Coach your own children like they belong to someone else

Yes, they used to let me coach kids. 

What? Come again? Coach your own kids like they belong to someone else? How and why would anyone want to do that? There are several reasons, but we’ll start with the most obvious one: Parent-coaches can be the least patient with their own children.

In an effort to show they’re not playing favorites, parent-coaches sometimes come down harder on their own sons and daughters. The effects of this treatment can be worse on the child than if they were coached by a stranger who is just mean.

Parent-coaches have the ability to manipulate a child’s behavior in ways a regular coach does not. A parent’s disappointment or disgust resonates with the child on a deeper level. If you discipline them too harshly because of a mistake in practice or in a game, they make think you love them less.

How you feel about your own kids should never be tied to how many home runs they hit, touchdowns they score or trophies they win. If this is the case, quit coaching and seek help.

Mom and dad can take away a kid’s phone, game system, or ground them. That can’t be done with someone else’s kid. Good coaches find non-punitive solutions. And when the coach can’t solve the problem, he/she leans on assistants for ideas.

Take this approach with your own children. Don’t play the punishment card because you can. Giving the same instructions in a louder voice or in a slower cadence is insulting – even to a child. It makes them withdraw and will heighten your frustration.

Having mom or dad as coach works best without fear. You’re there to have fun with the kids, so have fun. Coach them hard, love them harder and always let them know it’s only a game.


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