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nope's avatar

How do you parent your young athlete?

Asked by nope (1804points) March 18th, 2010

I have kids who are involved in sports, and up until this year, things have gone so smoothly. This year, with the arrival of baseball season, all of a sudden I find myself with a tremendous number of conflicts: practices, games, even work…everything seems to be at the same time. As a father, I’ve always been the parent who tries to be at everything for my kids, and I can see clearly that it will be impossible this year. As an aside, I found out today that my ex-wife didn’t take my son to batting practice yesterday…for no particular reason.

I’m curious how other people have handled this, partly with regard to the scheduling, but more importantly from the aspect of parenting your kids. What do you tell your kids about the reality of the situation, how do you make them feel better that their parent won’t be there for them today? How do you teach them that their commitment to that team is important, even though it may appear that YOU don’t think so, today?

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13 Answers

Shae's avatar

My parents never came to a single thing I did in school. I came out fine.

charliecompany34's avatar

baseball schedules for school-age kids can be life-draining. you ahve to go to the practice and then show up at the game day that will suck up your whole saturday. for parents who are very active in their own extracurricular activities and weekend errands, sports for kids of parents who work and are very involved can set up major schedule conflicts.

you just have to juggle and roll with it. it aint easy, but investing time and money has never been easy. it pays off in the long run.

i tell my wife all the time, “i signed up for this.” (baby-making, marriage, etc.) now i gotta live out the contract i signed for.

cak's avatar

I’m lucky…now. When I take on a project, I’m self-employed, so I set my own schedule. However, in the days of juggling a “regular” office job, sports, scouts and any other activity…and homework…ugh! I did have a somewhat flexible boss; however, at the level I was at, leaving a lot wasn’t always an option – and I traveled, a lot. I used a lot of personal (vacation) time and didn’t leave for lunch. I came in early to get things done and sometimes worked on Saturday mornings or afternoons – whichever I needed to do to allow for the game/troop activity/ or whatever was going on. By Sunday evening, I was completely drained. I did that as a single mom, with my daughter. When I got married again, things got a lot easier – his boss was pretty flexible with him.

Still, it’s hard to juggle at times. You need to know how much flexibility you have with your job – without burdening co-workers. Also, consider asking someone to switch practice days with you. You attend one day, they attend the other – free up some time that way. I had to miss 2 games. I was on the west coast, at little hard to make it back to NC in time for the start of the game. Sometimes, it happens – just explain to your child that sometimes, it’s going to be a bit difficult.

mrrich724's avatar

I like what @Shae said. I wrestled as a kid and played football.

Leave it up to them, if it’s something they love to do, they will find a way to do it. If they don’t want to figure out their sport schedule, then they probably don’t care that much anyway. Kids have alot more time to be resourceful than us adults do! He can figure it out :)

BoBo1946's avatar

Sit down with the family and explain your situation. They will understand!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Sports schedules often seem to assume that everyone has a stay-at-home parent. Figure out which games you can make, and which ones you can drive carpool to, and stick to the commitment. Make sure your children aren’t overextended and are playing because they like it. Not having your parents there for every game is not a big deal if your parent comes for the end of the game, and comes when they say they are going to come. Me, missing the early part of the season was no big deal for my kids. I made sure I made the games at the end of the season, at least for the second half.

Cruiser's avatar

You lead by example and show them at times there are priorities and responsibilities that take precedence over optional activities. You are being a bad parent by not sitting on the sidelines as long as you show 100% interest when you do see them later so they can share all their great moments during the game or practice.

ChaosCross's avatar

I won’t stop loving you if you fail, quit, or are unable to compete with the rest, I will love you no matter what. So don’t let the expectation of my impression drive you forward dear, how far you want to go is decided by you and God. Pray to him that he gives you the will to continue.

Oh yes, and good work so far by the way angel.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Hah! How did I “parent” them? I coached my son’s and my daughter’s soccer teams… and was the head of the league (1200 kids). I relied on a lot of help from other coaches, division managers, other parents… and an understanding boss, since I also worked 30 miles from home and had to be on time for practices four nights a week, and at least two games. Their mother helped more than a little bit, too, obviously.

I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. (In fact I quit the job I now have and took a lot less money—and I job I didn’t really care for—to do that.)

SeventhSense's avatar

Priority number one: Making sure there’s food on the table. Go to as many games as you can. I went to every play my niece was ever in and went to every practice and game. She seems to think no one was ever there for her. In the battle to be the world’s greatest Dad, Mom or Uncle there are no winners and the greatest sacrifices are the least recognized. Just do the best you can.

snowberry's avatar

I had two kids in soccer at the same time, and on different teams. All I could ever do was shuffle from one game to the other. By the time I dropped one off, I had to run to drop off the other kid. By the time I’d done that, I had to run to get the first one. It was a night mare. For the entire, (ENTIRE) season, we did not eat one meal at home on practice or game night. It was NO fun. I had 3 toddlers at the time, and that only increased the stress. I finally said,

“Nope. It’s not happening again. Sorry, kids. I wish I could do it.”

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Whew, I see this happening in the future for us, for sure. For now, they’re not yet involved in organized sports (next September, hockey!).

YARNLADY's avatar

Where to start? We helped form a Little League in our area when our son showed an interest and talent for baseball at the age of 3. He watched a baseball training program on TV, and showed his Dad the new techniques he learned when Dad got home from work. He worked with his Aunt, who was an avid baseball player. At age 6, he was the youngest student ever enrolled in the San Diego Baseball camp run by Tony Gwynn. The whole family encouraged him. His Grandad started him at the YMCA swimming lessons when he was three.

Oh, wait, I forgot the part about where I took him to Baby Play at the Kaiser Mom’s club from a few weeks of age until he graduated to Gym n’ Me. I enrolled him in the Kinder gym at the YMCA, and took him to lessons three days a week. This is the son who tried to kick his way out a few weeks before he was born, Cesarean Section. Yes, I am a stay at home mom.

When he started Little League, Dad started as coach, and soon graduated to Umpire. Dad was lucky enough be in a position with a company that believed in flex time work schedule. For ten years, we took him to summer baseball camp, winter baseball camp, spring baseball camp, and every Padres game we could, plus the Padre spring training games. I went to every game and most practices, and if Dad or I couldn’t make it, Grandpa or Aunt, his adult brother or some other family member was always there to help.

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