Hazing in youth sports has been added to the list of problems that crop up in conversations about kids competing in sports.
But can’t kids just have fun? What’s the balance? What is the difference between hazing and good prankster fun?
Take a quick look at this video by former World Cup Champion and Positive Coaching Alliance National Advisory Board Member, Julie Foudy, as she talks about the downsides of hazing.
What do you do if your child comes to you with reports of hazing in youth sports?
- Don’t just brush it off as childish, harmless behavior. Your child needs to know you are taking him seriously and that you are listening.
- Bad things often happen because good people stay quiet. I’m not suggesting your kids start throwing punches, but they can understand that speaking up and standing together against harmful behavior is a form of fighting back.
- Besides taking a stand for good, the best thing your child can do to help someone who is being bullied or hazed is to be a true friend to that person. This is not necessarily the popular thing to do, but compassion is not always comfortable. Being a friend to a child who truly needs an ally is one of the most beautiful gifts your child can give to someone.
- When your child sees serious bullying or harmful hazing on his team, he needs to talk to his coach. Encourage him to take a teammate or two with him to this conference so that the coach knows this is not one child’s opinion, but a problem affecting the whole team.
The story of The Good Samaritan in the Bible teaches that instead of walking by someone who is hurt and ignoring their pain, we should stop to help. If we teach our children to take the time to help someone instead of walking, or standing, by, we might just make a dent in the problem.
Get my free new report: Sportsparents’ Guide: 55 time & money-saving tips guaranteed to make your life easier. You’ll also get regular sports parenting tips each week and a weekly parenting tip. Sign up here.