Taking a Parenting Cue From Olympic Moms

by Rebecca Green

Ever cried over a two-minute video? Get ready. Olympic partner P&G’s “Thank You, Mom” promo is practically guaranteed to make you tear up (I’ve seen it a dozen times and I still cry each watch). As a mom — though not an Olympian’s mom — it hits home. The act of mothering requires vigor incomparable to anything else I’ve experienced.

The video’s focus on the mothers of Olympic athletes captures the struggle I feel each day as a parent: Wanting to protect my kids yet wanting them to grow into independent adults. I can’t help but feel emotional watching other grapple over those exact same things (and the weepy violin music doesn’t help either). Take a look:



 

Whether you’re the parent of an Olympian or not, these mothers’ stories include some universally-beneficial parenting tips. Here are my favorites.

Also on Z Living: Play Together, Stay Together: The Importance of Family Bonding

 

What The Rio Olympic Moms Have Taught Me So Far

1. Encourage kids do things on their own. 

In P&G’s video, a mother tells her son he can make it as a high diver. I took that encouragement and applied it to the rest of life. Yes, it’s faster to get out the door if I zip my kids’ coats for them, but it’s no way to learn. Little things like this are a good place to start cultivating independence without major risks. 

2. It’s okay to feel scared. 

Fear isn’t a bad thing. This is your body’s way of protecting itself and your kids. There is a difference between fearing something for safety reasons and fearing failure. In the case of the latter, I want to help my kids use fear as a motivating factor instead of dissuading them to act. From calming to encouraging, all the mothers in the P&G spot deal with fear in one way or another. 

3. Sometimes stepping in is the right move

Still keeping with the first point on this list, there are circumstances where stepping in and modeling strong behavior is appropriate. The occasional parental interference isn’t going to get me labeled the helicopter parent, and who wouldn’t want to be as badass as the Olympic moms who scare off bullies and creepers in the promo?!

4. Comfort with family leads to confidence in the world. 

Even when one of my kids makes a bad choice, I always make sure to let them know they are loved. Knowing they have people at home who will always care and comfort them goes a long way. See the Olympic moms comforting their future superstars in turbulent airplanes, crashed cars, and sputtering elevators to get an idea of what I’m talking about. 

5. Kids remember the little things. 

Sometimes taking a moment to compliment our kids or give an extra nod of encouragement seems like just another item on our already long to-do lists. They might not realize it (and they likely won’t show appreciation even if they do), but our words stick and can serve as that extra boost of strength in times of need. Positive words can get people through a tough day, a championship match, a relationship, a workout... anything really. 

 

Looking for more parenting inspiration for raising strong healthy kids? Check out these articles on parenting:


WATCH on Z Living: Birth Days, which follows families as they navigate the first 6 weeks of life together. See a sneak peek here. 

Tell us in the comments: What inspires you to raise strong, healthy kids? 

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