A ton of blog posts have been written about parents and youth sports. One of my favorites was an article about narcissistic parenting—living your life through your kids.
My three daughters have participated in a lot of sports, so I’ve seen it all, including the following:
- The coach who almost got into a fistfight with a referee over a perceived bad call in soccer (and the referee was a kid). This was at a seven-year olds’ game.
- The dad standing on the side of the pool screaming at his daughter to do better (when she clearly is already a rock star swimmer).
- The softball coach who looked like he was about to have a stroke when the shortstop let a ball go by her . . . during a game between seven and eight-year olds.
My question is this: are you this passionate about your career and your own success? I’m definitely passionate about my daughters’ sports—a couple of her swimming friends have imitated me yelling. And maybe—just maybe—I’ve uttered a few four-letter words after witnessing some unsportsmanlike conduct at softball games.
There definitely comes a time when you must step back and say, “Wow, she’s just eight years old . . . I’m thinking maybe this particular game isn’t going to affect her future success all that much.”
So how can we as parents channel more energy and passion into our own personal success, as opposed to that of our children? Below are three ways:
#1—Give your children room to breathe.
One of the many reasons candidates come to me to look for a new job is because they’re being micromanaged. Are you micro-managing your child’s sports career like a boss you wouldn’t want to be? Are you over working them? Running them ragged? Can you take some of the energy you put towards your children’s sports and direct it inwards?
#2—Turn that passion towards yourself.
Are you personally perfecting your craft in your chosen professional field? Do you regularly attend training sessions? Network with others to learn best practices? Are YOU going to practice in your career? It might not be on a ball diamond, but it could be in front of your computer for a webinar, by reading a great book on leadership, or by attending a conference.
#3—If you’re passionate about sports, perhaps join a rec ball league.
Maybe your sports career didn’t end the way you wanted it to end. Maybe you didn’t get the coveted scholarship to the Division I school. Who cares at this point? You have your degree, and you have a successful career. Go have fun, remember your passion for the game, and take some of the focus off your kids.
There’s a saying: “A happy wife is a happy home.” Perhaps focusing on your own success as opposed to your child’s will help everyone be happier . . . and allow everyone to continue to have love for the game.