The most important thing for a skating parent to remember is that their skater is a child first, and a skater second. Sometimes skaters seem so grown up, so easily able to handle pressure situations, that we forget they are still kids. The same kids that we see looking so grown-up on the competition ice probably still cuddle their favorite stuffed animals when they go to bed at night. Let them be kids, and support them as they grow.
Some other things for parents to think about as they approach the sport:
Balance: make sure there is balance in your skater’s life. Allow time for school and personal growth. Very few skaters make skating their life career. Don’t put so much focus on your child’s skating that you forget they’ll have to function in a “normal world” when they grow up. School is important. Social development is important. Being a kid is important.
Learn about the sport: learn enough about skating to recognize the elements (See below “Great stuff to check out”). Be interested, and listen when your skater talks about progress or problems.
Support your Pro: pay your bills on time, get your skater to the rink on time. When you can’t be there, make sure to tell the Pro in advance. Let the Pro participate in goal-setting discussions if possible; or if not, at least ensure that the Pro understands your skater’s goals. Listen to your Pro’s advice and instructions, and help to ensure that your skater follows those instructions when practicing or doing off-ice activities.
Support your skater: Remember, your skater is still maturing. Offer praise when appropriate, but be realistic with that praise; recognize progress towards goals, but be willing to acknowledge when more work is needed. Never destructively criticize, especially in front of others. Resist the urge to compare your child against another. Some learn faster, some learn slower.