Parent behaviors in the youth sport setting have a lasting impact on children. For instance, when children observe a parent yelling at an official, coach, teammate, or opponent, they may model that behavior in future situations. In light of this, there are two questions researchers are focused on answering about parents of young athletes in organized youth sport:
1. What makes sport a unique context for parenting?
Importantly, sport (unlike school and other achievement domains) occurs in a public setting. As a result, your children’s outcomes — and your reactions to those outcomes — are seen by everyone!
2. What does “appropriate” parent involvement look like?
Although there is no universal answer, the quality of interactions between parents and children appears to be just as - if not more - important than the quantity.
Parent communication is the most common form of sideline behavior in youth sport. Importantly, these interactions have the potential to be harmful and hurtful, or to engender feelings of confidence and support in young athletes! This is because what parents say, and how they say it, communicates their views about the value of winning and losing, expectations regarding success, and perceptions of children’s competence.
What Children want from Parents in Youth Sport
|What Children Don't Want From Parents||What Children Do Want From Parents|