Recently in Sport Parents Category

Modification of Parent Behavior

My inner monologue often includes the following statement: "Dear parents, please go away."
Please go away when:
• you are projecting your goals onto your children.
• you are trying to tell coaches how to coach when you have NO idea what you're doing.
• you are making excuses for your children's bad behavior.
• you are deliberately undermining the philosophy of the team.
• you think your child is more important than all the other children on the team.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to deal with parents in the above situations. There is a very delicate balance between coaches, parents and athletes. Anderson and Aberman discuss this relationship in terms of role definition of the coach (2006). They do not, however, define the role of the parent. As suggested by many of the commentaries found on www.thefa.com, the role of the parent ought to be one of support and enthusiasm. When parents are overly vocal in negative or pushy ways, the child of that parent, as well as the rest of the team and other parents become embarrassed. These outbursts also lead to intimidation of players, parents, coaches and referees (www.thefa.com). On a large scale, these outbursts do not create a good image for the team, but on a small scale, the impact can be much more devastating. Verbal attacks of a player's skill send the message that the child is not good enough for the parent, decreasing their self-worth and feelings of competence (Vealey, 2005). Kids reported that they would rather have nothing said than to have parents speaking negatively on the sidelines. The athletes also report that their main objectives in football were to stay fit and enjoy time with their friends (www.thefa.com).
As coaches, we need to help parents understand that children participate in sport at a young age because it is meant to be a fun learning experience to share with friends. The parents also need to understand that sport is about getting every child a chance to play and help them improve as much as possible for them. No matter what the skill level is at the end of the season, if there was improvement, then the child's experience is a success!
I think setting important guidelines in writing for the parents is an important first step in helping them understand their role as parents of athletes. Many school districts distribute a parent code of conduct with sports registration materials; Coaches of the individual teams need to also address these issues with their parents, as the coaches within a district may have different expectations. The resources available to help parents understand their role provide many helpful tips that cover everything from support in practice, to games, to how to be supportive and healthy at home (www.thefa.com). They also provide some excellent probing questions that may help some parents identify problem behaviors before they show up on the sidelines (www.sportsmanship.org). Unfortunately, there will always be parents that don't see that their behavior is potentially damaging to the 3C's felt by the athletes.

Sport Parents

| 1 Comment

Negative behavior of parents encompasses a wide variety of actions from swearing, coaching on the sidelines, or criticisms of the player, referees, and coaches. The reasons that parents engage in negative behavior has evolved from parents trying to live vicariously through their children (LaVoi, Omli, and Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008). With current research sport psychologists are starting to understand the importance creating positive parenting behavior in youth sport. From interviewing youth in sports a common theme was found in which they preferred their parents to act as a "supportive parent" instead of the "demanding coach" or "crazed fan" as Omli and Wiese-Bjornstal found in 2006. Some of the strategies to get parents to "behave" during sporting events like providing lollipops to parents, or awarding points for good behavior are good ideas in theory. The strategies may help keep the parents on good behavior, but like we discussed in last class, what happens when it gets taken away? Are the parents going to continue to give positive behavior or since they are not being given rewards are they going to go back having negative behavior at times?

I feel that almost everyone has an example from their own life where they can remember a particular parent that would benefit from programs like Minnesota PLAYS. There was one parent that I can remember vividly from my early childhood that was an example of negative sport behavior. This basketball parent used to sideline coach and yell negative comments to his daughter, the opposing team, and members of his daughter's team. It got to the point that he was banned from all home games half way through the season. The shocking thing to me was this parent did not understand why he was kicked out from games. He thought his comments were to motivate his child and others to play better.

Minnesota PLAYS would have helped this basketball parent. One of the key features that I think is important, and separates Minnesota PLAYS from other youth sport parent programs is that it is created to cater to the community of parents using the program. It is also important that this program is original researched based. Having parents learn at the beginning of their child's sport participation to foster an environment that encourages intrinsic motivation is vital to preventing youth sport dropout (LaVoi, Omli, and Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008). The two models that parents are taught to implement in Minnesota PLAYS with their youth athlete(s) are "The Bridge" and the ABC Model. The ABC model has parents "Ask" children they prefer, "Believe" the children say, and "Change" behaviors according to what they child wants. By having the parent ask the child what it is that they want out of their parent as spectator, it opens the lines of communication between the two at an early age. This could help prevent a sudden sport dropout of a kid because the kid perceives a parent to be acting negatively when the parent had no idea. If the communication was made earlier, a dropout like this could have been prevented because the parents could adjust their behavior to make the sporting experience more enjoyable for the child.

