October 4 to 10 is Parents in Sport Week! Active for Life celebrates all the parents who make community sport and physical activity happen for kids. Last year, I shared thoughts on my own parents and their impact on my life when it came to sport. This year, I’m celebrating #SportParents by hearing from parents on what the best part and the most challenging part of being a sports parent. I reached out to sport parents in my life and on social media to hear what they had to say.
The Best Part of Being a Sports Parent
Sport parents love watching their kids experience joy and fun through sport. They enjoy hearing their laughter and seeing their eyes sparkle.
Parents enjoy supporting their kids through the ups and downs of sport. They like seeing how excited their kids get when they succeed at something, like getting a move right, scoring a point, or mastering a skill. But they also appreciate seeing their child working hard and experiencing the adversity that sport offers.
The third thing that sports parents shared was that they like seeing their children make new friends and new connections through sport. They, too, like to connect with other parents and cheer for their kids as well.
The Most Challenging Part of Being a Sports Parent
Parents identified that a challenging part of being a sports parent is not mixing their goals for their child up with their child’s participation goals. To allow their children to have their own sport experience, not one that’s influenced by what their parent wants for them.
The second most challenging parts of being a sports parent is the logistics of sport participation. That includes getting kids to sports while balancing their work, meals, homework, and other activities. This is especially hard when there is more than one child participating in sport. It also includes the finances required to participate in sport, and the time and cost of driving to sports.
The third most challenging part of being a parent, according to the parents I talked to, is managing negative dynamics around participation. The mom above references the emphasis on winning over fun and skill development. Other parents referenced toxic cultures of blaming, bullying, and exclusion. Navigating these dynamics and protecting their children from these behaviours was challenging.
Celebrating Sports Parents
To sports parents: thank you for sharing. Thanks for helping your kids create and live their goals and dreams. To experience joy, share laughter, and have fun. Thanks for cheering for kids and lifting their spirits when they are done. Happy Parents in Sport Week to you! #PISW #SportsParents