My Goals or My Child's?

"Should I sign my child up for sports?"

When it comes to sports, many of us find ourselves asking the above question before we go on searching for reasons to enrol our child into some sort of sport programme. Whatever our reasons may be, wouldn’t it be a waste if we fail to understand the impact that sport can have on our child and our relationship with them?

The impact that sport experiences have on individuals lasts a lifetime and plays a part in shaping us into the people we eventually become. Ultimately, isn’t it our desire for our child to mature into individuals of good character?

Different seasons, different goals

Every parent wants their child to succeed in life. However, we tend to impose our ideas of success onto them with the expectation that they will live up to it. Out of concern for our child, we try to steer them onto a path that we carve for them; a path that we carve out based off experiences that we have been through. At some junctures, we may observe a clash in will, which leads to misunderstandings occurring. We want the best for our child but yet we know we have to let them figure out life on their own. So how then can we align our goals with our children to work together to help them achieve success in life?

Click here to try this activity with your child and find out how aligned your goals are.

Let’s start off by understanding the 2 main types of goals parents tend to focus on.

A First-Goal Parent focuses on helping their child to win on the scoreboard with their primary concern being on the outcome of their child’s sporting performance. However, a Second-Goal Parent concentrates on their child’s character development while letting coaches focus on helping their child to win in sport.

The Second-Goal Parent

Second-Goal Parents are able to see the ‘BIG picture’ beyond just the physical aspect of their child’s sporting journey. Their eventual goal is ensuring that their children take away lessons that’ll help them to succeed in life. They see every moment of success and failure as opportunities for them to reinforce the kind of person they want their child to be. Being a Second-Goal Parent requires us to adopt a growth mindset, which centres on believing in our child’s ability to grow and improve regardless of where they start and what they have.

This will manifest itself through the feedback and praises that we give to our child. For example, if your child does something well on the playing field, saying something like ‘wow, that was great play! Your hard work is really paying off!’ reinforces a growth mindset that good play is a result of his or her effort. Hence, your child will more likely want to try harder when faced with challenges in the future!


As the years go by, our goals may change and differ from our child’s. Amid these changes, the ‘BIG picture’ we have for them will never change and it should always be the purpose for this journey that we have embarked on with our child.

Topics: Conversations, Sport Development