You might be overstepping your boundaries as a parent at your child’s youth sports game, and in fact, you may not even realize it.
Do you attend every youth sports event your child plays? Do you take him to camps and clinics? What about practicing with him in the backyard? These all sound like good things for a youth sports parents to do, but there is a fine line between parents who are engaged and supportive and those who are too involved. These parents often micromanage their young athletes, even though they are only intending to be loving, supportive parents. For your child’s sake—and yours too—here are some signs that you may be micromanaging your athlete.
- You repeat yourself too often
Parents who are over-parenting often find themselves frequently telling their kids what to do, even nagging them to do so. This is especially tempting for youth sports parents who want to push their kids to practice extra or work out.
- You won’t let your child fail
No parent enjoys watching a child fail, but constantly rescuing them will keep a young athlete from learning valuable lessons. Recovering from failure provides children with opportunities to discover how they can do things differently in the future.
- You praise too much
Yes, your child needs encouragement, but sometimes sports parents go overboard. If you praise your child every time he does something, especially when it’s for something he’s already done 1,000 times, your words will lose their meaning — particularly so when the feedback is actually needed.
- You keep your child booked
Look at your child’s weekly schedule—is every afternoon and evening filled with activities? When a parent feels the need to fill every hour on the schedule, it’s a sign of their need to control—and thus micromanage—their child’s time, leaving him little free time to just be a kid.
- You and your child have frequent power struggles
A good sign you’re micromanaging comes when you’re arguing with your 7-year-old about eating breakfast or with your 16-year-old about his misplacing his team uniform. The most effective parents choose their battles and when your teenager realizes he’s starving by 11AM because he didn’t each breakfast, he’ll learn.
- You interfere with playing time struggles
Let your child talk to the coach if he/she is frustrated. This is his/her battle, not yours.
- You help your child even when you’re not asked
Many youth sports parents jump up to help before kids have a chance to figure it out for themselves. Sometimes it’s best to step back and wait until your child asks for help. If you’re quick to tell him/her how to fix his/her problem in sports, he/she won’t develop crucial problem-solving skills.
- You want to know every detail of practice
As a naturally curious person, you may like to know the details. However, there is a difference between asking your child about how practice went and interrogating him/her about whether he/she started, how much he/she played, and what the coach said about him/her. Unless you suspect a lack of safety or another serious problem, there’s no need to press your young athlete for every detail from their practice or game.
If you think you may be micromanaging your child, you can break the habit one step at a time.
Start in areas that have smaller consequences and keep in mind that if you’re not micromanaging the little things, your child will be more likely to listen to you when it really matters.
Next time you’re tempted to micromanage, ask yourself: Will this help my athlete become more independent and develop leadership skills? If the answer is no, then maybe it’s time to take a few steps back and let your child do some managing on his own.