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It’s hard to watch someone else take on the leading role in our kids’ lives. When we drop our kids off at school, we give their teachers permission to discipline, mentor, and teach them. When we send them to Grandma’s, we give them permission to spoil and parent our kids. And, when we sign them up, or they are old enough to try out for sports, we relinquish control and pass the baton to the coaches.

It sounds simple, even peaceful. We are moms, we need a break sometimes. For someone else to take over for just a moment sounds relaxing. But for some reason, it’s never as peaceful as it sounds. We drop our kids off at school and wonder if they remembered their homework, if the quarrel from last night is affecting them today, if they are talking back to their teacher the way they do us. We have all of these anxieties--because we’re moms. And mommin’ never stops. It doesn’t stop just because our kids aren’t in our immediate care. So it’s no surprise that when we see our kids on the field during practices and games, we want to be involved.

Unfortunately, our involvement during the game can be disruptive, demeaning, and disrespectful to the coaches we have entrusted our kids to. To help establish respect among parents and coaches, there are some ground rules that need to be in place.

When parents drop their kids off at practice and never meet the coaches, there’s no relationship between the parents and the coaches. To trust that the coach is capable, fair, and committed, you have to establish a relationship. Take the time to meet your kids’ coaches and get to know them. Stick around for a couple of practices and learn their teaching methods. Talk to them about your athlete and ask about their progress and things to be working on at home.

In other words, get invested. When you’re not invested and then show up at the game yelling at your kid to do this, it doesn’t show respect for the coach.

In the same way, it’s important for coaches to check in with parents. Many times coaches are volunteering their time but some are paid like in select leagues and school sports. If they have a concern about ability, attitude or mental health of a player, contacting parents should be the next step.

Having empathy for one another helps coaches and parents build a unique bond that is rooted in the well-being of a child.