Permissive Parenting In Kids Sports Leads To Entitlement

BLOG OVERVIEW. Permissive parenting in kids sports is teaching kids entitlement. More kids today are expecting everything handed to them on a platter. Parenting in sports plays a large role. Are we unknowingly training kids for entitlement? Jesus has some insight to this.

Football Parents Just Wanting The Best For Their Kids

After coaching youth football for the past 4 years, I became the new coaching director of a youth football league. There are over 600 kids involved, meaning nearly, 600 marital relationships, 600 family structures, and 1200 parents. There are enough parenting styles in the league to last a lifetime.

A couple of weeks ago I stepped onto the field for tryouts. I had attempted to meet with some parents before the players arrived. They had issues with the team who drafted their sons.

One particular couple agreed to meet with me.Permissive Parenting Kids Sports Champions

I listened to their reasoning and explanation, but I was listening for more. I wanted to hear their parenting style. I wanted to hear their views about their son. I wanted to hear their deeply engrained motive. This way when I felt I had a deeper understanding of their point of view, I could give a worthy decision.

However, their reasoning did not have much fight. They simply didn’t want their son on the particular team that drafted him because the team hadn’t won one single game in 2 years. Although the team had a new coach and new players, they still wanted their son on a different team.

While I understand some of their reasoning, it scares me to realize what parents are really doing to their kids in these situations.

If I approved of their request, their son gets what he wants. Also, I would be allowing the parents to escape parenting adversity. But most importantly, if I give this request my stamp of approval, then I would be condoning permissive parenting and entitlement.

Sure, most people don’t see the big implications of a small decision like this, but I do.

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Giving Parents The Decision After My Viewpoint

I decided not to make the decision for the parents. I put the ball back in their court. Before I did, I gave them my viewpoint on keeping their son on the original team.

I told them if they wanted to move the player, they could. But warned them, they are allowing their son to get what he requested. I told the parents this could lead to entitlement. Kids expecting to get what they want.

I finally asked them, “What do you want your son to learn from football?

Handling a tough situation at such a young age opens the door to potential growth through adversity.

Kids do NOT need training on how to handle situations when they are good. They need to know how to handle challenges and leverage adversity.

The parents eventually decided to keep their son on the original team. This pleased me.

My Concern Over Permissive Parenting In Kids Sports

Coaching Youth FootballKids in sports have great opportunities to learn a lot about life. This is one of the reasons I love helping youth sports. However, on the flip side, parents could be really doing their children an injustice.

Permissive parenting is described by psychologist Diana Baumrind as, “The permissive parent attempts to behave in a nonpunitive, acceptant and affirmative manner towards the child’s impulses, desires, and actions.”

Obliging to our children’s desires and actions must be done in consideration. Sometimes the children’s desires or actions have good reasoning, but other times they do not.

If you allow your son/daughter to be in exactly the situation they wanted to be in, what are you teaching them? Everything in life must be aligned to your liking to be successful?

Let’s take the opposite side of the equation. If you were this player’s parent, what could you teach your child if they stuck it out? Have you in turn setup a teaching/training opportunity for your child to grow?

My answer is yes. You have positioned yourself to be able teach. Parents need to have more positions to teach through life.

Jesus Shows That The Greatest Teaching Moments Come In Adversity

In Matthew 17:14–21, Jesus teaches His disciples a valuable lesson. It comes on the heels of the disciples failing to drive out a demon. But Jesus’ remarks are surprising to many people. Jesus seems to be very disappointed in His disciples.

After Jesus casts out the demon and heals the boy, the disciples proceeded into a teaching opportunity. They asked Jesus, “Why couldn’t we drive it out.

Instead of Jesus telling them they were stupid and ignorant, He teaches them a lesson. He explained it was due to their lack of faith. Then He teaches them true faith can move mountains.

Jesus taught them in the moment of failure, challenge, and adversity. Throughout His 3 years of ministry, Jesus constantly gives room for His disciples to fail, trip, or mess up. But He is always there to pick them up, dust them off, and teach them. Jesus loves to teach in moments of adversity. He sees them as opportunities of growth. He doesn’t back away from adversity, but embraces and leverages it to teach His followers.

Permissive Parenting Jesus Style

Maybe there is an alternate style of permissive parenting. Jesus teaches us this style. Permit our children to fall, fail, and mess up. When children mess up, they are vulnerable. Why not use the vulnerability as an opportunity to teach them?

I wonder if the disciples ever forgot this lesson on faith? I doubt it.

The truth is, when kids leave the house, they will fail in society. Why not teach them how to fail while under your roof, instead of when they are under society’s influence?

Parenting Through Adversity In Kids Sports

The next time your son/daughter is facing adversity in sports, lead them through these steps:

  1. Let them sit in the adversity for a while. Let them really experience the hardship.
  2. Stay close to them through the adversity.
  3. Give them a safe haven to vent and describe their feelings.
  4. Listen to them intently before giving advice.
  5. Resist rescuing them from their problems, instead focus on teaching them.
  6. When they are at a moment of vulnerability, TEACH THEM TO LEVERAGE ADVERSITY.
  7. Follow up with their internal processing after the teaching moment.
  8. Show them adversity should not be feared, but embraced to overcome.

What Parenting Really Is…

Remember parenting is not about giving your kids the life they want. Rather, parenting is training for the world. Permissive parenting could lead to entitlement, if you let it, but it also could lead to great opportunities of teaching/training. I suggest teaching.

Change your permissive parenting in kids sports to permitting difficult times.

What else besides permissive parenting and entitlement are pressing issues in kids sports? Leave a comment below.

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About Jared Buckley

Experienced in family adversity, Jared has witnessed the great potential in hardships. Jared has spent the last 10 years coaching, teaching, and leading all members of families. From teaching teenagers to counseling couples, Jared has focused his energy on showing the great potential for families and marriages who leverage adversity through the power of Christ.