Belief empowers your child. I’ve seen this first hand in each of my 3 kids, who played sports from when they were very small through college.
However, it’s one thing to believe, and it’s quite another to be blinded. Belief means you truly think your children can do what they set out to do because you’ve seen how hard they’ve worked and you know how badly they want success. Sometimes believing in your child goes against your “realistic” assumptions. And sometimes believing in your child means keeping those assumptions to your self.
Being blinded, on the other hand, means you just aren’t seeing the facts. You continue to hang on to something that isn’t there. Unfortunately, many sports parents do that. A recent Washington Post article cited a report by Health in America stating that 26 percent of parents of high school athletes hope their kids go on to play professional sports.
So how exactly will you know if you are overestimating your child’s athletic abilities? Consider these signs:
- Your child is always struggling and rarely improving. If this is the case, it doesn’t mean that your child shouldn’t play sports; it just means that playing sports in college – or even high school – is probably not in the future for your little athlete. To get a clear picture of your child’s progress, try measuring their improvement in tangible ways rather than your optimistic perceptions.
- You and your child’s coaches don’t agree on your child’s ability. One coach’s opinion may be a mere disagreement, but when two or three or a whole bunch of coaches conclude that your child doesn’t have the athletic ability to play a certain position or even to make a team, it’s because they see something that you don’t see.
- Friends and family don’t agree with you either. If your child does possess talent, others will notice it too and will bring it up without you saying a word. If you begin to notice that you’re the only one talking about how good your child is in sports, you might want to take a reality check.
- Teammates don’t see your child’s skills. If your child is a skilled athlete, his teammates will most likely acknowledge it. Even opponents will recognize when another athlete has mad skills.
If you see these signs, it may be time to admit that your child is not as skilled as you want him or her to be. However, never stop believing that your children can improve, experience success and overcome things that may hold them back.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks. She authored the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series and has recently launched a podcasting series for sports parents. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.