Keep Calm and Let the Kid Play

Keep Calm and Let The Kid PlayDo you remember the look of joy on your parents’ face when you threw your first pitch? You may have done a terrible job but they cheered nonetheless. It is true that your parents are your biggest fans but it doesn’t take long before some turn from loyal fans into fanatics.

A hockey game in Quispamsis N.B turned intense when witnesses saw a player’s mom and one of the team’s coaches verbally abusing a 13-year old referee for missing calls. It was a classic example of parents resorting to violent and unethical behavior, often to overrule a poor decision made against their kids..

Hockey Canada follows a zero-tolerance policy toward verbal abuse directed at on-ice officials and allows referees to eject coaches and even stop the game till the abusers leave the stands.

The boorish attitude of some parents is not limited to breathing fire at coaches and referees; their own kids are not spared. Parents’ constant criticism lowers the self-esteem of their child who just wants to do his/her best at something without being told that it is shameful to be anything less than the best. ”Aggressive sports parents push and criticize, scream and chide, and shun tears as signs of weakness.” [Source:]

Why are Some Parents Bad Sports?

An Irritated Kid

“Why parents misbehave at their child’s sporting event?” “Because no one told them they couldn’t.” (Photo by mdanys used under a Creative Commons License)

A lot of parents will argue that their bad behavior comes from a good place. They want their child to excel and are scared that if they don’t push them, the kid will be left behind. A report published by Rutgers, the Youth Sports Research Council reveals the facts and myths behind parental violence in youth sports. It says that often times parents lose perspective when they stop seeing their kids as just that and start looking them as an investment. Also, some parents view their kid’s sports as a means to achieve fame and glory. The game, instead of being a fun activity, starts to become a gateway to rewards like a college scholarship or a professional contract.

Many parents act out their aspirations through their children. If they always wanted to play baseball but were not good at it, often they treat their children’s Little League games like the World Series. Parents attach their self worth to their child’s athletic success.

So How Does One Calm These Folks Down?

The parental Guidelines Sign At The Hoffman Estates Rink

Sign installed by the Illinois park district

While some leagues have taken a subtle way of tranquilizing antagonistic parents through parental pledges and adult education efforts, some have gone a little extra to let parents know to keep calm and enjoy the game.  A sign installed by the Illinois park district at the Hoffman Estates ice surfaces tells parents exactly how to behave at their kid’s game. Courtesy signs like these are a safe way of ensuring parents know their boundaries. They also send out an underlying message that their rage can backfire them by distracting and embarrassing their child and more generally spoil the spirit of the game.



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