STAFF EDIT: Overflowing Pride

There’s no denying it: Parents want their children to be successful. In an effort to encourage this success, parents attend their children’s plays, concerts and sporting events to cheer them on. However, this pride often transforms into a feeling of fierce competition, particularly during youth sports events, and parents’ cheers turn into violent shouts aimed at coaches, rivaling team members, other parents and even their own children.

The problem of vicious parents is not a new one. Often, it stems from a parent’s desire to live vicariously through his or her child, especially when the child excels in a particular sport or activity. Such desires tend to go overboard, and before they know it, parents are screaming at coaches and children. Instead of helping their kids, the adults ruin the experience for the child.

The children are the losers in this game, when they should be the ones having the most fun. They face embarrassment when their mother or father is asked to leave an event or is overheard shouting at a coach. It’s not fair to the referees or coaches, either. In many youth leagues, referees are not much older than the athletes. Coaches, meanwhile, have joined to get involved with the community and have a good time. The shouts of angry parents can be very intimidating and can interfere with the coach’s desire to continue working with kids. More importantly, they’re disrespectful.

No amount of legislation or regulation by facility managers can completely put a stop to this problem. Parents must learn to control themselves. They are role models, and if they cannot keep themselves in check, why bother attending the events? It is time for parents to start acting like adults and encourage their children in a more positive, constructive manner.

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