Wellness & Education

Good “Sports Parents” Teach from the Stands

Youth sports are a great way for kids to develop the habit of healthy physical activity while learning important social and emotional skills. Dealing with failure, developing realistic expectations and learning the benefits of striving for success are only some of the benefits of participating in individual or team sports.

The lessons parents teach from the stands are just as important as the lessons children learn on the field:

  • Kids love to have their parents in the stands at practices and games. Being the star of the “mommy and daddy” show helps give them self-confidence and increases their enthusiasm for physical activity.
  • As parents, we want our children to excel on the playing field. If parents respond with love and support even on the losing days, it helps children understand that parental love is unconditional.
  • It can be infuriating to see your child disadvantaged by an unfair call but unfair calls give parents an opportunity to show good sportsmanship in action. If parents accept unfair referee decisions without losing their temper or yelling at officials, it helps children learn how to deal with unfairness in many other areas of life.
  • Seeing kids lose a competition can be difficult. Some parents take it personally, feeling that their children’s failures are their own failures. This isn’t true of course, but it can feel that way. Psychologists call this “over-identification”. When parents learn to overcome this feeling, they become better parents at home and in the stands. Children may not be able to explain this change in their parents, but they are very quick to appreciate it. Revisiting the Frustrated Jock Syndrome | Psychology Today