Why We’re Not Experts for our Kids

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“I’m not doing this again next year, I swear, this is my last time!” -Coach C. Peters (me), loudly to my wife, nearly every single game.   

Followed by, “I love doing this!” nearly every drive home.

Main point: It’s ok to use outside help when raising your kids.

Our family is in the middle of soccer, flag football, basketball, cross country, and surfing season.  Right now, as in – all at the same time!   Both as parents and as coaches…We’re involved!  

 I have a career as a sports-based chiropractor but spend a significant amount of my time and energy on human performance. I love helping adults and kids at becoming faster, stronger, and more energetic.  It is a passion of mine and after 4 or 5 generations of coaching, I feel like coaching and teaching are in my genes –  my expertise is especially appropriate for the age of my kids and teams right now.  I coach a lot oof the above.

I often hear parents say, “It’s nice to have you as the coach because when we tell our kids what to do, they won’t listen.”

That’s true. 

  It’s difficult to be an expert to your own kids.   It’s true for Nikki and I as well, Watch our teams.  10 kids paying attention and fired up and ready to work and my two girls doing cartwheels 20 feet away.  

I’m no expert for them.  I’m the dad – not the expert.  Barely the coach.

The other kids might think I invented the sport and what I say is GOLD – but let’s get real..to my kids I’m just dad.

This may happen to you as well.   Especially you, the young parents that have their oldest in sports for the first time –  “Why won’t she listen to me??!!   I played college ball for crying out loud!”

Don’t be discouraged.  I have figured it out, and I can help you.   I use my friends (whom are also coaches) as the experts for my kids.  I used to have issues with this but I’ve seen the light and learned from my mistakes.   You can be a Hall of Fame athlete or coach, but (eye roll)… NO advice from dad, please!

 Guys, it’s no big deal.  Stop worrying and see it from the kids’ perspective and you’ll see why – for millennia, parents have RARELY been the experts.  Even the best coaches in the world use outside help.

Little known fact – little Vito Columbus, Christophers’ kid, learned to sail from one of his friends.  Not his dad.  It was pretty much peer pressure alone that made his, although lesser known – equal in longevity, sailing career profitable and secure.

Here’s why.

“They’ve seen you in your underwear.”

Yep, That pretty much sums it up.   How can you be an expert when the kids know you like that?

They’ve seen you:

1)in the shower

2) swearing while tripping on Legos

3) in the morning before the coffee has kicked in

4) hungover

5) swearing at someone you don’t know in the car in front of you

6) They’ve been with you when you are irate over some little insignificant thing.. like clothes on the floor,  shoes not put away, that you tripped over again. 

They’ve seen you Whining, pouting and begging for them to just. Go. To. Bed. Please!!!    Basically, Everything that entails being a parent.

We are intimately tied to our kids and this is a GOOD thing, but it does lend itself to familiarity and comfort– both traits that keep you from being the end-all –be-all expert of the universe.  And let’s get real, the real job of parents is in the comfort and familiarity department.  That’s called social development.  That is the real stuff.  Confidence and Security.  That’s OUR #1 JOB and something to be proud of.  Our kid hitting the slider can take a back seat for a while.   In fact, what I am suggesting, is to simply let someone else handle that.  

Have you ever noticed how your kids get when they see their teacher at the grocery?   Stiffens up and gets big eyes like, “Whaaaat?”

That’s because teachers haven’t been thought of as actual real people with real lives.  Our kids think of teachers more along the lines of, “Don’t they live at the school and think of nothing but furthering the human race by the education of the youth?”

They aren’t like that with you on the field or court.  There’s no amazement or wonder about dad out there teaching defense to their 7 year old soccer player friends.    

Be OK using others as experts especially in early development, new ideas and skills.    You are still the person they trust and love the most and they will always come back to you.  Be the one that supports what the coach says and helps to reiterate the lessons they need.   If you see that your kid needs something specific, ask the coaches to bring up the ideas you want to instill.  The different perspectives and delivery will help cement the ideas for your children.

  I try to always live by, “As a coach, Don’t keep saying the same thing 5 times louder and louder, say the same thing 5 different ways because different people comprehend concepts differently.”  5 ways and hopefully 1 way will click and make sense. 

That’s why I use other coaches and even why I try to teach parents the skills I want to instill.  So they can relate it back to their kids on the way home and maybe the idea gets through.  

Your kids’ universe is different from yours.  Their perspective is different from yours and the same information coming in different ways helps reinforce the lessons they need for sports, life, love, family and development.   By all means, please, still be a coach.  They need that in their life, it’s bonding time with your kids and their friends.  I can’t tell you how much I love the time spent on the sidelines and practices.   These little guys and girls are observant and when they see others listening to your advice and ideas, they’ll eventually get the point and understand that you actually do know whatever it is you’re yammering on about over there.  

  No matter how they act – you’re still mom and dad..the smartest, strongest, kindest, and most special person in the whole world.  Even in your underwear.

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