Being the parent of a young athlete brings with it a barrage of emotions.Â Unparalleled pride when they get excited, fear that they'll get hurt, sadness whey they lose and even anger when you think they have been treated unfairly.Â Add to that the tough job of teaching your child to be a humble winner and a gracious loser and it's no wonder so many parents end up taking things too far.Â If you are going to be a parent on the sidelines, it's important that you learn how to keep your own emotions in check.Â Remember:Â It's just a game.Â It's supposed to be fun for everyone.
Many times, the intense sideline parents who continually shout "coaching" (which can morph into angry rants) from the sidelines end up causing undue pressure on their kids and the sports becomes no longer fun.Â Kids' sports are supposed to be fun, so if you are going to be a spectator at your kid's games, be exactly that:Â A spectator.Â There are no professional sports scouts in the audience, armed with a multi-million-dollar contract, ready for your child's signature.
Although it's certainly OK to be encouraging and to want your child to put in an effort into what they are doing, your love for your child can lead you to behave in ways that are only going to put pressure on your child.Â That can lead them to struggle with feelings of not living up to your high expectations, which can deal a blow to their self-esteem.Â Hurtful sideline behaviour comes in many forms.Â Let's take a look at what these behaviours look like in practice.
Focusing on your own feelings:Â Often, there is a tendency to let your own feelings overshadow your child's.Â For example, if you've always wanted to see your child play goalie, you may push her to do it even if it's not something she wants
Projecting into the future:Â From the time your child straps on his first pair of skates, many parents have visions of their child making millions of dollars in the NHL.Â It's important to understand that your child is just a child, and to live in the moment.Â Enjoy watching your child today, without wasting time thinking about tomorrow.
Expecting a return on your investment:Â You have paid money for your child to participate in their activities.Â You leave work early to get them to their games on time.Â Those sacrifices can make some parents subconsciously expect their child to show results in return for that investment.Â Remember, though:Â Your child does not owe you results because you signed them up for an activity they enjoy.Â Their only job is to do their best and have fun.
Competition with other parents:Â There is a fine line between wanting your child to be the best he can be and wanting your child to be better than another parent's child.Â Friendly competition and sportsmanship are great; hoping for another child to fail so yours can shine isn't.
So, the next time you are sitting in a folding chair on the soccer pitch, on a cold steel bleacher or trying to keep warm in a hockey arena while you watch your child indulge their hobby, remember:Â It's just a game.Â Win or lose, your child is learning the skills of the game, as well as life skills like co-operation, teamwork, sportsmanship and responsibilities.Â But above all, they are having fun!Â And that is the most important thing.Â Leave your personal dreams and aspirations for your child's professional sports career aside and simply enjoy the game.