Best of the Web: Being a better sporting parent, and more

How we can do better at being sports parents, why attachment parenting is not just for mothers, and the Dad of a Google engineer's top parenting rule.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

How I'm learning to become a better sport parent

(Paul Kennedy, ABC News)

Have you ever found yourself caught up in the excitement of your child’s sporting aspirations, but later realised that your enthusiastic sideline presence may have crossed into unhealthy territory? In this article, the author explains how he is working on becoming a better sporting parent.

Speaking with parenting experts like Maggie Dent, he finds that how we act at sports can harm our children.

The author acknowledges past parenting mistakes, saying, ‘I’ve been a pushy parent’. Of his eldest son, he recalls, ‘I was too intense and gave him too many instructions, which caused angst. He was nine years old at the time’. Now, with his youngest child – age 11 – playing, he says, ‘I reckon I’m much better at watching and listening and not filling silences with back-in-my-day stories’.

Being a sporting parent is about fostering a love for the game and celebrating achievements, big and small. It’s also about allowing them to fail. He speaks of cricketer Sachin Tendulkar who shared in a documentary how his parents supported him. ‘My father has given me the freedom to fail as well. The problem starts when failure is not accepted at home by your family members or friends. Then your natural flair will never get reflected.’

AFL Hall of Fame recipient Nathan Burke said it was a coaching course he took that had him reflect on the aspect of fun in sports. Asking your child what is actually fun for them can be an eye-opener. Maggie Dent also reminds parents, ‘… put the phone down. And for goodness sake, eyeball them, eyeball them when they kick that damn soccer ball’.

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Secure attachment to both parents − not just mothers − boosts children’s healthy development

(Or Dagan and Carlo Schuengel, The Conversation)

Historically, society believes that a child’s attachment to their mother is the most vital factor in their development. In this article, the authors challenge the notion that only a mother’s bond is crucial, shedding light on the benefits of a solid connection to both parents.

The authors write that secure attachment to both parents plays a crucial role in fostering a child’s well-being. ‘We found that children who simultaneously had secure attachment relationships with both mothers and fathers were likely to experience fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and to exhibit better language skills.’ 

This article also highlights an important takeaway: ‘Mothers and fathers are equally important in raising children and setting them up for optimal developmental trajectories. In other words, it is the number of secure attachment relationships a child develops within the family network – not the specific gender of the adult with whom a secure relationship is developed – that matters’.

Ultimately, it serves as a reminder that every interaction counts in reinforcing a secure attachment with your child – it’s never time wasted to nurture those precious relationships.

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Dad of 18-year-old Google engineer shares his top parenting rule

(Ashton Jackson, CNBC)

Many parents may begin to worry if their child didn’t receive an offer to attend university as expected, but not this father.

Nan Zhang, father to 18-year-old Stanley, explains that his approach to parenting has been a ‘hands-off’ one.

‘If there’s anything Stanley wants to explore, we are there to provide help. If he wants to go on this particular path, we will help light the path’, says Nan. ‘But in terms of how far he wants to go, how fast he wants to move on the path or whether he wants to change his course and go to another path, that’s completely up to him.’

This hands-off parenting style doesn’t mean there are no boundaries or rules. Instead, it means listening to your children and helping them to trust their instincts. By doing so, parents can set their children up to be self-motivated to succeed — even becoming a Google engineer after university rejection.

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