When a child enters a sport program, parents automatically take on some obligations. Some parents do not realize this at first and are surprised to find what is expected of them. Others never realize their responsibilities and miss opportunities to help their children grow through sports, or they may do things that interfere with their children's development.
Parents can enjoy their children's participation more if they acquire an understanding and appreciation of the sport. This includes knowledge of basic rules, skills and strategies. Coaches can serve as valuable resources by answering parents' questions and by referring parent to a community or school library or a bookstore for educational materials. In addition, coaches should devote part of an early season practice to a lecture-demonstration of the fundamentals of the sport, and parents who have little background in the sport should be encouraged to attend this session.
CONDUCT at SPORT EVENTS
The most noticeable parent problem is misbehavior at games. As part of their responsibilities, parents should watch their children compete in sports, but their behavior must meet acceptable standard. In this regard, Martens and Seefeldt (1979) recommended the following rules:
1. Parents should remain seated in the spectator area during the contest.
2. Parents should not yell instructions or criticisms to their children.
3. Parents should make no derogatory comments to players, parents of the opposing team, officials, or league administrators.
4. Parents should not interfere with their children's coach. They must be willing to relinquish the responsibility for their child to the coach for the duration of the contest.
Good sportsmanship among spectators is a goal worth working for. Parents have the obligation not only to control their own behavior, but also to remind others of the responsibility, if necessary. When parents misbehave, it is the duty of other parents and league administrators to step in and correct the situation. The rule of thumb for all spectators is nothing in their actions should interfere with any child's enjoyment of the sport.