In fencing, there are these two extremes that we often see in parenting. There are coddling parents and hard driving parents, and each is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Most of the parents that we see fall somewhere in-between, which is a good thing, but everyone can venture to one extreme or the other at times.
Coddling parents are thought of as those who pamper their fencers. They are highly concerned about feelings. They want to prevent their children from experiencing even the smallest hardship. They jump in-between fencers and their coaches, between fencers and their opponents, between fencers and themselves! They want their kids to win, but they want it to happen with as little discomfort as possible.
Hard driving parents are thought of as cold and ambitious. They are hard-nosed, and they care little about feelings. These are the “old school” fencing parents. Empathy for the opponent, for the coach, and indeed for their own fencer is not permitted. It’s about driving towards that victory. They want their kids to win, and it doesn’t matter how much discomfort happens along the way.
We tend to see more of the former in fencing, though hard driving parents definitely show up. There is a time and place for both. Let’s be clear about that – there are good reasons to coddle your fencer at times and to drive them hard at times. When child is physically injured, of course they need caring attention. When an emotional injury takes place, it’s not enough to tell them to “suck it up.” Coddling often moves well past these reasonable things though. It can become a way of life for parents. It comes out of a deep love for their child, but too much coddling hinders a young fencer’s ability to grow.
Too much of anything is not good. Letting your child become independent is challenging, and in fencing you’re letting them go with a sword!
Here eight signs you are coddling your fencer. If you’ve done one or two, then you might want to think about why those things happened. Three or four and you’re in danger of hindering their progress. If you’ve done more than five of the things on this list, then it’s time for change if you want your fencer to find independence!