Posted Sep 27, 2007.
Parent involvement in youth sports can be good for kids in many ways. However, the benefits can also be overshadowed by negative or inappropriate involvement by parents. It is important to recognize when emotions and competition get out of control. Far too often, we’ve heard of, read about, or witnessed a parent’s inappropriate behavior on the side lines.
Positive Parent Involvement
Positive parent involvement means looking out for a child’s needs and interests. Parents can do this in sports by:
When there is positive involvement by parents:
To Play or Not to Play
Parents know their children’s interests, abilities, and talents. The choice of sport should be a family decision and take into consideration how it will affect the family (transportation issues, mealtimes, family time, etc).
The Putting Youth Back into Sports curriculum suggest that parents also need to take into account how the decision can affect the parent-child relationship. For example, is the youth angry because his parents will not allow him to play football? Or is the young girl relieved that her parents no longer require her to go to gymnastics? Helping children develop their own interest in sports is far different than forcing a child into a sport they are not interested in to fulfill the parent’s dreams. The bottom line is that children should enjoy the sport and want to continue playing.
Putting Youth Back into Sports also provides a list of questions for parents to think about when choosing to get their child involved in a sport:
Parents must consider their commitment to helping the child attend practices and games on a regular basis.
Parents also influence their children by modeling the type of behavior and attitudes that are important to them. If a parent demonstrates respect and concern for others around them their child notices. But if a parent becomes irate and yells at the referee for a “bad call”, the child learns nothing about good sportsmanship and appropriate conduct.
Here are some guidelines for recognizing when you’ve “crossed the line” into poor sportsmanship:
If this is happening to you, it may be time to reevaluate your own behavior and expectations for your child participating in sports.
Sports can be a good way for youth to learn teamwork, gain skills, and increase self confidence. But sports may not be right for all kids, or there may come a time to leave a sport. If a child is constantly blaming the officials or teammates for not having a good game or making excuses to not attend practice it might be a signal that the youth is “burned out” and not wanting to play that sport.
Youth Sports without the Burnouthttp://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid452319854/bctid1135486071
South Dakota State University and Penn State University Publication, Putting Youth Back into Sports: A Training Curriculum. Copyright, 2003. South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota.
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