many of us are staring right down the barrel of this…great piece from parenting magazine


1 Response to “many of us are staring right down the barrel of this…great piece from parenting magazine”

  1. November 15, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    When a high school student-athlete graduates, it is usually the end of their competitive sports career. There is a small minority that will compete at the college level, but most of these student-athletes will move onto the next stage of their lives.
    Many will certainly stay active in sports, whether in intramurals at college or a local recreational league, but the structured, competitive sport days will be over. Many student-athletes will miss their high school career, but the real loss and grieving takes place with their parents.
    Just as student-athletes have to experience the loss of high school sports, their parents do as well. This can be a daunting task for many parents. Many parents have been involved in their children’s athletic lives since they were 5 or 6 years old.

    Now, approximately 12 or 13 years later, the athletic life of their children will be gone once they graduate from high school. There is a huge void not only from an enjoyment perspective, but also from a time standpoint. What are parents going to do with an extra 10-20 hours a week they have spent attending games, traveling to tournaments, picking their kids up or dropping them off at practice, and time simply spent talking about their children’s sports while at home?

    For the first time, parents are forced to look at their own lives without their children’s competitive sports. This transition can be difficult for many parents and it is important to keep certain things in mind as this inevitable change occurs.

    Parents are faced with a number of different emotions after their athletic children graduate from high school. First, parents are forced to get to know themselves and each other because the time spent in youth sports is no longer there. Once the sports are over, many parents discover and realize how much of their time was spent involved in their children’s sports. They may realize that much of their own identity was wrapped up in being the parent of a youth athlete.

    Although most parents make this transition successfully, here are a few points to keep in mind to make the changes a bit more manageable:

    1. Expect this transition
    It is important to know that this transition will occur at some point. For most, it occurs after high school and for a few student-athletes, it will not happen until after college. Expecting the change and knowing the challenges involved in this change will make the transition easier.

    2. Do not over-identify in your child’s sport
    At times parents can over-identify with their children’s sport. They view their children’s success or failure in sport as a direct reflection of their own worth and value. Their children’s athletic lives have become the major reason for getting up in the morning and even existing. With an identity this strong, it is important for parents to look at other parts of their identity and begin to develop these aspects long before the games end.

    3. Grieving is a normal process
    Know that grieving this loss is a normal process. Everyone grieves in a different way, but do not beat yourself up for feeling the loss of something that has been a major part of your life. Be gentle with yourself.

    4. Prepare for this transition
    As the transition approaches, begin to think about and develop other things in your life. Think about a hobby, plan some travel time, and/or focus on another area in your life that you may want to develop. Know that you and your spouse will have more time together without the children. Be patient and gentle with yourselves as a couple.

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