Kids & extracurricular activities. Since summer has ended and school has started back, that likely means that your kids will be or have started extracurricular activities. It is a parent’s instinct to ease their fears. We want to be sure that the coaches or group leaders understand and know our children’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s only natural that we want our kids to succeed and for all involved to help them along the way.
In this week’s blog we look at what we can do, as parents, to help. But also, what we should avoid. Even if it goes against what feels right. Waters Edge Counseling is here to help you figure out this tricky tight rope that we walk as parents.
Kids & Extracurricular Activities
Our impulse, as parents, is to give what amounts to an “information dump” about our children. This doesn’t only happen with athletic teams but also with theatre, dance, art, etc.
This isn’t unique to any particular parent. Parents frequently want to let the group leader know just how much their child loves this particular sport or activity. We want to mention the teams they’ve been on or the classes they’ve taken. We want to point out their individual strengths.
The latest generations of parents, in particular, want to protect our children. Protect their egos, self-confidence. But is that really in their best interest?
So, what is the right approach?
The best way to serve our children is by allowing them to find their place organically. This means without our misguided efforts to accelerate it. Our urge to arrange things can actually draw negative attention. Even at its best, it’s doubtful to yield desirable results. Nothing we can say will get him more playing time, a better position or help the coach or leader see how much they love the sport or activity and to help them learn teamwork. Leaders and coaches base those decisions on their own evaluations and relationship with the child.
It is a “Show” not “Tell” Situation
Our children’s skill, commitment, attitude and kindness will be much more powerful and persuasive than the most detailed résumé or recommendation. There is something empowering about trusting your child’s talent and work to speak for itself. It is also much better than potentially overselling their talents.
Put Trust in the Coach or Leader
A leader’s job is to evaluate. Deciding where a child fits is the essence of a leader’s job. They will most likely not welcome intrusion, especially from someone they don’t know. They love to discover talent. It’s an exciting part of their job. Let this happen organically.
Hard work and a positive attitude will help your child stand out on their own. Leaders very quickly notice people who respond to demands, follow rules, and do extra preparation. They also notice who helps others.
Leaders and coaches see who brings positive energy. They also perceive which parents read emails, pay attention to requests, and are engaged and there for their children. If you follow proper procedure and don’t ask for exceptions, it can make a big difference.
There may be a case that you are asked to provide some kind of résumé or history. That is completely appropriate. Otherwise, do not talk about your former organization. This strategy can seem both narrow-minded and patronizing. And this can potentially alienate those in your group.
You Need to Trust the Process
In reality, your child has already developed skills, made relationships and built their current identity in their chosen activity themselves. This happens one practice, one performance, and one lesson at a time. Your child’s choices, commitment and talent have allowed it to happen at some point. The same thing can happen again.
What if you need support?
Waters Edge Counseling has therapists with much experience helping parents and children navigate these difficult circumstances. Please give us a call at 912.319.5552 or email us at [email protected] if you and/or your child are struggling. We are here to help.