How do you handle overly competitive parents?
A sports parent asks:
I recently had another mom accuse my son of cheating at a cross country race. She later texted an apology saying she was ” just being a competitive mom” but it was damaging to our relationship. There are many questions to ask here but maybe you could just address dealing with parents that are more competitive than the 8 year olds playing the game?
This is a common dilemma. Parents often want the win and success more than their kids. Most kids at that age just want to have fun while some of their parents act like this is the Olympics or the Pros.
Quite honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can do. You can’t change the parents. But you can…
….be an encourager to their kids after games and practices. At least their children will hear positive feedback from one adult in their lives.
….stay away from their group huddles. Parents who act this way often clump together. And clumping leads to complaining, coach-trashing, and kid-criticizing. Refuse to enter into those discussions.
….when you do talk with them and they start showing their over-competitiveness, ignore their negative comments, point out the positive and try to steer their thoughts to a more healthy sports parenting viewpoint. You can share your opinions and what has worked for you without sounding judgmental.
….confront when appropriate and necessary (in your case, I feel the parent owed your child an apology if he accused your son to his face). If a parent is doing damage, they should not be allowed to continue.
….accept the offending parent’s apology if she offers it and make a note to self that perhaps she is not really true-friend material.
By the way, how do you cheat at cross county?