I have been working with teenagers since 1995, and I’ve seen some parents do some really “silly” things.  Watching my own children has given me a new prospective on parenting.  At times, it has been a challenge not to become more involved in some of their situations.  But I just don’t want to be one of “those” parents who I’ve seen over the years as a teacher, administrator and high school coach.

Here are 5 things that I’ve seen happen when parents get over-involved.

  1. You are taking away a great learning opportunity for your son/daughter

Your child has a lot of lessons to learn in life.  Their experience in extracurricular activities can provide some dynamite lessons for your child.  There are many times when life lessons about teamwork, accountability, responsibility and more can be learned outside of your grasp.  Many parents think that they are the only ones who can teach and train their child.  This simply is not true.  When you run to the school or the team or the club to solve their problems, you are taking away what can be a great life lesson.  Look to use this opportunity to teach your child something about life that will help them down the road.

My daughter. She really wanted a turtle, so I took her to the local Desert Tortoise Club meeting to learn more about what it takes to have one.
  1. Absorbing your child’s hurt/pain will not teach them anything about hurt/pain

Participating in sports or drama or music will provide plenty of opportunities for heartache for your child.  They will most assuredly fail at some point during their childhood.  When they fail, it will hurt.  Allow them to hurt.  When they strike out with the game winning run on third base, or when they lose the lead role in the play, or are cut from the spring musical, you have two options: shield them from that pain, or allow them to feel that pain and hurt.  What does shielding them from that temporary pain do for them?

My youngest! He played a sport for the first time ever this winter, and really loved it!
My youngest! He played a sport for the first time ever this winter, and really loved it!
  1. You are diminishing the authority of your child’s coach/teacher

When parents run down to the court or field or school to fight an injustice that was done to their child, many times they end up diminishing the authority of their child’s leader.  I have seen this so many times as both an educator and coach.  All of a sudden, the relationship between that child and teacher/coach is changed forever because the parent jumped in and disrespected the leader.  Thus, the kid no longer respects the teacher/coach.  What do you think this does for the child?

  1. Kids need to fail, let them

One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let your children fail.  Failure can lead to many negative feelings, and you do not want your child feeling this way.  But they need to learn how to live with failure.  They need to learn how to overcome their shortcomings in the classroom or on the field.  When we take away failure from our kids, what will happen to them the first time they fail without your help?  You are doing a great disservice by not allowing your kid to fall off their bike!

My oldest child, he loves basketball!
My oldest child, he loves basketball!
  1. The story becomes more about you than your son/daughter

When a parent becomes over involved in their child’s education or extracurricular activity, the story becomes more about them than their child.  We’ve seen this on reality TV shows like Stage Moms or Little Tykes.  It is just amazing to me to see how some adults want to live through the successes of their own children.  Instead of sitting back and enjoying the ride, some parents make the ride about themselves.  How does this really impact your child?  If you take too much credit for their success, how do you think they will feel?  If you become such a thorn in the side of your kid’s coach that your child clearly sees what is going on, how will that make them feel about their experience as an athlete?  Do not let the story become about you, it’s just not needed.



Chris Fore is a Special Education Teacher in Southern California.  He is also the Special Teams Coordinator at Victor Valley College.  He coached high school football in Southern California for 16 years, including 8 as a Head Coach.  Fore has published 28 Kick and Punt Returns and Blocks, as well as the Shield Punt Manual.  He is a speaker with the Glazier Clinics, and a Coaches Choice author.  Fore runs Eight Laces Consulting, and also teaches in the Masters of Physical Education program at Azusa Pacific University.