For most sport parents, the primary goals for the youth sport experience include creating an environment for their kids to have fun, learn sport skills, develop new friendships, and grow holistically through athletic involvement. When sport opportunities for kids are set up in healthy ways, kids benefit by learning skills they can transfer to other areas of their life (also known as athletic transferable skills), improve physical fitness, and develop emotional intelligence by learning how to work through challenging sport situations. Unfortunately, some sport parents fall short of keeping these objectives in focus, and instead use their child in an attempt to work through their own unmet sport dreams. In these instances, parents vicariously live through their child and push their child to work harder and reach higher levels of sport success than they did themselves. Sadly, when youth sport expectations are set up in this fashion the sport experience becomes less than optimal, and in worst-case scenarios can even contribute to emotional wounds that remain present for years to come.
Understanding parents living through their children . . .