Parents get kids involved in sports for many reasons, but most often to keep them healthy and happy. The physical and emotional benefits of sports are huge and lifelong! But as kids get older, and sports become more competitive, Positive Parenting often grows complicated, and parents can lose sight of base objectives.

DON’T BE THAT PARENT:

If you have kids involved with sport, you’ve undoubtedly seen good and bad sports parenting in action. Check out What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent and What Makes a Good One for an excellent perspective on the topic (and a reality check).

BE THIS PARENT:

The article lists five signs of the ideal sports parent. Good news is: being a dream sports parent takes far less effort than being a nightmare sports parent!

•    Cheer for everybody on the team, not just your own child: Parents should attend as many games as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to the rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when the team is struggling.

•    Model appropriate behavior: Contrary to the old saying, children do as you do, not as you say. When a parent projects poise, control and confidence, the young athlete is likely to do the same. And when a parent doesn’t dwell on a tough loss, the young athlete will be enormously appreciative.

•    Know what is suitable to discuss with the coach: The mental and physical treatment of your child is absolutely appropriate. So is seeking advice on ways to help your child improve. And if you are concerned about your child’s behavior in the team setting, bring that up with the coach. Taboo topics: Playing time, team strategy, and discussing team members other than your child.

•    Know your role: Everyone at a game is either a player, a coach, an official, or a spectator. “It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time,” Brown says. “Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide.” Here’s a clue: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.

•    Be a good listener and a great encourager: When your child is ready to talk about a game, or has a question about the sport, be all ears. Then provide answers while mindfully avoiding becoming a nightmare sports parent. Above all, be positive. Be your child’s biggest fan. “Good athletes learn better when they seek their own answers,” Brown says.

And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: “I love to watch you play.”

For more tips on positive sports parenting, visit the Tools For Parents page at the Positive Coaches Alliance.