Recruiting for Parents

When the Sidelines Get Terrifying

((Flickr – Ingo Bernhardt)

(Flickr – Ingo Bernhardt)

Parents want the most for their kids.

I mean, that’s not rocket science. That’s just parental love.

And for the college recruiting process, which has so many long-term impacts on a student-athlete and their families’ lives, it totally makes sense that parents or guardians are involved in the process. We’ve written before about lessons parents learned from the college recruiting journey and questions parents can ask without feeling overbearing.

Which is why we thought it was interesting when Keith Van Horn, former University of Utah All-American and NBA basketball player, wrote a compelling and thoughtful piece about the harm that parents with exaggerated expectations for their children can cause.

Exaggerated expectations. One of the interesting studies Van Horn talks about — we’ll let you read about the rest — found that 50 percent of parents with overweight children were in denial about the child’s weight.

They may not really be in denial. Could it be that we are genetically programmed to believe our children are just better than they are?

Let’s be honest. That makes a lot of sense, too.

And as empowering as an encouraging parent may be, playing a sport under the eye of a parent with “delusional parent disorder” is like getting heckled at the free throw line.

These situations negatively impact the player-teammate, player-coach and most importantly the child-parent relationship. It instills a belief within our child that they are not living up to our expectations and instead of learning to take personal responsibility for their own enjoyment and improvement in their sport, they learn to blame coaches, teammates and end up looking for someone else to help them get to the ‘next level’ rather than finding the passion and desire within themselves to improve and reach their goals.

Have you encountered a parent with Delusional Parent Disorder? How do you get past the expectations and keep your head in the game?

About the author
Andy McKernan

Andy McKernan is the content strategist at NCSA Athletic Recruiting. A content marketer with a background in creative writing, Andy brings several years of experience to NCSA.

1 Comment

  • Perhaps I was perceived as “that parent”. But let me tell you this, if we are going to be investing so much of our family time into a youth sport, and having 9 weekends in a row where we cannot go out of town, and 3-4 days other a week where I am scheduling our family life around football practice, I want this to be a worthwhile activity for my child. Bottom line is he wants to play. That is what makes it worthwhile for him. My complaint is not that the coaches should just increase his playing time because he’s so awesome, but if they are not giving him a decent amount of playing time (as in playing at least half the game for our small team) then they need to be very specific about what he needs to be improving to get to stay in the game. Otherwise, you have lost this kid, whom at age 10-11 may or may not grow up to be a good player. He will not return the following season, and may mentally check out for the season he is currently playing. And then, as a parent, it is much easier for me to support you (coach) when my kid says “Coach doesn’t like me, he doesn’t let me play” I can say “Coach said he will increase your playing time when you are more consistently proficient with offensive blocks (or insert deficient skill here) That is what you need to be focusing on”. When I was able to get this point across, Coach had a better player, and I had a kid re-engaged in the game. However, our coach probably kinder/more patient than most.