What is it about your child’s sport that stresses you? Do you worry he will not play well or get injured? Are there too many demands on your time? Do you hate listening to overprotective and whining parents?
Even if you’re not a worrier like me, you probably will not be totally free of sports parent stress. But there are ways to handle it.
Find a safe place to vent
Choose one person—husband, friend, sister, parent—who can listen without feeding your frustration. That one person should not be your child.
Face your fears
What are you afraid of and what is the worst that could happen? For instance, if you worry about your child being injured, what’s the worst that could happen? He might miss a few games? Or his season could end? These things are disappointing, but if he loves the sport, he will be back. Sometimes, looking ahead to the worst and thinking about how we would deal with it, helps us face today with more confidence.
Give your kid credit
Parents probably worry more about their kids’ frustrations than kids do. Kids are tougher than we think. Maybe they can fight the battle without you wielding the sword for them. Often, when you do not let them resolve the issue in their own way, you rob them of a chance for character growth
Learn to say No every time you say Yes
Is your life busy now? If so, how can you possibly take on more without adding stress? Learn to exchange every yes for a no. For every new task or responsibility you take one, let one go.
Avoid the craziness
If it’s over-the-top parents that add stress to your life, avoid them. If it’s obnoxious spectators that make your blood boil, move your seat. If you can’t stand the coach, practiced detached cordiality (you don’t have to be his best friend, but you don’t have to be an enemy either).
Sometimes it’s just better to step back from the fray and let the chaos continue without you.
And then there’s the usual ways to deal with stress: breathe deep, step back, look and the big picture. Remember, youth sports should be enjoyable not just for the kids, but for you too.
Janis B. Meredith writes a sportsparenting blog, http://jbmthinks.com. She’s been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.