Being a Good Sport Starts at Home
It seems that every time you turn around, there is another news article dishing out on a parent who threw a foaming fit at an athletic event or displayed shocking poor sportsmanship in some way. Good sportsmanship is supposed to be the main lesson behind sports, but then again, our kids today receive conflicting messages when also told to win at all costs. One of the reasons that kids today may be acting on poor sportsmanship impulses themselves is that they see it all the time. The newspapers and television is filled with stories of brawls on the baseball field or parents or coaches being escorted away from a game by security. Our kids look to us to be an example, so is it any surprise that they are following our lead in a negative way, too?
If you want to teach your kids how to be a good sport, you will need to begin with yourself first. It is tempting to mutter criticisms about your child’s coaches or teammates, but rule number one is to keep your mouth shut, no matter how much it hurts. When you yell furiously at the coach, you are teaching your child that they don’t have to respect the coach, either. What you can do is to teach your young one that, while they may not respect a coach’s decision, they do still need to respect the coach’s authority. You must be able to do that yourself is you want your child to do it as well.
Use encouragement instead of criticism. Try to overlook mistakes and only notice the good things. A positive outlook can work miracles on an entire team. Who doesn’t want to hear, “good job” from all sides? When you praise others, it is contagious. Spread good cheer and see what happens.
Help everyone remember that it really is just a game. Keep things in their proper perspective. Also, try to help your child deal with disappointment in a realistic way. Sometimes in this world, we lose the game. The need to know how to take it on the chin without losing touch with the big picture.
According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, incidences of sports-related violence are increasing each year. Do your part to create the “good vibes” at a game, and smile, be unfailingly cheerful and start your good sports campaign where it matters most – at home.