Monthly Archives: September 2017

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

provided by Parenting Power

P84_smallIt’s that time of year, school has started and all of the extra-curricular activities are back on the calendar. Auditions, evaluations, practices…they add to the excitement and education in the lives of our families!

Are you a Soccer Parent, Dance Mom or Hockey Dad?

Lately, social media and marketers have begun labeling parents as Sports Parents. Labels are often easy to slip on – they can add a feeling of belonging. At the same time, these labels can add a lot of pressure for kids. If you have ever labeled yourself a Sport Parent, what you really are is a parent who has a child that is participating in a sport.

In his article, What is the Role of Parents in Youth Sports?, Micheal McArdle says,

“Sport is what we do, it is not who we are.”

The same goes for band, or choir, piano or dance, math or Rubik’s cube. Our kids do these activities, our kids are just kids. At the same time, we are the parents of these kids. It is not about us. Labels make it more about us.

Our job as parents is to love and support our kids as they participate in the activities. We are not there as coaches – and if a parent is the coach, the coaching job takes place at the event, not in the car on the way there, on the way home and all through the week until the next practice.

Kids feel a ton of pressure, embarrassment and frustration when parents overstep their level of involvement in an activity. Your child may not be able to tell you about these feelings. We’ve included a fabulous video below in which kids of all ages tell us what they need from their parents. It’s about kids and sports and it really does transfer to all activities.

Many sports organizations across Canada require families to take the Respect in Sport course. While this program contains valuable information, taking the course alone will not change your behaviour. That’s your job!

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I make my kids’ activities about me?
  • Am I stressed out about what team or level my child will make this year?
  • What level of awareness can I bring to my pre/post game/performance behaviour?
  • Can I plan my words before I go and watch? What will I say? What will I do? What won’t I say and do?

Kids want our love, support and help. Let their coaches/teachers guide their performance. Enjoy watching them play. It’s what they do, not who they are.

3 Steps to School

By Parenting Power

You know it’s coming…

If you listen very carefully, you can hear the opening notes of the theme from Jaws playing in the back of your mind. Da…da. Da….da. Da.da.Da.da. Dadadada.  The notes are getting closer together! The tension builds. The shark is about to strike!

School is almost here.
That means that this is the time to start having those conversations. You know the ones we mean: sleep, homework, guitar practice, chores, etc….

The good news? There is always enough time for these conversations and planning them now means that you are setting everyone up for success.

Step One
Have these conversations with yourself first. Figure out exactly what you expect. Talk with your co-parent and get the adults on the same page. Know what is the most important to your family and where you are going to focus your energies.

Step Two
Call a family meeting (or meet one on one with each of your kids) and get started.

Don’t do all the talking. Be prepared to listen as well. Share the agenda and get your family working on what’s important. If it is important to you, you will stick to your plan and follow through.

Step Three
Pick a topic and follow one of the following agendas (or build your own)

Example 1.

Topic: Sleep

Parent: When we see you missing out on sleep, we feel frustrated because it is a struggle to get you out of bed the next morning.
Child: When you nag me to go to bed all the time, I feel like you are bossing me around and I should get to stay up later now.
Parent: What we know for sure is that you are meant to be getting 9 hours of sleep each night. How can you make that happen? Maybe we can change when you wake up? Maybe we can give you a bit more free time before bedtime?

Family works together to brainstorm ideas and find the right one.

WRITE IT DOWN – know all the details: What time is each step happening? Who’s in charge of it? What will the parents say as a cue? What are the consequences?

Example 2:

Topic: Chores

Agenda: What’s working? What’s not? How do we make it better?

Parent: Getting garbage out has been working really well. Thanks for making that happen every week. The frustrating part is that I go to throw out my garbage and no one has replaced the bag in the bin. How do we fix that?
Child: Well, if I have to get the garbage from all over the house, and get it outside, it would be nice if someone else can get a new bag? Is anyone willing to help me?

Family works together to brainstorm ideas and find the right one.

WRITE IT DOWN – know all the details: What time is each step happening? Who’s in charge of it? What will the parents say as a cue? What are the consequences?

It doesn’t have to be one big long meeting. Some families love a weekly meeting, other families only meet when there is an issue. Figure out what works for your family and get it happening. These rituals help our kids feel involved and that family life is predictable. It helps them to feel like they have power (the ability to effect change.) It does not leave them feeling nagged or helpless.

This week, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the key areas we need to discuss before school starts?
  • How much sleep does my child need? (see below)
  • Does my child get to go to extra-curricular activities if she isn’t showing effort for school?
  • Does my child get to work outside of the home when he doesn’t meet the responsibilities inside the home?
  • What will we tell our kids about screen time for this fall?
  • Will we follow through?

Julie and Gail are the co-founders of Parenting Power and the co-authors of A YEAR of Intentional