In her article Parent Rage in Youth Sports; Giving the game Back to Our Children, Gwen Morrison addresses one of the most volitle and controversial issues in popular culture, negative parent behavior in youth sports. We have developed a win at all costs winner take all mentality. Parents are pushing their children to their mental and physical limits to acheive ultimate success. Children are paying a very heavy price in the quest for perfection. Morrison points out that often the need to win is more important to the parents, than the competitors themselves.
All to often we are reminded that dispite good intentions, parents often blur the line between support and overzealous misconduct. As a result, children receive mixed messages. There are rules of the game, but you may not win, if you don't break them. Children may be embarressed by their parents behavior, and may lose the desire to participate all together. There may be a greater detriment of this behavior. Children may view this behavior as acceptable, and may carry these behaviors into adulthood.
We as a society have forgotten, or perhaps never fully understood the true purpose of youth sports. To build character and self esteme. To nurture athletic ability. To foster a feeling of teamwork and sportsmanship. And most importantly, provide fun and entertainment.
In an effort to improve the sports experience for our youth, some parents have founded Parents Association for Youth Sports, (PAYS). Sponsored by the ...National Alliance for Youth Sports, PAYS is a kind of sports behavior bootcamp for parents. The program offers a training course that includes an informative video, discussion groups, and an opportunity for parents to meet one another. In addition, parents must agree to sign a code of ethics pledge. Also parents promise to provide positive encouragement, and enrich the competitive experience.
Children learn by example. If we behave in a negative and harmful manner, how can we expect and ask our children to behave differently? If we want our children to be successful in the game of life, We must first be good sports. ourselves.