Whether it’s helping out at the gym, setting up a carpool, or helping to run a meet – I’m sure of one thing: parents love to be involved in their child’s gymnastic activities. But there comes a point when you have to let your child experience the sport on their own. While being involved is a great thing, being over-involved is not. Here are some helpful advice I can give to all parents out there.
Your child will naturally and independently develop relationships between them and fellow athletes and coaches. It’s important that you let your child explore these without unreasonably altering them. Let them learn through interacting with other people. Try to remain the “support mechanism” for your child – be there to ensure they are learning the right lessons and that they are enjoying themselves.
Teach your child to deal with situations head on, resolve them, and share them later to you. Rather than expecting you to to fix their problem every time, they’ll be able to practice their judgment so they can make better decisions in the future.
Avoid becoming your child’s spokesperson. Let their voice be heard – it’s a great way for them to assert independence that will be crucial someday!
Be your child’s number one supporter but know that the sport belongs to them. Many parents blur the lines between supporting their child’s career and controlling it.
Practice with them at home. It’s a fantastic way to bond together as well make them work on their skills. You can even give them feedback on what you think they are doing well or can improve on.
Make sure that you believe in the program you chose for your child. You wouldn’t sign your child up for a math program, only to confuse them by saying that things aren’t being taught correctly. Similarly, at your gym, you have chosen a program for a reason. You owe it to them to trust their methods. It is important that you fully understand their approach. If you find yourself doubting your child’s program, you should evaluate it and decide if it is indeed a perfect fit for you and your child.
Celebrate their successes — and even failures. Show them that whether they won a meet or placed 3rd, you recognize their efforts. You must recognize successes, in every form, not just in blue ribbons and gold medals.
A good competitive environment will teach your athlete that first place finishes and trophies are byproducts of effort and commitment. A Winning Parent should echo this sentiment!