Watching your children grow, and discover their passions, is easily one of the greatest feelings a parent can experience; especially when it’s in something competitive, like sports. It’s almost electric when you hear your child express joy over their new passion. You can feel the energy and excitement it gives them; the flames of passion have been ignited, and the fire is just waiting to be stoked. And as a parent, you want that feeling for your children, and hope it never ends.
But some times, we parents want it a little too much for our children, and risk ruining that experience for our children. How? Well, let me ask you this…how many times have you been to a kids sporting event, and have seen that parent? You know who I’m talking about; the parent that is, usually, decked out from head to toe in team apparel; maybe even with their kid’s name on their back. They’re usually posted up as close to the sideline, dugout, team box, or home plate, as they can be. It’s kind of hard to miss them; mainly because they’re usually screaming the coach, the umpire, their kid or the other team’s kids at any given moment…and it typically lasts the entire length of the event.
Of course we want to match our kid’s energy and desire for their new found love, but some times, parents can go way past that point, and straight onto obsessive. The good news is that you don’t have to match the intensity of your kid’s passion; because it’s not about you. It’s about your kids, and you just need to support it. Below, I take a look at some useful tips for supporting a child’s new found love for sports.
Get Them Involved
I know above I said to back off and let the new passion be about your kids, and not you, but…there can be times when your child needs…let’s say, a little nudge in the right direction. After all, you are their parent, and know them fairly well.
I’ve been practicing Muay Thai at the same gym for 7 years now, and my son has been there for all of it. He’s watched, for literally his entire life, as his dad discovered a new passion, and how training has changed my life, and I wanted that for him too.
Right before he began kindergarten, I noticed my son was starting to show signs of anxiety. He was nervous a lot of the time, didn’t have the best outlook on himself, and was afraid of changing schools and starting something new.
Instantly I thought of enrolling him in the kids program at my gym. I was excited to share my passion with him, because I knew it would be perfect for him too. But, then I caught myself, and instead of just assuming what he needed, and assuming he’d love what I love; I asked him. I asked him if he’d be interested in trying it out, and he said yes.
Off to the Game
Let’s be honest: your young child probably isn’t going to be a prodigy at their chosen sport. In fact, they probably won’t be very good at all. They’ll get frustrated, there will be tears, and they will even say they don’t want to do it anymore. This is where we parents have a chance to shine. This is where we can reflect back on all the great motivational speeches we heard growing up, or sports movies we saw. We get a chance to let our kids know, not everyone is perfect when starting something new; in fact, no one is. Tell them that even the best athletes fail, lose, or get cut from a team. But the great ones use those moments to get better, and try again. Not only that, but depending on the type of activity your child is passionate about; you get an opportunity to take them them to their first, live profession event of that sport. What person doesn’t remember their first baseball or football game at the stadium of their favorite team? They’ll be mesmerized.
In the Home
Of course, it’s not like you can take them to the game every weekend. That’s going to set you back far too much money! But, thankfully, you don’t need to be in attendance to see the game. You just need the premium sports channels. Get those added on your cable package, and your son or daughter will be able to indulge in their passion every weekend. It’ll give you some peace and quiet, too: they’ll be engrossed by what’s on the screen, and won’t always be asking to go to the game.
Birthdays and Christmas
There’s good news and bad news, when it comes to a child who’s obsessed with a particular sport. The good is that you’ll never be stuck for a birthday or Christmas present. There’s more memorabilia than you can shake a stick at, for all professional clubs. The bad news is that they can be expensive, especially jerseys.
Finally, you can support your son or daughter by also opening their eyes to other, related activities. A person who likes tennis usually also likes other sports that involve hand to eye coordination, for instance. It might just open their eyes to more of the fun things in life.