We encourage our kids to engage in different sports and activities for both the enjoyment and the developmental benefits it offers. They learn how to play in a team, be a winner and a loser, and of course develop physical abilities within the sport as well. Spending a Saturday watching a soccer game can be a relaxing break. Watching your little champion run around with the others swarming towards the ball can be heart-warming. But what happens when there is that other dad that takes things a bit too seriously and starts shouting at the team? Or the mom that pays a professional coach to train her 4-year-old, and turns her nose up at you for not doing the same?
This can sometimes cause you to doubt yourself. You may start to think that you aren’t pushing your child enough by shouting them on during the game, or that you aren’t giving them the best opportunity to succeed in extra coaching.
Forget it all.
By simply sitting back and letting your child enjoy the game and discover his skills on his own, you are helping him grow more than you can imagine. Independence and fun go hand in hand in this scenario. Don’t become the parent that points out all his faults on the field. You will just be bringing down his self-confidence and putting him off the game he loves. Instead, cheer him on when he does something impressive, talk through the game excitedly afterward, and congratulate him for simply participating. By remaining positive, it is easier to run the game once it has done, and suggest that maybe he should have done something a little different instead of chastising him publicly.
If you find that a screaming sideline parent is really ruining the game for both you and your child, you have two options. Firstly you can try and lay a complaint with the school or sports club. They might be able to give the parent a warning, and/or ban them from future games if the bad behavior continues. Secondly, if you are not wanting to be ‘that’ parent, and also saving their child the embarrassment, you could always just move sports club. Look at neighboring suburbs or cities to see if they have space for your child to join. Hopefully, the parents there will be a little more subdued and you can all enjoy the game with the usual sporty ambiance.
When it comes to some parents constantly bragging about the extra training they receive, ignore them. Nod your head and move on. You know what it is that your child needs, and do you really want to be spending so much extra money on a professional trainer if you don’t have to? Rather, spend some time in the garden practicing the sport with your child. This offers up some great bonding time and some good extra practice. An added bonus is that you can count this as some weekly exercise – it is a complete win-win! You, dad and siblings, can all take turns pitching, kicking, batting, or even having a full on sports game in the back garden. Every family needs as much bonding time as they can get, and spending some time together outdoors can create some great memories for the future.
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Let your child enjoy their sporting experience. Move them, and yourself, away from any other parents that try and take the fun out of sports. If you want them to continue to live a healthy lifestyle where they enjoy partaking in sports, you need to keep it fun. Any negative energy around them doing this will put them, and you off. Spending the weekend watching their games can be a great way for the family to spend time together, and also a perfect opportunity to encourage younger siblings to become sports players when they are old enough.
Children need to run free, kick a ball and have fun. That is what they are best at. Let them explore their abilities, talents, and preferences. Keep them away from others who might dampen their enthusiasm. They really don’t need any negativity around such a positive activity.