Summertime is the season of baseball games and soccer matches. Your child enjoys playing their favourite organized sports tremendously, but what about you? Do you enjoy watching your child play, or does your blood boil every time the referee makes a bad call, or when the other team scores?
Not only are team spirit and good sportsmanship important for children who play organized sports, they are also important for the parents who cheer them on. Some parents actually have a very difficult time controlling their emotions and temper. While we often hear parents making disparaging, mean and petty comments, some go as far as shouting profanities and even starting fists fights! This habit is not only really unpleasant for other parents in the stands; it can actually have a detrimental effect on children.
A survey of coaches demonstrated that they consider parents to have a significant and valuable role to play in their child’s athletic development. They believe parents can offer financial and logistical support, and more importantly, emotional support.
According to the coaches, no less than 36% of parents actually have a negative impact on their child’s performances because they either: put too much emphasis on winning; criticize too often or to harshly; and cannot control their temper during the games. Some children actually revealed that the worse critics often come from home, not from coaches.
These days, children and adults alike tend to be less and less physically active. So when a child shows interest in a particular sport, it is vital parents offer their support and contribute positively to the development of their child’s good sportsmanship.
Wanting to win is obviously an excellent goal. Nevertheless, genuine effort and performance improvement should be the primary goal. After a game, parents should focus on what their child did well; ask if he or she thinks they played well; and if they used what their coach taught them. Parents who tend to over criticize would greatly benefit from allowing their child to speak freely. Coaches suggest asking the child how they think the game went and listen to the answer without commenting.
If you have a tendency to get riled-up when watching your son’s soccer matches or your daughter’s swim meets, ask your partner or another parent to let you know when you are starting to lose control. Next time you are sitting in the stands, remember that your presence can either help or hinder your child’s performance. It is up to you to adopt a positive attitude and to bite your tongue!
With child obesity increasing at an alarming rate, parents should do everything they can to encourage their children to be more physically active, and leading by example is a great way to start. When parents are active and demonstrate good sportsmanship, their children are more likely to be good sports. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, so be active and keep your temper in check!