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Friday, January 3,2014

Parental Violence at Kids’ Sporting Events:

By David Shiner  
A Disturbing Trend

Mr. Shiner manages a boutique law firm headquartered in Boca Raton. Mr. Shiner was recently awarded an AV rating by Martindale Hubble which recognizes him by his peers for his outstanding professionalism, diligence, and capabilities. When not in court, David enjoys fishing, playing golf, collecting watches and spending time with his family. The Shiner Law Group has been successfully representing people in all areas of personal injury, motor vehicle accident, and commercial litigations for over a decade. David I. Shiner, Shiner Law Group 561-368-3363 Office www.

As a father of two very active young boys, my wife and I plan to start introducing sports to our 3 year old starting this spring. A disturbing trend of violence in sports among parents has become increasingly popular which is not a good example on our young children. In the United States, statistics show that parents of children between the ages of five and 15 are very likely to have those children engaged in at least one organized sporting activity.


Consequently, these parents have likely experienced crude, rude, and even violent behavior by parents and relatives of team members and coaches. Or, perhaps, the parents themselves have perpetrated the unsportsmanlike behavior. In another words, violence off the playing field has become part of youth sports and a universal experience associated with the culture of youth sports. I think it’s time for the rules of the game to change.

Research suggests that the violence that often erupts at youth sporting events is fueled by unrealistic expectations on the part of both the players and the parents. Kids feel the huge amount of pressure placed on them to perform well, to win at all costs, to be “scholarship material.” If they feel that they did not perform up to the expectations of their parents, coaches, or recruiters, then they can take out their frustration and anger on other players. A common problem that only adds to this pressured environment is that players are often expected to perform at levels they are not physically capable of yet; they are simply pushed too far at too young of an age, all in the pursuit of rare athletic scholarship.

Parents who have been encouraging their child’s sports activities for years, often at great sacrifice of money and time, feel that they are “owed” success in return for their “investment.” Instead of the sport itself being the success, an invitation to an elite travel team, winning seasons, and athletic scholarships are what these parents think they are purchasing when they spend huge amounts of time and money promoting their children’s athletic endeavors. When the reality does not support their expectations, parents get angry, and sometimes violent, even brutally so.

So how do we prevent the violence that is becoming so pervasive in the culture of youth sports? The answer is correcting the expectations that cause the problems in the first place. Parents must have a clearer under standing of what their children can physically achieve at certain ages and the statistical challenges of obtaining college level athletic scholarships. Parents also need to focus on why youth sports started in the first place: to promote kids’ self-esteem and team-playing skills, and to teach ethical and sportsmanlike conduct as well as the sport itself. Praising effort and enthusiasm as much as performance is key to all of these goals.

Also, allowing all team members to play rather than creating a second team of “bench warmers” encourages players and parents to focus on the real goals of youth sports rather than the “winning at all costs” mentality that breeds the violence we have today.


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