We’ve all heard stories about parents getting too involved and even majorly disruptive at youth sporting events. While this isn’t the majority of parents standing on the sidelines or sitting in the bleachers during practices or games, a recent article argues that even a positive and encouraging parental presence may actually be doing young athletes more of a disservice than anything else. To many parents, this point will likely seem counter-intuitive; when you go to cheer on your kid, you’re showing you care and investing your time, energy, and attention in your child like any good parent and devoted fan. Conversely, how kids perceive their parents’ lingering presence and how parents can sometimes insert themselves into the action may be leading to the opposite effect.
Image Source: CNN
“Pink is right when he says sports are ‘bizarrely parent-centric,’ and that by comparison we don’t ‘gather in back of algebra class and watch students solve quadratic equations.’ He’s also right about the fact that if you are always on the sidelines, your son or daughter is often looking to you for ‘approval or consolation or even orange slices … distracted from what really counts, the mastery of something difficult, the obligation to teammates, the game itself.’ […What I took away from Pink’s article is simple: What’s good for you might not always be good for your kids. Good parenting is a mix of standing on the sidelines to show support, and letting them stand alone so they learn to support themselves. After all, the goal is to raise adults, not overgrown children.”