Supporting Your Kids From the Sidelines
As a daddy to six kids, with one more on the way, I’ve experienced my fair share of school and rec-sponsored sports throughout the years. And I know as well as any parent, supporting your child from the sidelines is often times easier said than done.
I’ve compiled a few do’s and don’ts that will help ensure your child feels supported and encouraged, while avoiding stepping on anybody’s toes.
DO: Support your child no matter what.
Not every kid is an athlete, and your children will each differ in various areas of success. With that being said, it’s extremely important to support your child no matter what. If they want to play soccer because it’s fun, but their coordination is less than the average, you should still support them. After the game, focus on the positive, and don’t bring up anything negative. Always say, “you did great!” and encourage them to just do their best.
DON’T: Yell at other parents.
We all know the parent on the sideline shouting at other parents. Trust me when I say – you don’t want to be that guy. If you’re feeling upset over something that is going on, handle it like an adult; take a deep breath, and if necessary walk away or relocate to another spot on the sidelines. Your child will not appreciate you screaming at someone else’s dad. It’s embarrassing, and it takes away from their big day.
DO: Pay attention.
When you decide to attend your child’s sporting event leave your laptop, briefcase and files in the car. Give your child your full attention, so when they look up at you after fumbling the ball you can give them a gesture of encouragement, and they won’t see you distracted with work. You certainly wouldn’t want to miss your child making the winning move, so be present and pay attention from the sidelines.
DON’T: Disrespect the referee.
I’ve seen it a lot: the referee makes a questionable call, and a parent flips-his-lid; it’s just not helpful. An important lesson for every child is that people sometimes make mistakes and see things differently. Keep in mind this is peewee baseball and not the major leagues. Let the referee do what he thinks is right, and leave the rest up to the coach. Often times, the coach will also disagree with the referee’s call, and he will handle it appropriately. Once the final call has been made; however, don’t scream and yell at the referee – just accept it and support and encourage your child.
Being a parent on the sidelines can be a blast. I have always enjoyed watching my kids be part of a team and try hard to excel at sports. Enjoy being a sideline parent, and making memories that will last forever.
Daddy Nickell, father of 6, founder of Daddyscrubs.com and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog