Being a sports parent is not for the faint of heart. The combination of supporting your children whom you love more than anything in the entire world, competition and being let loose in the wild kingdom of youth athletics is not always an easy task. Sometimes, it brings out the worst in us. Sometimes, we get caught up and lose sight of the big picture. It’s ok. Luckily our kids forgive us quickly, and we can live and learn IF(and this is a big IF) we are willing to recognize when we are acting like a$$holes and take steps to make a change. 🙂
So today, a short and sweet recount of just a few of the common threads of bad sport parenting that we can strive to change!
You might be an A$$hole sports parent if………………………….
- You feel as if your relationships with the coach, or other parents on the team is more important than your kids relationship with their friends and teammates. Too often, when an adult relationship becomes stressed, parents can sever friendships that are IMPORTANT and MEANINGFUL to their kids… Remember, this is about THE KIDS! We have seen far too many friendships between kids busted up because the adults cannot seem to get along, and it really is hard on the children, and it hurts their hearts.
- You have no regard for the well-being of other children who play sports and are willing to do anything, yes anything – to make sure that YOUR CHILD is at the top of every list. You lie, you spread gossip, you pay people off, you brown-nose and create drama in efforts to sway the winds in your kids favor and don’t care how it affects or hurts other people. Think Tonya Harding or Wanda Holloway if you will. We have seen this with our own eyes. If you feel that compelled to ruin the lives of other children then you truly need counseling, and you also need to re-evaluate your daughters talent level, because that kind of manipulation screams insecurity. Ask yourself, WHAT ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF?
- You are afraid to allow your child to be criticized or coached by others and constantly feel inclined to step in and make excuses. Sure, its difficult to watch your child be put through the ringer. But here’s the thing….your child will learn and grow through being held to a standard by someone else. Let them be coached. If it bothers you, then step away and allow your child to have the OPPORTUNITY to be held to the highest standard by a coach. Your job is to support, not coddle – so that they will grow as athletes and people!
- You feel the need to scream and holler, rant and criticize your child (or someone else’s) every effort on the field of play. Look, we have talked to A LOT of kids, and their biggest complaint is that they feel pressured by their parents, and don’t feel good enough. All they really want YOU to do, is sit back and enjoy the show. Tell them you love to watch them play, and keep your criticism at a minimum. Be a listener rather than a talker. Kids are smart, they know what they did wrong.
- You see nothing wrong with causing a huge scene at the ball-field. Whether its an umpire who God Forbid, made a bad call – or a coach or opposing player that ruffled your feathers, your “Modus Operandi” is to make a scene. Loudly. Yeah, kids LOVE that. (insert sarcastic sigh) Self control people. This is youth sports and embarrassing your kiddo is not necessary. These are the same parents who get their feelings hurt when the kids stop wanting them at the field.
- You automatically think that by default you know what a) your kid is feeling and b) your kid wants. This comes from a person who has spent time in the dugout with kids begging to sit out, or quietly whispering “please, coach don’t put me at 3rd” when their parents are out of earshot, only to be raked over the coals later by Mommy dearest who accuses me of ‘damaging their child’s confidence and ruining the game for them’ because they wanted to play 3rd and I didn’t put them there. Look, kids want to PLEASE their parents, but what pleases parents doesn’t always please them…..\
- You blame someone else for everything that goes wrong…..It might be a teammate, a coach, an official, another parent, another player, the position of the moon, or WHATEVER….No matter what, your kiddo is not at fault. This is the best way to make sure they learn NOTHING AT ALL!
- YOU are a sore loser…. Winning and losing is part of it. You cannot take away the lessons that children and teams gain from losing, as much as everyone hates it. Make sure your children learn from you what it is to be a graceful loser.
- You are the very first in line to approach the coach after a game or tournament before they have even gathered up their belongings. 24 Hour Rule People!!! We promise you that your kid doesn’t want you lined up to talk to their coach right after a big game. It makes them feel awkward and there are ways to handle any problems you have with coaching issues.
- You are constantly hanging out in, around, behind, beside the dugout. Come on….let your kids own at least one part of their favorite sport. The dugout is a sacred space.
So as Spring season approaches, maybe as parents, we can remind ourselves to not be THOSE ^^^^^^ parents. Keep a level head, and always realize that youth athletics are FOR THE KIDS, not the parents. This is their game and their childhood. Let them have it.