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Don't Be a Crazy Sports Parent

Photograph by Getty Images

When my son was about three months old, my husband brought home a tiny football jersey for him. I guess most dads dream of their kid being a football or baseball star someday, but at the time it was just another cute shirt to put on our son. Little did I know.

Flash-forward to our son playing on tons of sports teams. He excelled at soccer, hated baseball (too slow for his liking), excelled at golf, but gave it up years later for the faster paced hockey. Along the way, I noticed "those" intense parents on the sidelines. You know, the ones who yell at their kid and scream at other children that aren't even their own. I would watch them and think, wow, how in the world did they get like that?

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Sure we've all heard about it, read about it, and seen YouTube videos that make it to the nightly news. We all know instinctively it's not okay to behave like that. So what exactly drives a parent to get this overly frustrated and intense at a child's sports game? And how do we make sure we don't become one of them?

1. Avoid the crazy

I've noticed my husband likes to stand far away from every parent. He says it helps him keep from getting into any "problems" with highly intense parents. So, obviously that's what works for him.

2. Make sure you're not the crazy one

For me, I think what's worked has been to notice which parents are the crazy parents. If you don't see any, you might want to check and be sure it’s not you. Sometimes taking a step back is all that's needed.

3. Follow the calm

It's also good to notice which parents are the most mellow. Are you like them? And if not, how come? Try and pick up some of their behaviors if you're not naturally calm at your child's game. Remember, birds of a feather. And when it comes to youth sports, flock with the calm ones.

4. Remember why the kids are playing

Really, the important thing to remember is that we're there for our kids. We're there to help them learn a sport, get some exercise, learn about teamwork and have fun. Sometimes parents forget this.

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Our kids today are growing up in a very fast-paced, success-oriented world. Youth sports should be the one place where they don't feel like they need to achieve anything. If they're going to be the next Heisman Trophy or Stanley Cup winner, there's plenty of time for that. I for one, want to be the parent that lets my kid learn the love of a sport. And so far, I've seen that he's excelling because of that.

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