Parents living through their Children

parents watching

Some parents are still looking to fulfill their childhood dreams by living through their children.  For these people winning is everything and losing isn’t an option.

These parents pursue an illusion that maybe they can still find success through their children’s hard work. They search for shortcuts to happiness and feel they can’t miss out on that last opportunity to succeed, forgetting there are no quick fixes in life.

Let’s take a closer look at the competitive parent and the origins of their competitiveness. I’ll also expand on what our community can do going forward and why it’s important to let kids be kids.

The Competitive Parent

Parents who are hard on their children to compete were also very competitive themselves. coaching parents

Many parents view their children as an extension of themselves and this leads them trying to mold their children into what they used to be as a child. But often children develop different personalities and interests than their parents.

Parents should understand when their child don’t have the same drive to win as they do they shouldn’t push them harder screaming and hollering at the referees and constantly telling the coach how to coach their child.

These actions can be very confusing and frustrating for the child, and may send him or her into depression and/or isolation.  A child may grow to resent the parent if all  the parent care about is winning.

We have all seen the videos of parents fighting at little league games. This is the result of three or four competitive parents at the same game.

I can recall in my coaching days having to discipline a young man on the importance of being a team player. There’s so much that can be learned by playing team sports especially the fundamentals of life. Instead of embracing this aspect this particular kid went to get his father who threatened to punch me!

I calmly told the man, “I will gladly take that punch if it will teach your child sportsmanship and discipline.” Believe me I know from experience how some parents over-react.

A Sense of Loss as a Child

Many parents aren’t aware that this drive may be motivated by a sense of loss of their childhood. Perhaps they were told they couldn’t play football because they were too slow, or in the case of girls maybe they were advised to pursue another career because they were too heavy to model.

Sometimes it’s just a self-belief that they have. But it’s something that needs addressed if the obsession to succeed through children is ever going to stop.

It saddened me when I found out there isn’t an age limit for little girls to enter a beauty pageants. To me that’s a form of abuse.  Think about what the child may be going through. Would you want your child to blame you for wasting their childhood on something that they did not want to do?

Molding your child to fit your image can be damaging to the parent/child relationship now and into the future. Parents must acknowledge how much it hurts to miss out on the dreams they valued as a child and move on.

Right to Have Their Own Dreams and Happiness

Children have imaginations and dreams and are entitled to them. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 11:9,  “Be happy, young man, while you are young and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth”.

When kids feel pressured to do good they become rebellious and  unhappy. Our role as parents is not to perfect our children, but to foster and development them into healthy, sane, and caring human beings.

Childhood is so short-lived they need to enjoy the most important activity for them: playing and being creative.

What Can We Do?

Coaches, referees, and league authorities need to sit down and discuss how they can deal with these kinds of parents.

I suggest at the beginning of the season having a meeting with all parties on the expectations of parent behavior during games and practices. And if they can’t control themselves then little “Bobby” will be removed from the team.

A co-worker recently told me about a soccer league called the “Quite League”.  In this league parents weren’t allowed to talk to coaches or players during the games and the kids loved it!

There will always be irate parents who can’t be stopped, however; we can create and enforce guidelines in order for our children to truly enjoy sporting events.

So as a whole let’s get back to the basics of having fun and promoting a loving family atmosphere.  Ask yourself what is more important to you, your child being successful in recreational activities or successful in life?




Categories: Children, Parenting, Relationship

Tags: , ,

12 replies

  1. Excellent, Excellent words of wisdom. This really needs to placed in the hands of every parent whose children are involved in sports. You need to speak to the youth in the schools. There has to be grant out there somewhere to pay for your services. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you, Ms Whitehead. It’s been put on my spirit to get back out there and start back coaching too. What I love and miss the most about coaching was, how you can see in their eyes that they wanted more than just be coached. How they wanted a male figure in their life. But whoever team I help coach will need to address these parents first. By the way, if you need me to give back, by speaking, just let me know because I would love to.

  2. I have to agree but, I think when some of our children act though they aspire to do nothing they have to be pushed to do something! Often times that’s where our dreams and goals are made to be our children. I say learn who your child is learn what their interest are early cultivate it and watch it grow. This make for happy parents and children when they Excel!

  3. Wow!!! Thbis blog is so on point bro N law i know parents like this..i am so glad i live for my kids and not thru them…keep up da good ya

  4. Vernon, Your blog makes my heart sing. I am so pleased to know someone who speaks for the children. There was no one in my day. Please never stop. God be with you.

    • Thank you Shelly! Yes our children need to be heard and it’s our job to protect them by being their voice. Thanks for stopping by and blessing us.

  5. Well said Vernon. Unfortunately, as you said people teach/behave out of their own experiences and skills. Parents often mean well, but it’s a challenge to relate that to a child and to get their own egos out of the way. The key is actually listening and not drowning out the other person’s voice because they are a child and you feel you know best as a parent.

  6. Another great post Vernon. I enjoyed reading it. I like your response to the parent who threatened to punch you. He ought to be ashamed of himself. These parents also react horrible to teachers who are trying to teach their children knowledge and manners.

    I have been guilty of trying to live my life through my daughter. I remembered as a child I wanted to play the piano so much that I use to borrow every piano books in the library and read them through while pretending to play in my head.

    However, my mother could not afford piano lessons for me but I could afford it for my daughter and so for many years I tried to force her to take piano lessons and she was very unhappy.

    I wanted her to be a musician but that was not her passion. Finally the Lord told me to give the child a break and allow her to do what she likes. I obeyed the Lord. She is now an aspiring Fashion Designer and is doing great. She wants to attend the Fashion School in NY.
    I hope that you will return to coaching because you will be a good mentor for both children and parents.
    I will share on Facebook because every parent needs to read it.

    • Hi Beverley,
      For some odd reason I couldn’t approve your comment or reply to it. I don’t know what that was about.
      However, yes it was something to experience my player going to get his father to fight me. But I could see in his father’s eyes that he was lost too.
      You sharing your experience will help people know that we Christians are human and it’s not about trying to pretend our lives are perfect.
      I’m glad to hear you obeyed the Holy Spirit and look at her now!
      I most definitely will return to coaching because there’s so much about life that can be taught through coaching.
      Thanks for sharing too I really appreciate your kindness.

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