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Help Your Children Learn To Fight Their Own Battles In Youth Sports

     When your kids are small, you are there to love, guide and protect, with an emphasis on protect. Protecting our children is a parental instinct.

As children grow, parents give them more responsibilities and privileges, thinking that they are "letting go." Unfortunately, there is still that last apron string that most parents just can't seem to cut. In an effort to continue protecting, they do not let their children fight their own battles.

If you hang around a gymnasium, soccer field, football field, baseball or softball diamond, or any sporting event, you will see parents fighting for their kids. The battles will be about playing time, coaching conflicts, and team mates and when parents step in, their actions could be hurting their kids more than helping them. .

Parents who want to nurture strength in their children will teach them to fight their own battles, using these suggested tactics.

1. Start by being a diligent listener. When kids are ready to talk about their struggles, parents need to listen more than speak. Often, when kids get in the car after practice the last thing they want is to answer a bunch of questions about practice. Instead, ask one simple question about "how was your day" until they are ready to talk. And once they begin talking, let them express their feelings without parental judgment.

2. Teach them to how to confront if it is needed. Discuss with them how they can approach the coach with a problem. My husband has coached for over 25 years and he explains that there are good and bad ways to confront a coach.

Bad: "How come I'm not playing more? I'm better than Joe or Susie!" Or, "Coach, how come I'm not playing? Coach, how come I'm not playing? Coach, how come I'm not playing?" Coaches do not like to be pestered!

Good "What do I have to do to get on your radar?" Or "What do I have to do to get on the court/field more?"

This approach puts the responsibility on the athlete to improve and fight for his time and does not sound accusatory to the coach.

3. Prepare them for a long fight. Kids want to have everything NOW, including immediate victory and resolution to problems. But some battles cannot be won overnight; they may even be season-long.

When our kids were discouraged about their playing time or their performance, we told them to keep fighting and continue working hard. I've seen my volleyball-playing daughter win the battle for starting libero by mid-season and I've seen my son struggle until the very last game with a basketball coach he could never seem to please. In both cases, our kids fought their own battle every step of the way, with my husband and I cheering from the sidelines.

Let them go, let them fight. Because long after the balls and bats and hoops start to gather dust in the garage, the life lessons your athletes learned as they fought their battles on the court and field will prepare them just a little bit more for the battles of life that lay ahead.

Article Source:

Do you want your children to be winners in their sports? Join with sports parents worldwide who do! Learn more at JBM Thinks Sportsparenting.

Posted on 2013-03-28, By: *

* Click on the author's name to view their profile and articles!!!

Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,

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