Chances are, we’ve all experienced or seen parents who have caused a disruption at their child’s sporting event. But there are many good reasons why parents should strive to stay in the background when it comes to their children’s athletic endeavors.
“If you’re negatively reinforcing or negatively supporting then that’s going to have negative results in athletics,” said Dr. Scott Burkhart, a neuropsychologist at the Children’s Health Andrews Institute.
Dr. Burkhart says there is plenty of research showing that how you act as a parent has consequences for your child.
“It's not a matter of wins and losses up to a certain point,” he said. “It's how the child perceives their parents' support."
In fact, if you want your child to succeed, take a step back. Studies show that when parents pressure children to perform or don't positively encourage them it can lead to anxiety, lack of motivation and disinterest.
"I want them to remember their successes, their accomplishments, what they achieved. I don't want them remembering mommy throwing a tantrum,” said parent Meghan Dorr, whose daughters participate in gymnastics.
Take babies, for example, they are terrible at talking. But they do it anyway without fear of failure because that is how they learn.
Parents don't get upset when their baby can't form complete sentences and the same should be true in sports: be happy for your child, no matter the outcome.
Besides, pushing your kid to be a winner is almost pointless.
Research shows children can't comprehend the concept of winning and losing until they're about 10 years old.
“The idea of a championship or a playoff game before 10 or 11 really defeats the purpose because kids just don't get it," Burkhart said.
How parents handle themselves at a child's sporting event can shape the rest of his or her life. Positive encouragement and behavior will stick with them, no matter what they choose to do in life.
But if that choice is sports, the best thing to remember is it's always about them.
"It is not for me, it is all for her. She absolutely loves it," said parent Mandy Rawls.
By following these suggestions it doesn't mean your child will be the next LeBron James, but it does mean, that no matter what they choose to do in life, they will at least have the tools to be a star.
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