May 162014 1 Response

3 Things a Parent Should Do From the Stands

Kids should play sports. Maybe not every kid, but most kids. And it is a parent’s responsibility to assist their child in finding sports they enjoy and allowing them to participate.

Once a child begins participating in sports, a parent has specific responsibilities. Parents should parent; coaches should coach; and players should play. Sadly, many adults forget these distinctions when they are sitting in the stands. They take off their parenting hat and attempt to play a role they should not play. While it’s acceptable to be a fan, parents should not relinquish their role as parent as they sit in the stands.

While other adults may share some of the responsibilities of a parent, three specific areas are the main responsibility of a parent.

Here are three things a parent should focus on when their child plays sports:

1. Safety. While every adult involved with children participating in sports has a responsibility to ensure the safety of each child, this responsibility primarily falls on a parent. The first (and maybe only) time a parent should be overly involved with their child in athletics is with the issue of safety. No boundary, rule, or expectation should stand in the way if you think your child is at risk.

If a coach is teaching the wrong technique or an official is ignoring dangerous weather, a parent should not hesitate to insert him or herself in the situation. Even if it results in pulling a child from the field or the team, a parent cannot take chances when it comes to safety. We must trust what we see and what we feel when it comes to our children. Sports involve risks, but a parent should properly evaluate that risk and ensure the well-being of their child. (See: Your Child Isn’t That Good)

2. Learning. While it’s a coach’s job to ensure a team is learning the sport, it is a parent’s responsibility to make sure a child is learning the bigger lessons of life. Sports can be one of the best vehicles in which the important lessons of life can be transported. Teamwork, hard work, discipline, submission to rules, and other great lessons should be learned through sports. Hopefully coaches do this as well, but it should be a parent’s primary focus. (See: A Father’s Primary Role)

More important than reviewing the play of a child after a game, a parent should work to review what could be learned. Did the child hustle? Did she listen? Did he keep a good attitude after a bad call? Is there something which happened during the child’s game which related to something the parent faced during the day? A parent should continually spot teaching points which they can use with their child. Learning is often best achieved indirectly. Sports provide plenty of opportunities to teach the important things of life. (See: When to Teach Your Kid a Lesson)

3. Enjoyment. In the end, sports are about having fun. A parent should do everything in their power to maximize the fun of their child when it comes to sports. Not every second should be fun. As a matter of fact, one of the most powerful lessons from sports are the important lessons learned through difficult and challenging times. However, the overarching feeling regarding a sport should be enjoyment. If your child isn’t having fun, they should find a different activity. (See: A Parenting Lesson from Jesus)

Sadly, for many children the reason they do not enjoy sports is BECAUSE of their parents. While parents should be enabling fun for their children, parents most often prevent their children from experiencing enjoyment. By attempting to live out their dreams through their child or focusing too much on the score or finding their identity through their child’s ability, parents lose sight of what is important and prevent their children from having fun. When a parent makes enjoyment a top priority, it changes their behavior. They care less about the score, a specific play, or a win/loss record. Instead, they appreciate their child, the world in which we live, and the opportunity to play. (See: 3 Ways Parents Discourage Their Children)

Parenting can be deeply complicated. Every child is different, every situation is unique, and hundreds of different voices give us competing advice. While parenting is often complicated, it is somewhat simple when it comes to our child’s involvement in sports. They should play and we should focus on three things. Safety, learning, and enjoyment are all a parent needs to worry about when it comes to sports. Ensure these three things and little else will matter.

For more, see:

Parenting, Sports, and the Gospel

One Response to 3 Things a Parent Should Do From the Stands
  1. […] Attending every game could further the idea that the child is more important than the family. Aren&#...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.