There's no doubt, in my mind, that parents intend to support their kids...after all, isn't that a parent's job? To nurture, support and raise a healthy child is the primary task of any parent, and they usually go about it as they see fit. Can you imagine a world where children made the decisions? Three-square-meals would consist of 1) cookies, 2) more cookies, and 3) jelly beans. No one would leave the house with mittens, and every kid's eye would be poked out long before adolescence. Face it, Darwinism is as big a theme in parenting as it is in the rainforest: survival of the fittest; children with active parents usually stay alive.

But, how does a "fit" parent behave? Most feel the need to dominate the decisions that govern their kids. The perception that parents hold of a situation, say, "Billy's coach doesn't care about Billy, and that's why he's not getting on the field", will usually become the reality that they hold true. We learned in our Coaching class that problems arise when there's a big gap between a coach's perspective, and her player's perspective, and this is a good time to point out that such a gap usually exists between a child and his parents.

As I recollect the thrilling moments of my childhood, the feeling of the sun on my back stands out. The joy of scoring a goal and sprinting around the turf for two hours stands out. I can't remember any of the wins or losses, even though my dad explains that there were far more losses. At least he remembers. At some point, the outcome started to become relevant; losses started to hurt more and winning became the end goal. "Fun" was just a trivial sensation.

As we age, a synthesis of brewing hormones and a more cutthroat sports culture begins to permeate our lives. Coaches put the best players on the court, and the fans demand winning. Being an athlete becomes sacrifice; it means pain, rivalry, being the last man standing. The paradigm shifts, as we age. Our perspective of sport becomes the need for victory and domination, and the fun that we had in our youth gets subtracted from the equation.

Jens Omli, et al. have noticed these differing perspectives (2008). While parents, acting on self interest (Putnam, 2000) may heap instructive or negative commentary onto their kids some 65% of the time (Omli et al., 2007) during a sporting event, their kids largely prefer that their parents stay quiet, save for the occasional cheer or praise. Furthermore, it seems as if kids just want their parents to 'shut up' and 'let (them) play the game'. Apparently, criticism, sideline-coaching, and angry heckling interfere with the fun.

Personally, as I aged and the games became more competitive, I started to enjoy parental commentary. Isn't it validating when a fan jeers the ref that just gave you a bad call? Not that it's fun to hear, but it's encouraging to know that I'm not the only one who wants my team to win. It's Darwinian, in a sense, to become competitive as we age, to want to be the best. However, the problem lies not in our human nature, not in our temperaments as adults or children, but in the perception-gaps that clearly exist between parents and their kids during sporting events.

It's healthy for adults to be competitive, as it is for their children to have fun. Yet, parents need to know how their sideline behavior affects their kids. While most parents are well-mannered, some are inadvertently hurting their kids' performance, development and motivation to keep participating in sport. That's where PLAYS™, a program that nurtures positive parent involvement, steps in. If parents truly want to be supportive of their young athletes, it's our obligation as young coaches, athletes, peers and participants to help them keep their kids healthy and happy. As adults who want to see kids become competitive athletes, to fuel the culture of sport that we hold so dearly, we owe it to ourselves to embrace the PLAYS™ mission.

Our perceptions, and our kids' perceptions, are counting on it.

Michael Storts

Parental Involvement

Given the age and level of emotional and financial dependence of youth athletes, parents play a critical role in the development and social climate of youth sports. Parents hold the responsibility of transporting their children to and from practice and games, providing the monetary funds for equipment and travel and most importantly, acting as the advocates and cheerleaders for young athletes. The social and emotional environment of a youth sport event is dictated in great part by the behavior of parents which can result in a positive or negative experience for all involved. Research conducted by Omli, LaVoi and Wiese-Bjornstal (2008) examines the influence of parental behavior on the youth sport experience and suggests the use of behavioral awareness and intervention among parents of youth athletes in order to facilitate a positive, developmental environment within youth sport.

