Dr. Ducharme’s Blog Kids’ Sports and Parents Behaving Badly July 23, 2018

July 23, 2018
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I know a lot of us have been disgusted by the way our politicians in Washington are behaving. We notice name calling, insults and total disrespect of another opinion. We talk a lot about how society has gone too far and lost a sense of civility.

I have mentioned that one way of making a change is to attempt to do something at the local level. Engage in something where you have some control on the impact of social behavior. Well, one soccer coach in Oklahoma came up with a way to make a difference. Brian Barlow decided he had seen enough of parents behaving badly. He created a Facebook page called Offside where he pays a bounty of $100 for each video of parents behaving inappropriately that he posts. His message is clear. “These are kids playing sports. We are coaches. Let us coach, let your kids play and enjoy and you can feel free to cheer them on. But, you will be shamed if you try to humiliate the players or the coaches.” This story, which aired on NBC showed one mom shouting profanities before she kicked a ball at a youth coach.

Some think he has gone too far. Others, think not far enough. Is this truly the type of example we want to set for our kids? Are parents living vicariously through their kids? Have we ever found that screaming insults teaches anyone anything positive? Clearly the answer to this is no. But, this is happening at all types of youth sports games around the country. Mr. Barlow is simply trying to hold adults responsible for their behavior. He has created the slogan STOP…Stop Tormenting Officials Publicly. How sad is this situation? Sports are such a great way to teach children to get along, work as a team and treat each other with respect. Unless we help our kids learn these skills now there is little hope that our future leaders will be equipped to become effective community leaders.

What do you think? And what solutions might you recommend to hold parents accountable for their behavior? Let’s really begin a dialogue and a road to respectful behavior.