Each kid’s activity has the potential to create that horrible parent that nobody wants to be involved in. We all know the type, the parent who is sure their child is the best, and everybody else is simply dragging them down. The parent who is always pushing their child to go further, faster, quicker, and be overall better than everyone. The parent who is always the first to every meet even if their child is still tired. The same parent is also the first person to usually at each gymnastic event and talks badly about those who arrive just right before it starts.
This is who most parents really do not want to become, yet without a conscious effort to avoid this it is relatively easy to slide into this role. You can go from being a popular parent with the other parents to being the number one person to avoid quite quickly and that is never a good idea. However, with these suggestions it is possible to keep your head firmly squared on your shoulders and cheer your child on.
Do not start comparing your child to every other child in the gym. This is important regardless of whether your think your child is better than everyone else, or everyone else is better than your child. Rather than focus on how your child compares to everyone else instead focus on how they compare to themselves and what accomplishments they are making on their own.
Do not start telling your child that winning is very important. Gymnastics should be fun and entertaining for your child first above anything else. A child who loses sight of how much fun it is will start to burn out quickly. Burnout can cost a talented gymnast a complete career, so avoid this problem, and emphasize fun over victories.
Do not act as if the scores from the judge’s are an accurate reflection of your child’s self worth. There are many parents who come to associate the score from the judge with their own level of satisfaction with their child. This means on days when the child needs extra attention from their parents after a bad routine the parent could not careless because they received bad marks. Yet the same parent is the child’s personal cheerleading squad when they do well. Avoid letting this become you, give your child attention regardless of whether they did well or badly.
Do not ever scream at the judges or coach during a meet and tell them they are they stupid. No matter how many days you have been a self-proclaimed professional parent you do not have the knowledge and experience that the coaches and judges do. Let them do their job and you do yours – supporting your child!
Do not create goals and expectations for your child that are completely unreasonable. This means for example if your child has never participated in gymnastics before do not expect them to become a professional quality athlete in just a few short months. Keep your expectations realistic and your child will do much better.
Do not ever make your child feel guilty for the money you are spend on their gymnastics activities. While everyone knows that they are not cheap, you should never make your child feel bad about it. One example of why this is a no no is telling your child that for the $1,000 a month you spend on their gymnastics you expect better results and effort from them. While you may have the best of intentions with the comment, it is very damaging to your overall relationship with your child.
Do not pretend you can be your child’s own coach. Many parents make this mistake after their child has participated in gymnastics for a while. They become under the impression that they are much smarter than all of the coaches and are convinced that they know exactly what their child needs. There is a reason that gymnastics coaches are professionals, they have training and experience that you can only dream of.