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How High School Sports Parents Can Ease Tensions with Their Athletes

High school athletes are increasingly independent, which can be difficult for parents. As their athletes get older, parents have less control and influence, and may see their teens changing their approach to sports. This can cause tension between parents and athletes at a time when parents should enjoy having a high school athlete to watch and support.

One reason for this tension is a difference in goals between athlete and parent. The 100-Point Exercise, found in the PDF below, is a good starting place to keep your goals as a parent in balance with your children's goals. You can print and fill out the Exercise and assess where you put the most points.

Most parents rank having fun and learning life lessons above winning on a scale of importance. Most athletes do the same. Yet parents often act differently come game time, pressuring their athletes to perform better and expressing disappointment with a loss. Although the competitive stakes are ratcheted up in high school sports, parents and athletes should still focus on the goals that matter most.

Talk to your son or daughter about their goals, and show them yours. Use this to ease tensions and have an honest discussion about what’s important. And remember – don’t impose your goals. Respect your children's approach, and that will help maintain a healthy relationship during this time.