This week a truly great dad contacted me in a panic.
He didn’t want his kid to know that he was losing confidence in the way things were going.
Too late. She already knows. You cannot hide it. Do not fool yourself. She can read you better than you can read yourself. I have seen this many times over the years. In almost every case, the parents came to realize that they were compounding the problem, regained perspective, fixed themselves, and the kid took care of herself better than they could have ever imagined.
Let me say that I truly love these parents. They are just afraid that they are not doing enough. They do not want the kid to fall short of her dreams because they did not do enough. I felt that way a thousand times with both daughters.
Let me give you just a couple of guidelines.
1-Do not call me saying something like, “How can I get her to (fill in the blank)”. You are getting out of your lane. You probably cannot get her to do anything. You can provide the opportunity, cheer on the results, and mostly just raise a great kid. Sports can enhance so many of the great qualities we want in a kid. Let softball do its magic.
2-She will tell you when she wants your help. At that point, you must know your daughter. Know the difference between when she wants you to do it for her and when she needs a suggestion. How much do you do? Too little is usually better than trying to do too much.
3-Don’t ever allow yourself to be embarrassed by her performance, or to take credit when it is awesome. If I have to explain either, you need to talk with a parenting professional.
4-Never begin a sentence with “If she would just……” Usually, when I hear this, they really want to end the sentence with “…..be like me”.
5-Another one that hits me wrong, “I don’t understand why she….” Why are you asking me? Are you truly listening to her? Ask, listen, observe, get to know her. There is someone amazing in there who probably does not need to be fixed, but to be released to become fantastic in her own way. Enable, enhance, praise, and authorize her to be amazing.
There are exceptions to every rule, but take them for what they are…general guidelines based on thousands of pitchers who have come through our systems. Above all, never assume that you have “figured her out”. She is maturing every day, being uplifted, being knocked down, so her needs will always be a moving target.