From yelling at officials and other parents to "coaching" from the sideline, the current behavior of parents within youth sports does not reflect the preferred behavior of young athletes (Omli, LaVoi & Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008). Children participate in sport for social, developmental and enjoyment-seeking purposes. These motives should overlap with the parental and organizational vision for the youth sport experience but due to the competitive, win-at-all-costs nature of sport, the social environment of youth athletics has begun to reflect this disconnect in the form of negative parental behavior. Whether it is the result of "vicarious living", excessive emotional investment or pure aggression, the "crazed fan" or "demanding coach" behavior of parents has created a stressful and embarrassing sport environment for youth athletes (Omli, LaVoi & Wieses-Bjornstal, 2008). The results of the KIDS SPEAK (Omli, 2007) research project demonstrates the impact of negative parental behavior in that children have reported some behaviors to be hurtful and distracting and would prefer encouragement and cheering only during positive events of the game or, as described by Omli (2007), "attentive silence". It is not the responsibility of young athletes to dictate the behavior of adults but they remain the most vulnerable to the social and emotional consequences of inappropriate, negative behavior of parents.

With an understanding that parental behavior influences the youth sport climate, it is the responsibility of parents, coaches and youth sport administrators to develop and maintain a positive and developmentally focused environment for young athletes. PLAYS (LaVoi, Omli & Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008) is a youth sport initiative aimed at bringing awareness to the impact of parental behavior within youth athletics. By incorporating research with parental and community perceptions of the local youth sport climate, PLAYS works to educate parents of young athletes about the potentially negative effect of inappropriate parental behavior and provides them with communicative strategies to help deter or improve negative behaviors (LaVoi, Omli & Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008). It is critical for parents to be conscious of the influence their behavior has on young athletes and the overall sport environment in order to recognize and maintain the balance between distracting, overbearing conduct and complete parental absence from youth sport. An appropriate level of active parental involvement, one of "attentive silence" (Omli, 2007) and productive communication, will create a healthy, positive environment in which young athletes are able to experience the physical, social and developmental benefits of sport participation.

Dani Benson

Sportsmanship

I saw a television commercial during an NFL game this year about sportsmanship. In the commercial young children repeat negative comments about officials, coaches, and players they were exposed to at home. At the end of the commercial the kids say they want to grow up to be like their dad. This commercial made it into a lot of homes through a television screen and probably caused many adults to consider the powerful effect their words have on children. Poor sportsmanship displays by adults are inexcusable and are a growing concern in youth sports. For children to have the best experience in youth sports, good sportsmanship must be exemplified by adults. Most adults should have the discernment to know when enough is enough, but sometimes a little education is necessary.

Good sportsmanship must be modeled by adults. In youth sport, the quality of a child's experience is determined by the adults (Omli, LaVoi, Bjornstal 2008). This is one reason why it is so important for adults to exemplify good sportsmanship. Most people have experienced first hand, or seen a story about the way a parent has crossed the line with negative comments and destroyed the enthusiasm and spirit of young kids. This happens most frequently when adults are yelling at the referee or coaching from the sidelines (Omli, LaVoi, Bjornstal 2008). Whatever the case may be, poor sportsmanship is destructive in the youth sports arena. There is an old saying that goes: "Let the players play, officials officiate, coaches coach, and spectators spectate."

Lack of education about good sportsmanship is no excuse for an adult who crosses the line. Adults should possess at least some discernment to know when they have gone too far with negative comments. Many adults understand when it is okay to speak up and when to say nothing. It would be hard to find any parent who didn't want their child to have a positive youth sport experience, but sometimes it is hard to tell based upon their behavior. Because of this, there is still a need to educate parents about good sportsmanship.

The responsibility to ensure that parents are presented with information about good sportsmanship should start as a responsibility of league administrators. League administrators could employ research-based strategies such as Minnesota PLAYS or develop their own sportsmanship creed. Some high schools and colleges read a sportsmanship creed before every game. After league administrators develop a curriculum they should hold a meeting with coaches. Coaches should then be required to hold parent meetings before the season starts to specifically discuss good sportsmanship behaviors along with any other important or relevant information to the season. In the end, the responsibility of good sportsmanship falls on each individual. Every parent and adult should be responsible enough to know when they are displaying good sportsmanship or poor sportsmanship.

Every youth sport parent wants their child to have a positive experience. Good sportsmanship plays a huge role in shaping positive experiences. Children are full of spirit and enthusiasm and adults should seek to kindle the enjoyment.

Dan DeWitt

Parental Behavior

As stated by LaVoi, Omli, & Wiese-Bjornstal (2008) "as one of the most powerful societal institutions, sport impacts children, youth, families and communities. Organized youth sports can provide a positive, meaningful context for youth development and family engagement". Along with youth sports comes parental involvement and while parental involvement is essential to the well being and development of young athletes, it is clear that parents can be detrimental in the athletic experience of both coaches and the athletes themselves.

