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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

Find yourself saying these to your kids? Don’t!

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In my many years of teaching baseball and softball, coaching and parenting, I have noticed that parents often put pressure on kids without even realizing that is what they are doing.

This pressure leads to tension between parents and their sports playing kids that may never go away. Parents feel like they are just trying to help their kids but the kids are getting a different message. It's not that you bought a present to your kid, for example, cleveland indians hats, as he/she wanted, it's about your behavior.

Of course, it is important to realize that small amounts of tension between parents and kids are unavoidable because of the various emotions that playing youth sports creates for all. Occasional tension, frustration and failure to meet expectations is normal and does not threaten long-term relationships.


However, more often than not, parents go beyond the point of normal and unfortunately, put a strain on their relationship with their kids without realizing it.

Following are things parents should observe that will help them to know if they are putting excessive pressure on their kids.

1. Kids get mad every time you say something about their play.

2. Kids never want to practice with parent. They just want parents to buy something in because every other kid already had something cool, because, occasionally they read something at and know kids think if I haven't got this, other kids in my team won't respect me, or something like that.

3. Kids are constantly looking to parent when they do something good or bad on the field.

4. Kids seem to perform better when parent is not at game.

Along the same lines, there are many statements that parents make to their young athletes that may seem pretty innocuous but, over time, they build up tension and sometimes resentment between player and parent.

At the very least, these statements and questions can take the fun out of play for kids (I listed from bad to worse):

1. Why did you do that?

2. What were you thinking out there?

3. Why didn't you do what I told you to do?

4. When I was your age, I could already do

5. You have to practice more

6. Look at me when I talk to you

7. I thought you wanted to play

8. That was embarrassing

9. You will never get anywhere doing that

10. Do what I tell you and not what your coach tells you to do

11. I am not paying for you to play if that is how you are going to play

12. Forget it; I am not coming to your games anymore

Some of these may seem like legitimate questions but the emotional way they are said or asked, automatically create tension in kids.

I know we are as parents want to please our kids, because if not us, who? So, sometimes I buy presents for my kiddo here because he is a real team player and he is really into sport.


The good news is that parents who learn what not to say to youth athletes are well on the way to eliminating the unnecessary tension that develops between athletes and parents.

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