Your child has been playing a sport for years. You have invested so.much.money. They’ve played on numerous teams that have involved traveling all over the world ( or so it seemed) and you have visions of their future. College scholarship? Maybe. You have bonded with the team families and your social life consists of going to games and tournaments and traveling with your team parent friends.
The words are still hard to believe. It went something like this, “Hey Mom/Dad, I don’t think I want to play ____ anymore.” Say it isn’t so! Why? How could this have happened? Maybe your child cannot really give you a reason. Maybe they want to try something new. Maybe they are just not enjoying it anymore. As a parent, what should you do? What will you do on the weekends if this happens? What will become of your child if they stop playing said sport? What about all of that time and money? Sports Psychologist Dr. Sam Maniar gives some suggestions if your child is losing interest in their sport:
- Avoid giving your child extrinsic incentives for playing their sport. Remember, they are (hopefully) playing it because it’s fun!
- Understand why your child initially took up his or her sport and help remind them of that. In some cases, your child might even need help remembering. For example, “Remember when you first started playing volleyball? It was so much fun for you to be out there with your friends working together as a team.”
- Empower your child to make their sport more fun. It’s not just the coach’s responsibility to do this.
- Watch your words and messages. Are you connecting fun with winning and scoring, or is the fun associated with the reasons your child originally took up the sport?
I know some kids who miss every party and every other activity because they have something with their sport all the time. Make sure your child is fine with this. They may be burned out and tired of missing everything. Maybe some balance would help them love their sport again.
If your child still wants to give up that sport (or music, or any activity, really), parents need to realize that although we are the parent and need to provide guidance, the child is the one who is going to practice and games and putting the time in, and if they do not enjoy it anymore — well, that happens. How many things have you as an adult picked up and been excited about only to get bored or find something you enjoy more (think every January with a new exercise kick)? Make sure that the reasons you want your child to continue are not because of the social aspects or money investment for yourself.
They may be good at it but not enjoy it, or they may enjoy it but not want to play it as an organized sport.
It does not mean that they are a quitter. Chances are, they have worked hard to get where they are and they hopefully have learned life long lessons.
What will the other parents think? Oh the horrors! Remember that this is about your child.