The Politics of My Child's Athletic Teams
There is so much politics involved in my child's sports teams. Too many parents are totally obsessed with their child's inclusion, and they will run you and your child over if you get in their way. It's creating friction with me and the other parents. And it's creating a situation of emotions and hurt feelings with my child. I'm friends with some of the parents, but they are so competitive and pushy about their children, I simply can't take it. How do I handle the situation with my child when she doesn't make the team, and how do I avoid the constant annoyance from the other parents?
A: Helping your children learn how to be a "good sport" is extremely important to their development. I believe it is important to teach your children how to win or lose with integrity. It is very easy for parents to want to blame "politics" on their child's inability to make a sports team. I am not saying this isn't what's actually happening, I just think we shouldn't use this as the reason we tell our children they didn't make the team.
If there are options other than school teams, such as recreational leagues, you might consider encouraging your child to join a different league so they are guaranteed to be included. This gives them the opportunity to improve their skills for future tryouts. It also gives you the opportunity to meet other parents with children participating in that particular sport who might have a different attitude. Unfortunately, "annoying team parents" is something you can only truly avoid when your children aren't participating in sports. There are always going to be parents who get far too excited, angry, or loud when it comes to their child's participation or even just the score of the game.
Model the attitude and behavior you appreciate when you are the one on the sidelines. Thes teaches valuable lessons to not only your children but also to the other parents watching. Also, if you are given the opportunity to be a coach or an assistant coach, you might consider taking it. It would offer you a platform for modeling appropriate behavior for parents who have children playing sports!
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Writer, Speaker, Radio & Television Contributor, Dr. Misty Smith is the Founder and Managing Director of the Birmingham, Alabama based Mind, Body & Heart Wellness Clinic. She is an ASSECT Nationally recognized Certified Sex Therapist (CST), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) of more than 15 years, who focuses on assisting individuals and couples to achieve their optimal emotional, relational, and sexual health through a results-oriented counseling process tailored to the needs of the individual or couple. In addition to being ASSECT Certified, Dr. Misty has a PhD in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University and her EdS in Counseling from the University of Alabama. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or mbhwellnessclinic.com.