and Olympic soccer player Ali Krieger the best way to be a supportive parent, and they have some great answers.

Over the years I’ve encouraged my kids to be the best they can be. I’ve pushed them to continue a sport when they were hesitant. Sometimes it’s worked and sometimes it’s backfired. There have been hard times when they’ve been cut from a team and great times when their hard work has paid off. No matter what happens, I try to be there to support them.

And it’s my hope they will never look back and regret what they have done.

Photo above by Rasika Mathias

To read more FranklyStein click here

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein, who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 17, Lilly, 16, Adam, 16, and Jonah, 11.


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