A lot of kids that are involved in after school sports and extra curricular activities believe that their parents should be there for every single game of their childhood. After all, the first thing that a child usually does after scoring a game-winning goal is glance to the bleachers to see if mom and dad caught that stellar moment. For a child, there’s no better feeling than knowing that his or her parent feels just as proud as they do, while reveling in their moment of glory.
But according to professional health experts, parents might be setting themselves up for failure by committing themselves to every game, despite all of the success on the pitch. This is because many parents fail to remember that this is their child’s sports life – not their own. Parents don’t have to be at every tournament, especially if they work full time, have other obligations to fulfill or if they have to make sacrifices in their family’s live in order to drive every other weekend to an out-of-town swim meet or golf camp.
With that being said, we’ve outlined 5 reasons why you shouldn’t feel obligated to be there for your child’s every goal. There are more important values to teach them, then set the expectations that you will be there for every basketball, baseball or volleyball game, even if that means you have to stretch yourself thin in the process.
1. You Don’t Have To Be There For Every Goal Or Win
As much as parents want to be there to celebrate their child’s last-second goal at their soccer game or the game-winning point at their basketball tournament, this isn’t always realistic. As a matter of fact, many psychologists agree that parents that bend over backwards to attend all of their child’s games – and even the out-of-town ones – will end up feeling more frustrated and stressed than anything else.
While celebrating your child’s sporting accomplishments now feels great, there’s a slim chance that they will become professional athletes down the road.
According to the NCAA statistics, the estimated probability of a kids’ league athlete competing in college athletics is minimal. In fact, the numbers aren’t on your side: Males: 3.4% of basketball players, 7.1% of baseball players, 6.9% of football players. For female, it's a bit different: 7.1% of soccer players, 7.4% of swimmers, 3.9% of volleyball players.
2. You Shouldn’t Make Their Sports Life, Your Life
Being a supportive parent is important, but being a parent who pulls their hair out on a daily basis because of their children’s jam-packed sporting schedule doesn’t benefit anyone.
If you have to work overtime, if you can't find a babysitter for your younger children or you have a deadline that can't be ignored: skip the game. Stay home. Make a game-winning dinner for your little champ instead. Remember, this is your child's life, not your's.
3. You Shouldn’t Feel Obligated To Be That "Sports Mom"
There are many parents who work full-time, both in and outside of the home. But because you have free time on the weekends, that doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to being a “sports mom.” Helping out your child’s baseball team is great, but no parent should feel as though it’s their part time job to organize a Sign Up Genius to make sure that other parents are volunteering to bring snacks, drinks, tents and sporting equipment to each game.
4. You Shouldn’t Feel Emotionally Invested
Yes, being a supportive parent is very important. But getting into arguments with the ref, getting into spats with other parents about who nudged who on the field does more damage than good. Ultimately, coaching interferes with your role as supporter and fan. So... if you can't do this -- or you find yourself getting too riled up, don't go!
Be a parent who enjoys the now, and let the coach the coach be the coach. Don't parent when you coach and don't coach at home when you're supposed to be parenting.
5. Absence Is A Good Thing
As the saying goes, absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. Plus, if you are showing up to each and every one of your child’s sporting events, then you are also telling your child that his or life matters more than your family life at home. And that shouldn’t always be the case.
Blogger Jim Daly of Focus on The Family puts it this way, “Your periodic absence lets a child know that the life of the whole family is important. The world doesn’t revolve around them. And it helps the parents strike a better balance for themselves as well. Try to make most of your kids’ games, certainly, but when you can’t be there, don’t beat yourself up.”