Both Paul and I take a long term view of a runner's development. Runners develop and mature at different rates and it's important to let each athlete chose the level of participation they're comfortable with. We want to provide an atmosphere that allows each runner to develop at their own pace, fosters a love of running and a view of running as a lifelong sport. Keeping runners enjoying their sport allows them to reach their peak performances on their own timeline.
Running is a difficult sport and motivation to run fast in training and racing has to come from within. No matter how talented your athlete they will only perform their best when they're running because of goals they want to achieve. If your child has an interest in running we'll build on their interest and motivation. If they're running because you want them to be a running star you'd better reconsider whether running is the right sport for them.
Running kids are special kids. They are self motivated, hard workers who are generally as good in school as they are at running. They're willing to work hard for a goal in the future. These characteristics are important not only to their running but for all aspects of their lives. It's important that parents see the big picture: no matter the time or place in a race they're working hard toward goals, developing friendships with similarly motivated kids and keeping their bodies and brains healthy.
In order of importance parents need to celebrate participation, commitment, improvement, personal records (PRs) and, if they come, victories. Running can make a huge difference in your child's life whether or not they ever win a race! So ask your athlete about practice, congratulate them on their hard work and build on their enthusiasm! Find the positive as often as you can!