Courtesy: Elizabeth Wickham
There are too many stories about parents yelling at officials and coaches and being way over the top. Two recent examples are the brawl between parents at a Denver Little League baseball game and the number one helicopter parent LaVar Ball. He’s made himself into a modern day legend by interfering with his basketball star sons. Those are the exceptions. Most of us are pretty boring, reasonable and downright helpful.
Parenting has changed from the days we grew up when our parents had no clue most of the time where we were. Today, we’re driving our kids to swim practices six days a week, sometimes twice a day, paying for private lessons, expensive suits and hotels for meets. Our kids may be in more than one extracurricular activity, too. We are more interested in our children’s paths to success than many of our parents were. Many coaches say they’ve seen a big change during their careers in how parents act and consequently we get a bad name. Some view parents as their biggest problem.
But, we are not the enemy. We may parent differently than generations before us, but we do it from a place of love and concern. With recent stories like the former Canyons Coach and other sexual predators in the news, it’s important that we stay involved. If we have a creepy feeling about a coach or individual, it’s up to us to be vigilant and ensure that our kids are not harmed.
Here are seven ways to let everyone know we’re not the enemy, but instead are a valuable member of the team:
Don’t be a LaVar Ball type. Don’t throw punches at other parents or yell at coaches. It’s pretty obvious stuff.
When there’s an issue, schedule a meeting to discuss it with the appropriate person, whether it’s a coach or board member.
Volunteer when you can. Be dependable and do a little extra.
Leave coaching up to the coach and be a supportive, loving parent.
Be involved and know the families and swimmers on your team. Don’t focus solely on your own child.
Be supportive of the team’s finances and participate in fundraisers. Offer ideas and volunteer to spearhead them, too.
It’s hard not to overreact when our children are involved, but try to leave emotions off the deck. If it’s not a safety issue, take time to breathe before approaching a parent or coach.
How do you let your team know you’re there to help and are not the enemy?