“Is winning more important to you or your kid?”
For years, parents have lived vicariously through their children in all facets of life. But nowhere have parents beat their children to be the next best thing as they have with sports. Every Saturday throughout the year parents line grassy sidelines or indoors in the bleachers for sporting events. Not to watch professionally, but to see their child/children compete against others in their respective age group. For the most part you’ll see the parents who show up and watch, cheering on their kid competing. After the game, the entire family goes out to eat. Now on the other hand, you have those out of control parents. The ones who live their dreams through their child/children.
Growing up, I played sports: football, track & field, volleyball, and basketball. My mother was the average parent, just happy to see me out there having fun. And I was a standout athlete, yet she never pushed me to the point of it being excessive. Her main goal was me performing well in school not athletics. But for other parents, a child competing in sports is their outlet. Especially if the parent was an athlete themselves growing up and didn’t make it professionally. They see something in their child/children; an opportunity to live out their dreams through them. Well why live out your dreams through a kid?
For men, we have a son and live out our dreams through him because for whatever reason we feel we didn’t make it in the pros, so let’s push him. For example, a man could have gotten the mother of his child pregnant at a young age forcing him to raise his son. He sees the skill in his son he once had, now he wants to live vicariously through his son. Even going far as to not allowing his son to date so his son won’t get a woman pregnant like him. Everything that kept this man from excelling, now his son almost has to be pushed for that. Another reason men push their sons could be an injury he sustained, now his son must work overtime physically to be an athlete to avoid injury.
Now moms can also be this way. But moms are usually this way with their daughters. Sports moms can be just as intense with their kids as dads. An example is a little girl joins the soccer team, and mom is running the sidelines yelling at referees for not making calls. Or teaching her daughter to show no mercy toward the other little girls; stepping on them to get what she wants. But is it really what your daughter want out of life. No, it’s what mom wants, and the daughter has to suffer. Mom was never a talent so the little girl can’t have a life on the account of mom never reaching her own full potential.
So how does this effect the child/children. Well, for starters, it makes the child resentful toward their parent/s. And if that kid does perform well enough that they become professionals, they may carry disdain for their parent or it could work itself out. For instance Venus and Serena Williams were pushed hard to perform well by their father in tennis and have gone on to become two of the greatest tennis players in history; as well as some the greatest athletes in history. But behind the scenes what was the real relationship between father and daughters. That is something the general population never sees. We see the fame and the money, but not the relationships. Even the singing group the Beach Boys had a turbulent time with their father. We look and think, hey the Beach Boys were these happy go lucky guys, until you find out their true story.
But in the end, you’ll always have these type of parents. Parents who not only want their children to excel, but be something they’ve always wanted to be. Some children even grow up and refuse to allow their children to take part in sports because of their traumatic experiences. My advice is push your kids to be great, but there is a fine line between pushing them to be great and trying to force them to be something you were never able to accomplish.