Let's Get Real About Expectations by April Hanrath

Parents always want what's the best for their kids. I've never seen a parent do something intentional to hurt her child's chance at success. Yet everyday parents make choices for their children that may be good in the short term, but not so great in the long term.

Soccer is a microcosm of life. It is a game that teaches life lessons. It's not a job for kids, it's a game. It's not something that should be considered a parent's retirement income because their child will play professionally and make zillions of dollars. It's a game that your child enjoys. Keep perspective.

Soccer is a team sport, not a group of individuals playing for themselves who just happen to wear the same color uniform. It is a team game where everyone has to do her part in order for the team to succeed. Sometimes that means that your child may not play for many reasons. It could be that the matchup isn't right, your child has missed practices, the coach has a "master plan" that you don't know. When this happens, it's not time to nag the coach, act as though your child is being slighted, or bolt from a team. It's life lesson. It's not your job to take on the coach and fight for your child. Back off. This isn't your battle. Again, it's a life lesson. Your child will not always get what he wants when he wants it. There will be tough times in life and the lesson is to learn how to persevere in the tough times. 

One of our mentors sent a quote to me that I think is very applicable here. It's not a parent's job to clear the path, it's a parent's job to prepare the child for the path.

With tryout season here, all semblance of reason seems to disappear in the frenzy of what team my child is placed on this year. Tough decision and not one to be taken lightly. There are two questions you need to answer before you start looking elsewhere. First, has the Club/Coach worked to develop my child?  Meaning has your child had opportunities to grow and then did your child take these opportunities? Second, am I trying to find another team to stroke my ego, rather than doing what's best for my child? This one takes some soul searching. Parents are a social network within a team. The parents rely on the success of the team to stroke their own egos. Guess what, your ego is not based on the success of your child's team. The team's and your child's value isn't resting upon a win/loss record. Teams have ebbs and flows, As the saying goes, "Sometimes you're the Windshield, Sometimes you're the bug."

Before you jump ship, threaten your coach with your impending departure, ask you child what he wants. If he is happy on his team then let it be. It's amazing how some teams rise to the top when parental involvement takes the backseat to the team's success.

Whatever team your child ends up playing for the end result can always be positive. There are always lessons to be learned, sometimes easy sometimes not, but the lessons just keep coming. Be a resource to your child as he navigates the waters of growing. Be the parent, be the person he respects, be the person who teaches him how to overcome what seems impossible. When you do that, his expectations will be realized. Be that parent.