Youth sport is part of the fabric of family life for many families.
Parents are more intensely involved in contemporary youth sport than ever before. And while youth sport can provide a context for parent-child interaction and bonding, parents exert both positive and negative influences on their children in sport.
Parents help children understand and interpret their sport experiences, acting as role models of positive and negative behaviors, attitudes and beliefs. But being the parent of a young athlete is an intricate social experience that cannot merely be reduced to "good" or "bad" behaviors.
In sport, parenting occurs in a complex social milieu, in which parents interact with other parents, coaches and children. Parents face complex demands that require a repertoire of skills to facilitate positive sport experiences for their children.
Parenting approaches can be thought of in two distinct but related ways. First, there's parenting style—the broader emotional climate parents create. A parenting style that supports children's autonomy is particularly effective for enhancing children's motivation and experiences.
Such parents provide their children with options to choose and encourage children to solve problems on their own rather than controlling their children's behaviours. They provide structure in the form of clear and consistent guidelines, boundaries and rules for their children's behaviour. They are often highly involved in their children's sport, but still foster a sense of children's independence.
Tag(s): Issues and Advice