Recently surfacing in the news is the social commentary on the ebb and flow of parenting trends. “Narcissistic Parenting” as it is being called, is an affliction on constructive communities, and an embarrassing example of poor parenting behavior.
“This generation’s take on parenting—overbearing, enabling, overindulgent—is a pendulum swing in the opposite direction from the way they were parented,” says Dr. Robin Berman, associate professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Permission to Parent: How to Raise Your Child with Love and Limits.
The impressive article, titled “The Legacy of the Narcissistic Parent,” continues: “narcissism—whether intentional or non—interferes with healthy parenting, steals from your children’s experiences and takes an emotional toll that is often only repairable later on with a healthy dose of elbow grease and therapy.”
Media prevalence of this phenomenon is explained by its plain rise in everyday households—especially when it comes to youth sports. We live in a world where having a child who is a ‘winner’ can eclipse what’s best for the family.
Fear of becoming a self-involved parent is understandable. Parents occasionally cling to living vicariously through their children, seeing their success in athletics as a reflection of their own success in life. In an effort to avoid this, many parents will forsake their own involvement in their child’s sports teams. The truth is, we shouldn’t shy away from youth sports out of fear! The simple solution is to learn these 9 ways to be an awesome youth sports parent:
1. Take the focus off winning: Instead, focus on life lessons. Counting your child’s wins and losses? Turn to counting on instilling solid social values that will help them long into adulthood instead, such as teamwork, tenacity, and goal setting.
2. Allow your child to choose their own sport: Just because you envision your child in a Stampeders jersey doesn’t mean they’re going to find their passion in football. Let your child experiment, and discover the sport they feel happiest participating in.
3. Find the right coach: Coaches who exhibit strong values and positivity can help keep your child interested in physical activity. Look for someone with a passion for helping kids in a constructive way, and step back to let them work.
4. Volunteer to help the team: Spending time with all of the players on your child’s team will help you visualize them for what they really are: kids. Get to know their names, favorite sport-time snacks and little quirks. You’ll quickly feel your grip on competition ease.
5. Stop the comparison game: Every child is different, and has their own personal strengths and weaknesses. Make it your mission to show your child love no matter how they stack up to their peers.
6. Commit to Hockey Canada’s Shared Respect mission: The safety of the participants in the game is more important than the final score.
- I value the contribution of the coach in developing the players’ talents, even though I may not always agree with their methods.I understand that officials do not make the hockey rules, they only apply them.
- I understand that children learn from adults, and my behavior reflects what I want children to learn.
- I understand that officials are responsible to ensure that the game is played in a safe and fair manner for all participants.
- I understand that players, coaches and officials are learning the game, and mistakes will be made in the learning process.
- I may not cheer for the opposition team, but I will also not cheer against them or verbally abuse them.
- I understand that the biggest reason for players and officials quitting the game is abuse.
7. Never associate your child’s success with your own: Narcissistic parents put their personal feelings before their child’s. This is never healthy and will only cause tension and resentment down the line. Continue to find your own happiness while enabling your child to do the same.
8. Value your child no matter what: Win or lose, the way you speak to your child at the end of the game should always be uplifting, supportive, and helpful. Never treat them differently because they did not meet your expectations. Their value as a person is not tied to their performance in a sport.
9. Never yell: Whatever you do, never, ever yell at your child during a practice or game. You don’t want to end up as a sideline horror story.
GetAssist is a huge supporter of youth sports. Connecting your child’s team (coaches, parents, and kids) in a FREE GetAssist sports community is a fantastic first step. Not only can you develop strong sports parenting behavior, you can help our community’s children develop a love for the game!