How Involved Is Too Involved with Your Kids' Sports?Allison Czarnecki
How Involved Is Too Involved with Your Kids’ Sports? This question is something I’ve thought about a lot lately. A lot, lot. I always played competitive sports growing up: soccer, lacrosse, basketball, swimming and volleyball, and I have the scars up and down my knee from 3 ACL reconstruction surgeries to prove it. When I became a mother, I headed into the pewee leagues with jubilee, so excited to show my children the world of competitive sports. We tried everything from pee wee soccer to tiny tots softball and everything in-between. My children, by some miracle of the DNA Gods, are extremely coordinated and athletic but never formed a real passion for any of the sports we tried, until we found swimming.
I begged my kids for years to try it, to no avail. Michael Phelps helped change their minds during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The combination of the magic of the Olympics mixed with their inherent love of swimming pushed them over the edge, and they tried out for a competitive swim club the week after the Olympics ended.
My kids are now both competitive swimmers on one of the best club teams in our state. They swim Monday – Saturday year round, except for New Years Day and Christmas, for 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hours every day. I sit on the sidelines and work, knit, and mingle with the other swim parents every night. Three solid hours of my day, not to mention the commute to and from swim, belong to the swim team.
The kids love it; can’t get enough. I love it.
Swimming has become our thing. Our family time, our after-school-mom-time, our weekend family activity. It’s what we do. We eat a healthy swim diet and have snacks for pre-swim and post-swim in the car at all times lest someone STARVE.RIGHT.TO.DEATH. on the commute home. Most weekends involve a swim meet in another city, and the whole family goes. It’s costly and time consuming, but it’s the perfect fit for our family, at least for now.
My question in all this is: How Involved Is Too Involved with Your Kids’ Sports? At what point is it all too much? How far do you push your kids? Do you cut them slack when they whine or make them push through the hard stuff? I feel like I’m constantly walking a tightrope, trying to figure out if I’m pushing them too hard or if they need me to be the parent and allow them to push through the tough stuff to become stronger competitors, stronger people, to learn to follow through.
What’s your advice? What has worked for you with kids? I wish my parents had forced me to push through some of my low points during my high school sports years, but maybe I would’ve hated it. So tell me, how far is too far?