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Adults In Youth Sports: How to Make It Fun for Kids

Six Key Questions for Parents to Ask

Tips for conflict resolution

When a parent, coach, or team parent feels that there is a problem that needs to be addressed in the team:

  1. Check with the youth athlete and see if he/she agrees.
  2. Check it out with other adults for an objective opinion.
  3. Wait until you feel calm and in control of your feelings and thoughts before communicating your anger or frustration. People are less likely to listen to, and address, the concerns of individuals who are in the midst of emotional angst. And you certainly want to be listened to!
  4. If you still feel like you are getting nowhere, see if there are others who share your concern and then band together to communicate as a group.
  5. If all else fails, respectfully communicate your concerns to those who are higher in the organizational chain. You may want to consider writing your thoughts so that they are clear, rational, and documented.
  6. Finally, if nothing seems to work, reconsider the value of keeping your child on that particular team. It may be healthier to make a change.

A recipe for fun

The bottom line is that youth sports should be fun for your child.

Here's how parents can help make that happen:

  • Be sure that your child enjoys the sport, is confident, and feels like a part of the team.
  • Provide support, listening, and only constructive criticism.
  • Be sure that the purpose of your child's sports involvement is for your child's well-being, not for your own personal, unconscious wishes.
  • Be an effective, respectful role model for your child, know the boundaries, and monitor your behavior.
  • Do not be jealous of, or interfere with, the healthy relationships your child will develop with other adults in the sports environment.
  • Allow your child's character to grow by giving him/her space to resolve any conflicts or concerns.
  • Know when to intervene and when to be an advocate for your child, then do so in a rational, planned way. And remember that it is also OK for you to enjoy yourself, too!

Posted June 26, 2011