A Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Problem for Sports Parents” highlighted an aspect of the relationship between kids, sports & parents that might be an eye-opener for some.
1. Researchers have discovered a negative correlation between the amount of money parents spend on their child’s involvement in a sport and the child’s motivation. Quoting Dr. Dorsch, a sports psychologist, Utah State University professor, and former pro football player who has studied this topic, “When parental sports spending goes up, it increases the likelihood either the child will feel pressure or the parent will exert it.”
2. Parents can mistakenly look for a “good return on investment.” The bigger the financial commitment by the parent, the higher the expectations for performance. Large amounts of money seem to shift support into pressure.
3. A beneficial balance must be reached between enthusiasm and parental pressure. It isn’t necessarily based on the amount of money invested. In other words, it is not as simple as spend less and your child will do better. Jay Coakley, a U of Colorado professor emeritus of sports sociology suggests “greater parental spending tends to weaken a child’s sense of ownership of his athletic endeavors and can destroy his will to succeed.
4. Part of the parents’ responsibility is to teach their children how to handle victory and defeat. These skills will benefit them throughout life. Competition involves winning and losing. Mom and Dad, look for opportunities to encourage and applaud improvement rather than winning.