Your child wants to play a sport. There is a need for a coach. You have the time, you have the dedication, and perhaps the skills or even passion for doing this.
However, particularly the older kids get, there are fewer pros and more cons to being involved in their activities. Before jumping in with both feet, it is essential to weigh out the positives and negatives. Should you coach your kid’s team?
The Benefits of Being Involved in Your Child’s Life
Whether or not they are willing to admit it, most kids are proud to have their parents be willing to be involved in their lives. Particularly in a situation where they would not get to play if there was no coach, stepping up to give everyone that opportunity can gain a lot of points with them.
When done with the right intentions, signed off on by both parties, as well as done well, being your child’s coach can improve your relationship with your child. There is the time spent with them, the supportive words from someone who is both their parent and their coach, and simply being there for them. Celebrating the positives and negatives of sports together can make memories for a lifetime.
Being Able to Separate Parenting and Coaching
One of the most challenging things for both parents and children is the ability to separate parenting and coaching. Can you, as a parent, be objective and treat them the same as their teammates? Or not overcompensate? Can the other kids and their parents see you as objective toward your child and not accuse you of favoritism?
Most importantly, can your child separate you as a parent from you as a coach? Will they be embarrassed or feel doubly penalized if you have to discipline them as both a coach and parent in front of others? Will they stay angry at you at home for the decisions that you make in the game?
All of these are essential questions to answer before embarking on this adventure together.
Asking Permission Before You Volunteer
You should always ask your child before you volunteer. Before you ask them, though, ask yourself the following questions and take the time to answer them honestly:
- Does your child want you to coach their team?
- How will this affect my relationship with my child?
- Will this affect my child’s relationship with their friends?
- How does this impact my relationship with my child’s friends?
- Will this impact my relationship with the parents of other children/my current friends?
Who Is This For, Really?
The most important person’s opinion on whether or not you should coach their team is your child’s. Sit down and have an honest conversation or seven about how this could impact their life and be sure that this is something they want.
Then ask yourself: are you actually doing this for them? Or is this for you? What are your motivations in choosing to coach your own child? Is this about the sport, about some unfulfilled dream of yours, or about righting a wrong from your childhood?
Sometimes parents of children who have struggles or who have struggled as a parent will volunteer to coach in an effort to compensate for lost time together. In these situations, there may be a better way to heal.
Choosing Other Ways to Be Involved
Sometimes, especially if coaches are truly needed, it may be wise to volunteer to coach another team and have another parent coach your own child’s team, ideally not competing against one another. Or simply let other people do the coaching and find other ways to make a difference and be involved in your child’s life.
Schools are almost always looking for parent volunteers, and it does not need to be in your child’s classroom. You can be an invisible hero to them, helping their life in a quiet way that does not risk embarrassment or conflict for them. You can volunteer behind the scenes in any of their activities as a way to show you care.
You don’t even have to volunteer in an organization; you can just spend time with your child. Investing time in their hobby, teaching them new skills, and creating happy memories for them are tangible ways to let them know you love them. The two most important things you can do for your child, though, are to simply be there for them when they need you and to listen rather than lecture. Particularly when their lives become complicated, they need a parent so much more than they need a coach.
Should you coach your kid’s team? That is a question that the two of you need to answer. Prioritizing their answer first and honestly asking yourself all of the right questions about your motivations, expectations, and possible outcomes, you can make the best decision for both you and your child. Sometimes your child needs a parent so much more than they need a coach. At Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center, we teach parents to be parents. We offer endless resources for parents to help you be the best parent for your child who is struggling. When we treat kids for behavioral issues related to any type of addiction, mental illness, cutting, anger issues, family conflicts, or more, we help families to heal, too. At our Estes Park, Colorado facility, we help families move beyond their current situation to heal together. Call Fire Mountain today at (303) 443-3343 to learn more about our programs.