People are often using the phrase “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” but at the same time children all over the world are doing everything in the power to avoid becoming like their parents. So which one is it? Like father like son? Or is the intergenerational divide becoming more prominent? We decided to interview a father and son to find out how different or similar their views are when it comes to parenting an athlete.
Alex Robertson is father to 16 year old Sean, and has been involved in the sports world for many years. He was a sports broadcasters and has covered and hosted many sport events. His son Sean plays for the Victoria Grizzlies, a Junior hockey team located in British Columbia, Canada. Sean has been involved with sports since day one. When he wasn’t playing baseball, hockey or lacrosse, he was listening to his father tell stories about his encounters as a sports broadcaster.
As mentioned in this week’s newsletter, Alex raised Sean with the philosophy that you should “support [your children], but let them do their own thing.” Alex aims to prepare his son by informing him of the alternative options that exist for any given decision, but it is up to Sean to sift through these alternatives and come up with his own solution. It can be hard at times not to try to influence your children or as Alex says it is “very difficult not to be a pain in the butt. Children will ask for your opinion, they value it,” but teaching your children to make their own decisions is an extremely valuable skill for them to have.
It seems like an easy enough concept not to try to run your child’s life and yet still be involved. We asked Sean what he thought about his father’s technique and what advice he would give to other parent’s trying to control their children’s athletic lives. In this case it was a “like father, like son” story.
Sean agrees with his parents about being supportive or as he says “if you have the support of your parents it makes it 100% easier.” He thinks that parents should make sports fun, as his father did by telling him sports stories. The other thing to focus on, according to Sean, is staying positive with your children, “not to tell them they are bad at this, not bringing out the negative like you made a bad pass instead saying things like you had a great game.”
Sports plays an incredibly important role in children’s lives. For Sean hockey is important because when he steps onto the ice it allows him to forget everything else, “it gives you a place where it is you and only you […] it gives you the opportunity to achieve your goals.” If children are important to their parents and sports are important to their children then shouldn’t the goal be support their children’s love of sport? Why do we still find the stereotypical hockey parents yelling negative comments from the bleachers? Hopefully they will read this and realize that their children are already trying to do their best and that motivation is the best way to support them. As Mike Ditka one said “before you can win, you have to believe you are worthy.” So show them they are worthy, get out there and tell them what they are doing right instead of telling them what they are doing wrong, because they believe whatever it is that you are telling them.
Thus concludes todays parenting session. I do believe that you need to push your kids at times, I know that if my mom had not made me stick to certain things, I would have dropped out of French in kindergarten and would never have learned to drive standard but when she pushed me, she told me she knew i could do it. As Barbara Coloroso says “back your kids until their nose bleeds.” So support them, which also means supporting and respecting their decisions, and one day they will be talking about how great you are as Sean did about his father in our interview.