Sometimes being supportive of our children’s sports can go too far.
If you have a TV or the Internet, chances are you have heard of the show Dance Moms.
If you haven’t, you probably at least know what a stage mom is. On the off chance that you don’t, stage ‘moms’ are parents who get overly involved in their children’s activities (mostly in terms of show business), and use their kids’ successes as a way to validate their own lives. You should also know that there is an athletic counterpart to stage moms in the world of children’s sports.
There is a fine line between being a supportive parent, and being a bad sports parent. If you do/relate to any of the following things, you should re-consider your role as a sports parent, and adjust your behavior for the sake of your child.
Bad sports parents:
Swear at games. If you are so invested at your kid’s soccer game that you are yelling expletives in front of other families, you may be a little too invested in the outcome.
Yell at children. If you yell at your own child in front of others, you are engaging in abusive behavior (shaming your child). If you yell at other kids, you may need anger management classes.
Brag too much. It is one thing to be proud of your child’s accomplishments, but quite another to tie their entire existence and self-esteem to their sports. Be proud, but not prideful, if you want to set a good example.
Blame everyone and everything. There are a million reasons why a game might not go as planned. Blaming the other team, your team, the coach, or the referee will create an unhealthy dynamic wherein your child won’t learn to take accountability for his or her own actions.
Coach from the sideline. Encouragement is encouraged at youth sports games, but if you have ever been asked by a coach to keep your opinions to a minimum, you are probably overstepping as a parent.
Set unreasonable expectations. We would all love our kids to be star athletes, but not everyone is cut from the same cloth. If you put pressure on your child to win games so they can eventually get a college scholarship, you should ask yourself whose dream you are really trying to accomplish.