It seems like one of the biggest issues is determining what causes parents to act out negatively at youth sporting events. The first thing that comes to my mind is a parent who is trying to live out their dreams through their child. In some cases, their kids may not have the skills to fulfill those dreams, which becomes a let down to the parents and would cause negative reactions or behavior. Other times parents just want it so bad (whatever that might be) that they push their kids through all kinds of hoops to get it. I think the most important thing to remember in youth sports is that it's supposed to be about fun. The kids are young and although they may be competitive they still should be having fun.

Sometimes I think it just takes a child telling their parents to knock it off, or that what they are doing is embarrassing them, for them to realize that they are a little over the top with it all. The idea of the "cocktail party phenomenon" (Cherry, 1953; Moray, 1959) I think is a great example and really puts things into perspective. It's something that both kids and parents can relate to. And the fact that just a mention of a child's name during a game that they might here, could totally take away their concentration not only for that moment, but possibly for the rest of the game, if they're worried about what their parent or maybe somebody else's parent is talking about.

I think the idea of PLAYS™ is a great start to getting parents on the right track or should I say starting parents on the right track. That is if they haven't already gone off it. The idea of gathering the community together to determine their needs as a whole is a great start. Being able to fill out the surveys online for the parents I think makes it easy and more likely that they will participate in the program. Putting together a program that is geared towards the youth sports and gives parents who are new to youth sports the opportunity to see what their kids are looking for out of them and what the community expects behavior wise puts the responsibility back on them to follow through.

I definitely agree that negative parental behavior in youth sports is an issue and it might seem as though there are all kinds of out of control parents who have negative affects on youth sports, whether it be yelling at referees and umpires from the sidelines, arguing with parents from the other team, walking onto the field during a game, getting in physical altercations with other people, etc. However, I feel like media plays a large role in this as well. In most cases we don't see proud parents who are positively supportive of their children making newspaper headlines or showing up on YouTube. We see the videos of crazy parents charging the field and beating kids up or moms screaming profanities from the sidelines. So although there are clearly negative parental involvement issues, I think we have to remember that there's probably just as many sane and positive parents out there if not more.

Reversed Parental Involvement Roles Videos
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZM4RO1ty3E&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_36OpchdG6w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxduazZp7bo&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T9IVZFQ5I8&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuWw2j6Tr0g&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLZkNajZWnU

Christina Gilbert

Parent Behavior: Desires from coaches and athletes.

Much like the researchers who have been working on identifying parent behaviors and strategies to train them, I find myself asking more questions than finding answers. So many unexplored areas of parent involvement make it difficult to identify a starting point!

Earl Wilson's quote describing a parent's sporting experience can also often be fitting for coaches dealing with parents...how many more innings/games/contests do I have to deal with "that" parent? And the day "that" parent leaves your team, a weight is lifted from your shoulders, only to find that next season you have a new one!

The majority of my coaching experience is at a high school varsity level where we are vying for time, in constant competition with family, academics and other extra-curricular activities. For us, we are pitted against parents who may not agree with the time commitment, philosophy of the program or placement of their child within the program. My goal is to find a way to bridge those gaps and help the parents understand the role that they play in motivating and supporting their athlete and the team.

As we discussed last week, it is important as a coach to work towards providing a sporting experience that allows intrinsic motivation to develop in each of your athletes. Coaches who apply this philosophy will be fostering "success oriented" athletes who will become more stable and realistic about their accomplishments (Vealey). My questions become: how do you handle situations where the parents are undermining your coaching philosophy by offering external reinforcements for sport performance and/or participation? Is it appropriate to address this issue at the parent meeting at the beginning of the season? The situation is ultimately out of your control, so how can you express the importance of intrinsic motivation to the parents of your athletes?

By beginning parent education very early, as PLAYS has done, many of these difficult situations may be averted, but our current parents have not received such training. It is equally important to begin teaching these veteran parents the skills needed to be positive contributors to their athletes' careers. Parent involvement at the high school level is especially important as athletes are competing for coveted positions and the potential for career ending devastation or loss of motivation is much more likely. Parents need to be there to help coaches meet the needs of their children by providing additional competency and acceptance reinforcement in addition to helping their child understand their value and contribution to the team (Vealey). If parents and coaches are sending the same message, the athlete will have a much greater sense of self-worth and increased intrinsic motivation while facing potential disappointments.

