Many hockey parents like to complain about politics. I have heard story after story as my son has made his way through the ranks, but for the most part it has been nothing more than gossip from over involved parents.
Junior hockey is pretty competitive, so I can understand parents wanting to do everything they can to help their son advance, but the relationship between parent and coach changes in junior hockey, and being an over involved parent is going to do more harm than good for your player in the long run.
It might not be easy when your son is complaining to you on the phone about one thing or another, but you need to offer advice and encouragement, not solve his problems for him or blame politics. Most of the time it’s not politics, but a lack of communication or just simply frustration with a situation. Most of their problems can be solved by having a conversation with the appropriate party at the appropriate time. Some problems aren’t even problems but rather the player needing to vent. This is new territory for both of you, and that can be scary at times, so acknowledge that and try to refrain from fixing everything. Also, remember when he was 2, and he’d throw a temper tantrum when he was hungry? Sometimes when they’re telling you about how they’ve been wronged in some way, they might just be feeling a little homesick or maybe they’re nervous about an upcoming opponent, and this is like one of those temper tantrums.
Getting involved for every little thing, sends the message that your son isn’t good enough to make it on his own or solve his problems on his own. Even if he is good enough on his own merits, he will question himself because you got involved. Other people will question that as well including other parents and players, and he and/or you may become the subject of that gossip in the stands and in the locker room.
You are also sending out the message that your son isn’t mature enough to handle things for himself. Coaches don’t want a player they will have to babysit because they don’t have time for that. We all have that one coworker at our jobs who acts like the boss telling others what to do, right?. Over involved parents are like that to coaches. You as a parent need to be confident that you’ve done your job and that your player is ready to start venturing out into the world to handle things.
Your player will have support from his billet family, from his teammates, his coaches, and you. Figuring things out on his own will give him the confidence he needs to keep advancing so when he calls to tell you about how he has been wronged, let him vent and then problem solve together. Encourage him to use his available resources and push him to have those hard conversations if he needs to rather than immediately picking up the phone and calling the coach or blaming politics. Both of you will gain much more respect that way.
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