My two sons played sports from T-ball all the way through High School. It was a great period in our lives and I absolutely loved it. I still cherish those days and the memories the hold for me.
However, I wasn’t always at my best standing on the sidelines or behind the dugout. I would be barking out instructions, telling them what to do, like they were playing in the major leagues. Sure, I was trying to help, but here I am giving them all these ridiculous instructions and they don’t even have a clue as to what I am saying. They are just kids and I’m ruining all the fun. Ugh!
I HAVE BEEN FRUSTRATED AT MYSELF MORE THAN ONCE FOR OVER-PARENTING.
Finally, about halfway through their sports careers I decided to do something smart – pull back a little and quit micro managing. If my son(s) steals the base, recovers the fumble, makes the shot, catches the pass, hit’s a homer, strikes out, gets yelled at by the coach, or trips and falls while rounding second base…. he’s on his own (for the most part). I’m just going to let him experience the victories and disappointments as they happen on the field. It prepares him for life.
It prepares me too.
Many of us love our kids so much that we over-parent. We get too involved in the details. However, this can stifle our children. My boys already knew what I needed to do: get out of the (their) way.
But that is a hard thing to do. I want to help. I want to protect them. However, many times they have already figured out the solution. My boys need me to love them unconditionally, and, at the same time, allow them navigate their own lives.
The fact is, our children come into their own when they are ready. Some are late bloomers, and some just need time to figure things out.
Parents, enjoy your children without panicking. Challenge them? Of course. Help them? Absolutely. But in the process of being Dad or Mom, allow their unique personality and sense of discovery to emerge naturally.
They just might surprise you.