Sports help children develop physical skills, get exercise, make friends, have fun, learn to play as a member of a team, learn to play fair, and improve self-esteem.
But it’s a fact that in the wrong environment, sport can create more damage than good to your child’s development.
Every parent has the right to be proud of their child’s involvement in junior sport. Unfortunately, the proud parent can also become the pushy parent, a syndrome we refer to as the ‘ugly parent syndrome’.
Here are some telltale signs that the line between proud and pushy has been crossed.
Pushy parent checklist
- Do the activities appeal more to you than the kids? • Is it a battle getting your child to activities?
- Do you see the activities as fun, or is it all serious? • Do you get angry if the kids aren’t trying hard?
- Do you like the reflected glory when your kids do well?
- It’s a sad fact that pushy parents often end up with burnt-out kids. This denies children with the opportunity to grow and develop through sport.
Tips to help your kids play clean and be good team members.
Make sure you do:
- Show that you have faith in them
- Take an interest in their interests
- Take a continuing interest in the club and do not use it as a babysitting service
- Let them find their feet without propping them up
- Make sure the kids are not new tools to service old dreams
- Above all, if you’re getting too worked up, find out why it is son important to you
Make sure you do not:
- Interfere with the coach
- Yell out instructions from the sidelines
- Be critical of any player’s performance
- Offer financial reward for your child’s performance. The reward should be in the activity itself.
- Remember: a good sport should shake hands at the end of the game – and that’s not possible with a clenched fist!
WSC Sports Doctor and GP Mark Cesana