In addition to parents becoming more educated on the importance of supplying consistent reinforcements to their children, it is also important to learn what parent behaviors the athlete prefers (Omli, LaVoi, Wiese-Bjornstal, 2008). In my experience, I have yet to witness an athlete communicate these preferences to their parent. Athletes have expressed discontent with parent behavior to coaches and peers, but they seem hesitant to direct their wishes towards their parents. Identifying the sources of discomfort in discussing this topic would be helpful in determining the appropriate steps that should be taken to help the athletes and parents communicate more freely. Reflecting on the information provided in the readings has led me to consider having my athletes complete a "wish list" of parent behaviors and providing their parents with a copy.

Parent involvement in sport can have such a profound effect on the athletes, it would be great to see more researchers questioning parent behavior and providing coaches with additional evidence to guide their interactions.

Random side-note/question:
Were the data for inappropriate parent behaviors analyzed based on sex of parent? Would be interesting to see differences in sexes at different levels of competition.

Jessica Gust

What's The Deal With Parents?

I think that any athlete can think of an example where a parent has gone over the line when it comes to their child's involvement in sports. I know personally that I have seen everything from a parent yelling at a coach during a game to heated confrontations in the locker room after practice. Parent s need to learn to relax and let their child enjoy the sport that they are playing and just let them play.

As it says in "Towards an Understanding of Parent Spectator Behavior at Youth Sport Events", we aren't certain what it is that causes parents to act out during their child's athletic career (Omli, LaVoi, Bjornstal 2008, pg.33). I was always lead to believe that parents that either had great success or wish that they had great success in sports were the ones that were very "active" in their kids sports life. I'm not trying to say that parents shouldn't be involved in their kid's sports career. I think that they can be as supportive and encouraging as they want as long as it isn't causing harm to the player's mental state. When parents push their kids too far and they turn something that is supposed to be fun and pure into a life or death situation, that's when they need to stop and walk away from being involved in their child's sport.

I found a really great example of a parent being too involved in their kid's game and highly recommend that you check it out to understand how bad some parents have gotten when it comes to being spectators http://www.youtube.com/watchv=cTTTUBDx_28&feature=related

I have always wondered though, how do the children of over-involved parents feel when their pushed so hard by their parents. When posed with this question, most children just want to have a parent that is there supporting them whether the outcome is good or bad and to not be that "crazy fan" in the stands that embarrasses not only themselves, but their kid at the same time (Omli, LaVoi, Bjornstal 2008).

Another reason why I believe that parents push kids their kids to perform well during sports is because of all the riches and rewards that could come with being the best athlete amongst his or her peers (Anderson, Aberman 2006, pg.15). It starts when their kids are younger and they're developing the skills it takes to play the game. Parents think that by getting involved early and often, this will give kids a head start in front of all the other kids. Then in high school, parents begin pushing to get their kid to stand out more so they can get a starting spot on a varsity team. College tuition is steadily climbing and parents know that if their kid can get a scholarship playing sports it will help them out immensely financially. After that, it'll be a push to try and get to the pros where they will be making huge paychecks and living the good life. What's wrong with that picture? There isn't a single mention about the kids having fun and enjoying themselves while playing sports. When parents focus too much on the extrinsic rewards, they lose sight of what their child wants through sports and it destroys any passion that they might have for the game.

Parents need to understand that sports don't just revolve around them. Showing interest in their child's athletic career is perfectly alright. As a matter of fact I encourage it and think that they need to be there for their kids, but as a spectator only. They are not the ones that are out on the field or court playing so they need to act like it. They should help when help is needed and cheer when the situation calls for cheering, but they need to understand what the difference is between a supportive parent and an over-bearing one.

Sport Parents Best and Worst

Attending a youth sporting event may provide a view of both positive and negative behaviors exhibited by parents. Influences such as level of play, availability of models to emulate and existing team policy often affect conduct at an event. Examples from my personal youth sport experience at differing levels of competition provide examples of factors that affect behaviors of parents. One example is a recall from my personal experience in club level softball and the other is from a spectator perspective at a local youth basketball league. Each scenario describes the best and worst components of parent behavior in a sport setting.

