Part of the joy of being a parent is attending our kids’ events, whether it be sports or the arts. Seeing your child on the stage or on the field makes one’s heart fill with pride. When a child knows a parent is there to watch, it can boost their confidence most of the time. We, as parents, need to remember how our actions and reactions can affect performance.
The key is to enjoy the experience, even if they drop the ball, pick flowers in the outfield or are a few steps behind in the dance. Don’t be that parent that shows their frustration in shouting or frowns. Be that parent that smiles and shouts encouragement. It’s worth remembering that every child progresses differently when it comes to athletic ability. You are lucky to have that soccer phenom at age 9, but another child may not be a good player until their teens. It’s natural for parents to identify with their child’s performance and, maybe, take it personally when negative things happen.
It’s good to anticipate a few bad days and how you will react. If your child plays a sport long enough, you can anticipate the coach yelling at your child or not playing him or her as much as you would like. Your child is going to make a mistake, maybe even one that affects the outcome of the game. You will see the game differently from the referee. You will encounter parents that will get under your skin with annoying comments--maybe even about your child.
Choose wisely where to sit for a game. Sit where you feel comfortable. Avoid gossipy parents or loud fans from the other team. If things get touchy, practice self-restraint. Kids will glance up to watch their parents. They do look for approval and if they can hear you yelling at the ref, coach or at them, it will affect their play.
After all, the game is not life or death, it’s an opportunity to watch your child doing what they like. They know when they have messed up, just like they know when they have done something great. Offer positive comments and enjoy the journey.