I’ve found that most people avoid the deep, uncomfortable conversations. Why? It seems like a great short term strategy to be comfortable and “keep the peace”, which it is.
BUT it is actually a long-term plan to be m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e. And in this case, for your son or daughter to be miserable.
This one might stir up a little controversy with some parents...but it is ok because it’ll be worth the impact it has in your student-athlete’s life. Your challenge is at the end. EMBRACE THIS.
PRE-WORK: an important reminder before we dive into the meat and potatoes is that PEOPLE ARE WIRED DIFFERENTLY. We tend to see the same situation in dramatically different ways.
This is common sense, but not common understanding when we are in the heat of a disagreement. It seems like our brains shut down completely during disagreements and we forget that just because WE see something one way, that does NOT mean we are right.
And when you add in the fact that male and female brains are wired completely differently, it becomes even more unlikely that you and your spouse will ever see things the same way.
When it comes to the way you and your spouse view your children(s) sports life, do you see things differently?
I was talking to a mom last week about this. She said, “My husband pushes my daughter way too hard. He thinks she is going to be in the NBA or something.”
I know she meant WNBA. But I digress, let's continue..
As it relates to your children’s athletics, what do you do when your spouse believes one way is best for your child, and you believe something completely different?
The answer is→ you sit down, share what you believe and why, and then work to find a middle ground. In my experience, and I am not saying it is ALWAYS this way, but normally the dad is more on the aggressive side and the mom is on the more passive side. See below.
AGGRESSIVE SPORTS PARENT
Encourages athlete to play on multiple teams, year round, with very minimal breaks
Leans towards the side of quicker recovery from injuries, gotta get back on the field fast
Gives a ton of reminders to the athlete before games
Sends their child motivational quotes and nutrition reminders
Talks about the game the whole drive home
Is cool with driving home from club practice at 10 pm, doesn’t mind school work getting done last, as long as it gets done
Talks about getting recruited as early as middle school, registers on recruiting websites
Tends to be the "vocal one" at games
PASSIVE SPORTS PARENT
Let’s take a season off so they can have a life
Just let him/her have fun
Never really talks about sports in detail
Cheers during games whether or not he/she knows what is happening ;-)
Effort is what matters most
He/she is not going to practice until school work is done
You get the idea. And it is very rare the someone is ALL-IN on one side or the other. Most people have a combination.
The point is, you both see things differently.
Do you want to know what the TRUE MIDDLE GROUND IS!!!???
I know for a FACT that you both want what is best for your child.
So get to work. Talk through the differences in opinions. Share WHY you feel that way. But then HERE is the most important next step:
CHALLENGE: You MUST have a sit down meeting with your athlete and find out how they feel, what they want most, and then determine what they need from you and your spouse.
The pain of disagreement with your spouse in regards to your child’s athletics can be immense. HOWEVER, the perceived pain of having these inconvenient, uncomfortable conversations might be so great that it stops you from taking action and having them.
DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! Your child’s future joy AND success depends on you and your spouse, RIGHT NOW, finding a middle ground. Get over the fact that you do not think your spouse will listen or understand. Just sit his or her tail down and start talking.
Believe it or not, at PFP our coaches act almost as peer mediators. Why? Because it takes a village to raise a kid, and student-athletes come with even more challenges.
It is kind of funny when I think about it, but it works. I’ve personally been able to help dozens of parents get on the same page, or at least in the same chapter of their child’s sports life.
When your child is in our doors, we are constantly helping them with how they handle certain situations, one being their parents involvement in their sport. This is the “Mentor-Coach” part of what you pay for.
So many, unfortunately, overlook this area of athletic performance. The way a kid perceives their parents involvement has A LOT to do with how they feel before, during, and after games. And how an athlete feels will obviously dictate their performance.
Serving athletes, coaches, and parents,
Andrew and the PFP Team
P.S. We are launching our 12 Week Summer Athlete Thrive Program soon. Is your athlete planning on training? Email and let us know real quick so they can lock in their spot. We will be full this summer.
As convoluted as it sounds, you and your spouse finding a middle ground can and will drastically affect your child’s athletic performance and long-term joy and success in a massive, massive way.