Sometimes kids are not the only ones who develop character when they play sports. Parents,too, can learn from their children’s sports experiences. After 20 years of being a sports mom, I know that I have become a better parent.

What do you think? Have you learned any of these sports parenting lessons?

  • I learned when to keep my mouth shut. Sometimes your kids don’t want questions after practice or after a game. You gotta know your kid and let them talk when they are ready. And then, be ready to listen.
  • I learned that my worrying doesn’t help them play better. It just gives me a nervous stomach!
  • I learned to not be a control freak. Let them fight their own battles. Let them learn from their mistakes. Let them reap what they sow. Let them suffer the consequences of their choices.
  • I learned that what I model at home is what my kids model before their teammates. If I trash talk teammates or coaches, they will most likely do the same. But if I am positive and build up the team and coach, they are more likely to reflect that to their team.
  • I learned to let the coach be the coach, and I will be the parent. He has his job; I have mine. Tips and help at home are okay when asked, but pushing my kids like a coach only added tension to our relationship.
  • I learned that being positive helped me have a better relationship with my kids. Sometimes I was a “negative nancy” and when I saw how this frustrated my kids, I knew I had to work on my attitude!
  • I learned that kids want me to be their fan, but they don’t want me to embarrass them at games. ‘Nough said.
  • I learned how ridiculous I look when I rant at the refs. And how did I learn that? By seeing how other parents look when they rant, and cringing as I remember how I screamed at the refs just the game before.
  • I learned that sometimes it’s okay to step into the fight. I’ve calmly approached refs after the game and expressed my discontent at their call. As a coach, my husband was thrown out of a game for defending his players. There is a time and a place for our kids to know that we are on their side.
  • I learned to love my kids no matter how they perform. If they had a bad game, they know it and don’t need any reminders from me. They just need my support and unconditional love.
  • I learned to respect their choices of when to play a sport and when to move on. Even though we may have been disappointed that they gave up a sport, especially when they were good players, we knew that if they didin’t have the desire to play, it would be a season of battles and negative attitudes.

These are 11 lessons I wish I had learned before my kids started playing sports! But hey, now I’m ready for sports grandparenting!

Janis B. Meredith writes a sportsparenting blog, http://jbmthinks.com. She’s been a sports mom for 20 years, and a coach’s wife for 28, and sees life from both sides of the bench. You can also follow her on facebook and twitter.