Advice to Sport Parents
Every day, as often as you can, sit your child down, hold her hands, look into her eyes and let her know that you love her and that your love is unconditional, that it has absolutely nothing to do with her sport and whether she is able to throw her reverse dive, go for her giant-giant fly-away or get her “AA” cut in the 200Free. When you say goodnight to your child do the same thing. Hold her hands, look into her eyes and let her again know that the only expectations that you have of her in relation to her sport are that she have fun and feel good about herself, that you will love her no matter what. This message may sound corny, maybe even a little obvious, but it needs to be said over and over again.
A CHILD-ATHLETE’S PLEA TO MOM & DAD
I play because I LOVE to…
I play because it’s FUN…
I play to pursue MY DREAM…
I play because it makes ME FEEL GOOD about myself…
I play because MY FRIENDS play…
I play because I love the CHALLENGE & COMPETITION…
PLEASE….Don’t ask me to play to make YOU happy,
Don’t make me play to prove my self-worth to YOU,
Don’t ask me for a “performance return” on YOUR “BIG investment” of time and money spent on me,
Don’t EVER tie my lovability as YOUR child with HOW well I play,
PLEASE don’t make the game I love SO SERIOUS,
PLEASE, PLEASE, don’t tell me everything I did wrong AFTER I play,
If you do, you’ll steal my JOY and PASSION and leave me feeling sad and hurt,
LOVE ME UNCONDITIONALLY, just because I’m your kid, without bringing my game into it,
BE PROUD OF ME FOR WHO I AM, NOT BECAUSE I WON.
ON THE CAR RIDE HOME……..DEAR MOM AND DAD,
Don’t make me talk about the game,
Don’t tell me everything that I did wrong,
Don’t be angry at, and disappointed in me,
Don’t tell me all of the things that I need to work on and do to improve…..
Don’t give me the silent treatment!!
It’s just a game and may already feel terrible enough as it is….
Help me feel that you love me anyway,
Let me know in your voice tone, words, facial expression and posture that
MY FEELINGS ARE MORE IMPORTANT TO YOU THAN MY PERFORMANCE,
Talk about everything else except my sport, unless I bring it up,
Let me listen to my music, if I don’t want to talk,
I may really need the time to process stuff myself,
Help me keep the game in perspective because,
In the BIG picture, it’s not what’s really important here,
Your relationship with me and my emotional well-being IS!