Parents Welcome

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Parents Welcome

Parents Welcome

Parents are often feared by organisations because they can be over-bearing from both ends of the scale; either by putting pressure on their child or speaking up for them.

But if we’re interested in supporting the child’s development journey, we’d best work with the parents. They are, of course, the most powerful influence in the child’s life.

Building a relationship of mutual respect is the ideal. As educators and coaches then, what do we discuss with parents in regards to mutually supporting the child’s individual needs and rights?

In a recent blog post ADULTS BACK OFF, we sought to promote less pressure on all of us adults and take a more Facilitating role and create a Self-Determined environment for each child to be the expert of their own journey.

As the parent sees a new-found confidence and love for the game in their child, that may speak volumes enough. It can also give a positive platform to discuss our approach, their expectations and build a necessary relationship for the sake of the child.

From our last blog post THE STREET we looked at a powerful of learning experiences in the streets, backyards and playgrounds.

As parents then, they can also become Facilitators at home to create a Self-Determined environment for the child.

So for all Adults, we become:

Facilitator of an Experience

  • STOP! Remember it’s not about you; It’s about them.
  • Provide a Safe, Explorative Environment
  • Involve players input Game Design that build desired competencies
  • Facilitate the collaborating and conflicts of a group
  • Looking for opportunities to hand-over and not interfere with decision-making of players
  • Observe the Emergence in a session and give space for Player-Led direction

The parent’s place is far more than just a Facilitator of an experience. The parent is more important than any coach, educator or expert. They are the Advocate and Guardian of the child’s journey.

“Being a parent of an Autistic, Down Syndrome son highlights the need even more for advocacy of a child’s journey. I can’t afford to make comparisons but can only tune in to hear his inner voice. But every child is unique, should not be compared to and given the opportunity to find their own voice.” - Tyrese’s mum, Joey Peters

Every child needs an advocate. The voice of reason; a diplomat that can objectively and intuitively support the individual’s journey. Who better suited than the parent or guardian of a child?

As coaches then, we’d do well to facilitate experiences in the bigger context of a long term journey and welcome parents perspective.

Yet it is rare to see coaches and even organisations respect parental input. Perhaps because there are still those that need, just like us coaches, to make the shift from their own interests to being about the child.

How important is it then, that we are the ones to reach out to parents to discuss and support them in their own learning journey, to then encourage that confidence in their child?

Remember - Deep Breath - Pressure Off - On this complex journey, just as we embrace mistakes as learning for our kids, we can’t expect parents to ‘get it right’, we can only encourage them to be open to learning, evolving and change.


  • STOP! Check yourself, make sure it’s about the child not your own hopes and dreams for them
  • Provide a variety of experiences without overload - organised and unstructured, multi-sport or multi-activities
  • Let them PLAY independently of adult instruction and with adults for fun
  • Let them have their good days and bad days
  • Embrace a long-term, journeying approach not comparing to others or ‘milestones’
  • Encourage them to find their own voice in the journey

2 Comments on “Parents Welcome”

  1. Good blog and I like the facilitator/advocate roles defined here. I am usually not thoughtful of the parent role and am negligent in this area. I do invite parents to be involved at the rink and ask them to be in the locker room to hear what their children are hearing. I also ask that they support the player and the choices made as those of an individual and not through the eyes of the adults experience. I think some of what you have here will help me extend my reach into the stands. Thank you

  2. Pingback: The Other Side - Game Play Learn

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