Ever see your neighbor post great pictures of their kids winning a trophy on Instagram. The next day there’s a post on Facebook showing how they made breakfast in bed for their mom including homemade chocolate chip cookies and Starbucks coffee. How does it make you feel?
Well I remember struggling to get my kids out the door to practice, settling fights over who got the last cookie (and they weren’t homemade… at least not in my house!), and trying to make sure they brushed their teeth. It was hard not to wonder if I was doing something wrong and wish I had “perfect” kids like they did.
Sometimes we question our parenting when we perceive other families thriving. Did I put them in the right sport? Why don’t my kids act like theirs? Maybe I should have home schooled?
With respect to sports, our kids go through seasons. There is a season for winning and a season for losing. In fact there will be several seasons for each. And a season doesn’t just mean one winter or summer. Often the most successful athletes are the ones that are late bloomers. They just need to figure out what to do first and then all of a sudden they take off. Even elite athletes reach plateaus and it’s perfectly fine and to be expected. Remember that their improvement and success does not define who they are as a person. Only their creator has the right to do that.
We remind our kids not to compare themselves to Jimmy who is dribbling through the entire opposing team. We encourage them about what really important and tell them to keep trying. But it’s very difficult for us not to compare our children with how others are performing. The best way to move beyond this is to appreciate and encourage every player on your child’s team. When you can foster a culture of encouragement, everyone wins. Especially your child because he/she learns the value of being part of a team. I have seen that when a positive culture is present in a team the improvement in playing level for every player is exponential. Not only that, but you will neutralize and competitive parenting on the sidelines. Parents that no longer feel the necessity to compete against others become great contributors to the team and you’ll have fun and a successful season together.
Finally, there are no trophies for maintaining great relationships with your kids. If you remember back when you were young, the trophies are hard to remember. But the moments they had with you and the memories of seeing you sitting on the sidelines in the pouring rain watching them play go deep into their hearts. Enjoy and love them for who they are as unique individuals. There WILL be seasons when they bring home a trophy or have a personal success with something. Then you can post it on Facebook to celebrate and share the happiness.
a parent who gave her best