Over the last few years there have been many news reports about a parent or parents that have gotten too ‘emotionally involved’ with cheering for their child at their child’s sporting event. In many cases there have been reports of foul language, insults and even physical attacks, things that should never be associated with children’s sports in any way shape or form.
The fact is, the way you support your child by cheering for them during any sport will make a big difference in the way that they not only view the sport but view you as a parent. It’s for this reason that finding the proper balance between support and overzealousness is vital, for your child’s sake and the sake of sports in general. Below are several excellent tips that will help you.
While some children love to hear their names shouted out while there engaged in their sport of choice, others may actually find it embarrassing and not want you to do that. Always ask your child their preference and respect it.
Keep in mind that this is your child’s sport, not yours. Many children are under intense pressure from their parents who, in one way or another, are vicariously living their lives through their kid’s sporting achievements. While every parent wants their child to do well, putting an immense amount of pressure on them to ‘be the best’ can actually be quite damaging to their mental health.
Competition of any kind is usually quite healthy of course. On the other hand, teaching your child that it’s okay to step all over someone as long as they’re the best or teaching them that, if they’re not the best then they’re a failure, can be highly damaging. Better to focus on your child improving over anything else.
Many parents today are using ‘code of conduct’ rules to keep the possibility of unruly, obnoxious or rude parents to a minimum. In order to be part of a specific sporting association, for example, all parents must sign the code of conduct as well as the coaches and referees. By having this formally drafted agreement the chance of an uncomfortable or regrettable situation or confrontation is much less likely.
After the cheering is done and the sporting event is over, remember to complement your child on whatever it was that they did right out on the field, even if their team may have lost. If your son’s football team lost the game but scored 2 goals, focus on that rather than the loss.
Remember that children will learn much about sportsmanship from their parents and the examples that you set for them now will have lasting and long-term repercussions throughout their life. Sports and sporting events should always be respected and, no matter if your child’s team wins or loses, your respect for him or her as well as for the coaches and officials should never be put aside.
In the end, cheering your son or daughter on while they compete in an exciting sport should be a fantastic and fun time for everyone involved. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, meet your child’s teammates and create lasting bonds with your child. As a parent, there are few things better than sports to help you do all of those wonderful, life enriching activities. Let’s all work together to keep it that way.