This fall, my middle kid decided to sign up for soccer. We’re not a sporty family but I want my child to feel encouraged to try new things so I took him the first practice and watched him settle in with his new team as I settled in with the parents. But before we could even watch any drills or pull out the snacks and water bottles, the coach came over and gave us a stern talking to about expected behaviour from parents.
I’m new to sports but it seems to me that parents ought to know how to behave at sporting events especially when the players are only six years old. But what do I know?
Enter Valli Gideons. She posted an EPIC reminder to all parents about what the toxic shouting and pressure that some parents throw at their kids really do; it hurts your kids and frankly ruins the sports experience for the rest of us.
In her Facebook post, which is going viral, Gideons writes, “Parents. Stop the madness. The lectures. The play-by-plays. The analysis. The should’ve, could’ve…”
She goes on to ask parents to stop and think about how their words are being perceived by kids.
“Think about it. As an adult, how would you feel if you came out of a huge presentation at work and had someone immediately going over every sentence,” she writes. “How would it feel for someone to criticise your every word or move, in your ear…going on and on?”
Her point, which is a clarion call to parents everywhere to be more supportive and less competitive, is to show children that they can be loved and rooted for in positive ways that help them to learn and grow. Not feel belittled and torn down.
Gideons brings her point home with this brilliant line, “But, what our children really need to know is that their worth is not measured by wins and losses or missed balls or baskets. And if we want them to have a love of the game… they need to discover the intrinsic joy.”
As fall sports get started across the country, it is so important that parents everywhere remember that the point of getting our kids enrolled in team sports isn’t to win trophies, it’s to teach them how to be responsible, reliable, cooperative people who – hopefully – will develop a true love of sports. The only way to do that is to be the kind of parents who demonstrate the same ideals.
Rock on, Valli Gideons!
More About Kids and Sports:
- Why My Kid Should Play Sports (Even If He Doesn’t Want To)
- How to Survive Soccer Season Without Losing Your Damn Mind
- Hilarious Spring Sports Tweets We Can All Relate To