I didn’t have any particular plans this weekend (not that I ever do). I did some reading until my eyes got wobbly, then I decided to end the night with a bit of Netflix.
I came across a documentary called Trophy Kids which immediately caught my attention. Right off the bat, I already knew it was going to focus on athletic children. But what I didn’t know would soon shock me.
There were five families featured in this film: a high school football player, two high school basketball players, twin middle school brothers who play tennis and an elementary aged girl who plays golf.
All the parents, except the mother of the twin tennis players, seemed to push their children to perform in a manner that they were not yet ready for. I noticed a common theme, excelling until the point of fame and fortune.
I almost could not watch this all the way through. It was that disturbing.
The football player, Justus, had some of the same issues that my teen had. Very unmotivated, disconnected and clueless. I could somewhat understand his father’s frustration. What I didn’t understand was why he felt the need to constantly ride and belittle him over a sport he didn’t even seem interested in. It clearly had a negative affect on his self-esteem and self-worth. Everything they were doing was a waste of time.
Nothing he did was ever right and you could clearly see the wedge it caused in their relationship. Dad should have exercised a bit more patience with his teen.
What about the belligerent parent on the sidelines? Click next.
The father of one of the basketball players would yell and scream during the whole game. He would also complain to whoever was close by him about what was happening in the game and felt comfortable arguing with the refs. He was eventually barred from attending games.
Observing this kind of behavior is extremely uncomfortable. It makes the child self conscience knowing that his/her peers are witnessing such outbursts.
Most children perform worst under this type of pressure. They are under duress. It’s like a robber walking up to you and putting a gun to your head. They tell you that you have 5 seconds to open your safe or you will die. It’s really difficult to concentrate while dealing with that level of fear.
You won’t believe what this dad did. Click next.
The one that disturbed me the most was the father of the 8 y/o golf player. Not only would he get visibly upset each time his daughter was not performing perfectly, but he would cuss and say things that were way out of line. At one point he called his daughter a stupid b*tch under his breath. I doubt the little girl heard him, but the mic picked it up and it was clear as day. How is he going to explain that to her when she watches the documentary? Or maybe this isn’t the first time that he’s called her a nasty name like that?
How does a child perform when led with positive reinforcement? Click next.
The mother of the twins was the most chilled. Ironically, her boys also seemed to be the most talented. She encouraged them, told them to visualize what they wanted and always had something positive to say. She would ask them who was responsible for their talent and they would say God. She seemed to have a good head on her shoulders and so did her boys.
Not only did they perform well, but they also had a calmness that spoke volumes of their self-esteem and confidence. They had made a pact that they would not compete against each other. They would decide ahead of time who would forfeit.
Not all athletic kids go on to become stars. But all stars were once kids. They should be able to enjoy their childhood while they still have one. Click next.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because they’re so many parents who force their children into perfection. Most of the time, this is because they are living vicariously through their child(ren) and are looking for some sort of payback in the end. It’s sad to see children who have to sacrifice their childhood because their parents want them to be stars. What if they don’t make stardom? The lost childhood would have been all for nothing.
It’s OK to push your children to work hard and become the best at whatever they’re involved in. Just have realistic expectations and make sure that they are following their dreams and not yours.
If you haven’t seen this documentary and have tough skin, go check it out on netflix!
Are you hard on your kids when it comes to sports? Have you witnessed this kind of behavior from other parents while at a sports game/practice?