Let’s hear it for the parents who do it right. In many respects, it’s easier to be an ideal Martial Arts parent than a nightmare parent. It takes less effort. Sit back and enjoy. Here’s what to do:
• Cheer everybody on, not just your child: Parents should attend as many classes as possible and be supportive, yet allow young athletes to find their own solutions. Don’t feel the need to come to their rescue at every crisis. Continue to make positive comments even when they might be struggling.
• Model appropriate behavior: Contrary to the old saying, children do as you do, not as you say. When a parent projects poise, control and confidence, the young athlete is likely to do the same. And when a parent doesn’t dwell on a tough loss, the young athlete will be enormously appreciative.
• Know what is suitable to discuss with the instructor: The mental and physical treatment of your child is absolutely appropriate. So is seeking advice on ways to help your child improve. And if you are concerned about your child’s behavior in the class setting, bring that up with the instructors.
• Know your role: Everyone in a class is either an athlete, an instructor, or a spectator. It’s wise to choose only one of those roles at a time. Some adults have the false impression that by being in a crowd, they become anonymous. People behaving poorly cannot hide. Here’s a hint: If your child seems embarrassed by you, clean up your act.
• Be a good listener and a great encourager: When your child is ready to talk about a class or has a question about the sport, be all ears. Then provide answers while being mindful of avoiding becoming a nightmare parent. Above all, be positive. Be your child's biggest fan. Good athletes learn better when they seek out their own answers.
And, of course, don’t be sparing with those magic words: "I love watching you in class."