This week marks the close of the high school swim season, and a return to normal family life...whatever "normal" means. For us, it means no more rushing through dinner so I can get to the pool in time to coach other people's children. For the family, it means more snuggles and storytime at bedtime. It means more sleep for me which means more energy for my own kids by day. It means a return to projects, planning and our own family adventures, uninterrupted by dual meets and championships, parent calls and practice planning.
I've wanted to coach high school swimming ever since I was in high school, but there's a lot to the reality of it about which I never dreamed. I give a lot of time and energy, but I learn a lot - about coaching, swimming, coordinating and dealing with a variety of teens. I hope that, in addition to learning how to deal with teens before MY kids are teens, I also learn to behave as a parent of a teen.
Note to self (and anyone else who's listening) when my children are teens:
--> let them choose their own activities, don't force them to take part in activities in which they are not interested;
--> encourage them to stick with the commitments they've made, don't make excuses for their failure to follow through;
--> when minor conflicts arise with teammates, coaches or team policies, let them try to work it out for themselves rather than whine on their behalf without knowing the WHOLE story.
Keep them warm, keep them fed, give them shelter in all respects and cheer them on, especially when they're in a low spot. No pushing, no shoving, no carrying on.