Traveling league softball for girls is an intense environment. The summary article on Minnesota PLAYS points out that negative parent behaviors are typically more often associated with a professionalized sport setting. My former fast-pitch club featured top quality uniforms, facilities, and extensive travel to competitions. The father of our most competitive pitcher served as the head coach. Collegiate scouts start searching at middle school age level for talent and his daughter had potential to receive major collegiate scholarships. In order for her to be assessed, our coach demanded that the team win and compete in tournament finals. This created a coach-driven environment of win at all costs as opposed to the suggested PLAYS focus of placing emphasis on fun and enjoyment. When the result did not favor our team, our coach was famous for throwing equipment and degrading athletes and umpires alike. This combination of negative parent/coach behavior eventually tipped the scales in terms of justifying the extreme investment of time and money versus the enjoyment of playing at a competitive level for many club members. The lack of enjoyment created by this ego-centric environment caused the discontinuation of my elite softball participation.

An opposing view of sport parent behavior involves a visit to a local youth sport competition. A friend's child participated on a recreational level basketball team, and as a spectator, I could clearly determine the identity of the most talented athletes. Through questioning parents I found that the policy regarding equal distribution of playing time was known and accepted which is an example of a cultural norm emphasized by many positive youth sport organizations such as the Positive Coaching Alliance. As the game reached the final stages, it was encouraging to NOT hear comments related to playing the better athletes. Parents were conditioned to accept the practice of regular player rotation. The game ended in a one point loss, but the effects of the actual outcome were negated by a last second three point basket. Players focused more on the occurrence of the skill execution instead of the actual score which is synonymous with a mastery-oriented climate. Everyone expressed that they had fun despite the loss, especially the parents who were pleased to see their children improve.

Youth sport settings bring out positive and negative behaviors in parents. Programs such as PLAYS develop curriculum that emphasizes practice comparable to examples found in the youth basketball example. It is often unfortunate that the best intentions of parents, like in the softball example, create a negative sport environment. It is the responsibility of parents to reiterate positive practice associated with encouragement and enjoyment allowing kids to thrive and continue participation.

-Katie Wurst

Kids vs Parents

Youth sports can create a positive, learning environment for children, but sometimes that positive environment can turn to a negative, humiliating environment. This negative environment quite often leads to "burnout, drop out, overuse injuries, cheating, violence, over-scheduling, inequalities, inadequately trained coaches, parental over/under involvement, oversight and policy issues"(LaVoi, 2008, p.14). The negative environment is often created by overbearing parents and coaches. Parents aren't educated and often don't know how their children want them to act. Parents focus on the 'winning' aspect of the game and forget that their children are in it for fun and enjoyment.
Children often find what their parents are doing to be distracting, embarrassing, and sometimes humiliating. Of 340 youth soccer parents surveyed, over half said they were angry with their child's game and took the anger out with aggression (Omli, 2008, p.31). Over 170 parents said that they used aggression when they were upset with their child's game. I find this to be a staggering number that can't be explained away by lack of education. Parents are responsible for their actions; yelling at the referees, using foul language, encouraging cheating are all unexplainable actions. Allowing your own emotions to get out of control to the point where you are physically angry is immature.
I believe the PLAYS program is an excellent way to help parents see and understand how their children feel. And if parents do have that strong bond that was talked about in the article "Towards an Understanding of Parent Spectator Behavior at Youth Sport Events" then parents should take that bond and respect it and their children's desires. The KIDS SPEAK project finding out how kids feel about their parents acting inappropriately and how the kids would like their parents to act is an extremely unique tool. This allows for parents to understand how their actions affect their children and what they as parents can do to help make their child's experience better.
I recently watched a high school basketball game back home in Wisconsin, and was shocked to see how parents reacted. I was usually down on the floor, but having the experience of sitting in the stands was appalling to me. One mother was yelling at the players what a coach would be telling them. She would get up on her feet just to yell at the players and even the referees. Watching this I wanted to video tape her and show her how ridiculous she looked. I don't understand how someone can get so into a game they lose their voice over when it is a clear-cut win for the team. These two articles let me understand to a point why the mom may have done this, but to what point will these parents go? Parent's killing people over a sporting event has taken sport aggression to a whole new level. Overall, I feel that many parents need to take a step back and really think about how their child feels when they play the game and how their child feels when the parent lets their emotions get out of control.


Omli, J., LaVoi, N.M., Wiese-Bjornstal, D. (2008). Towards an understanding of parent spectator
behavior at youth sport events. Journal of Youth Sports,3(2), 30-33.
LaVoi, N.M., Omli, J., Wiese-Bjornstal, D. (2008). Minnesota PLAYS™ (Parents Learning
About Youth Sports): A research based parent education solution.Journal of Youth Sports,
3(2), 14-16.

Molly Augustine