We as parents want to be as supportive of our children as we possibly can. We love our kids! We want be there for them, to spend time with them and to help them out along the way.
When it comes to fencing practice, it’s great fun to watch. There’s a reason that adults and kids alike love this sport! Being there to see them work on their skills seems like the best way to be there for them, but what if it isn’t? This seems counterintuitive, but there are some compelling reasons to rethink watching your child’s fencing practice.
1. Keeping Roles Clear
Everyone has a role in your child’s life. Your role is as their parent. Their teacher’s role is as their teacher. Their friend’s role is as a friend. And their fencing coach’s role is as a fencing coach. When parents watch their child’s fencing practice, those roles can become muddled. Even if you are an experienced fencer yourself, it’s still important to step back and trust your child’s coaches to guide them during their training so that your child gets the parental support from you that they need without becoming confused.
2. Sometime It’s Better Not to Know
It’s really better not to know every detail of your child’s practice. If your child is struggling with their form or has a rough day paying attention, that knowledge adds stress to our lives, causing stress on our relationship. If there’s a serious issue, the fencing coach or your child will communicate it. Seeing every little mistake is a burden that doesn’t help you to support your child. Your child needs to know that you believe in their best without feeling that you are disappointed in them.
3. Shifts in Performance
We do things differently when people are watching. Your child doesn’t fence quite the same when they know that your eyes are on them, because after all you are the most authoritative figure in their lives! Just by watching you’re causing a shift in the dynamic. Freeing them not to worry about what you might be thinking is an important part of this process.
4. Loss of Independence
One of the things that we really love about fencing is that it teaches independence. It takes a lot for a child to step out onto the strip and hold a sword. When parents are always there though, a child can’t really learn to stand on their own. They need to have the opportunity to figure this process out for themselves and to step out into the wide world without you in this small way so that they can build their sense of independence for later.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t ever watch your child fence. It’s important that parents stay involved in this whole process. What this does mean is that being a good fencing parent isn’t tied to you sitting there at every fencing practice. It’s healthy and positive to allow your child to practice without your eyes on them!