Valorie Burton: Involvement in sports can teach kids a lot, but sometimes the lessons are out of balance. Learning to follow the rules is vitally important to sports and that applies to parents as much as to the kids.
The sad fact is that many parents fail to obey the rules of sportsmanship at their children's athletic events. We've all seen it happen. A parent who is a little too wound up starts shouting rudely and aggressively at the referee. But, parents can make sports unpleasant for kids in other ways too; yelling at other coaches or parents, simply pushing their kids too far. By doing so, they forget to let kids have fun.
Participating in sports can bring plenty of benefits; even losses on the field can translate into excellent learning opportunities if parents handle them correctly. For instance, that bad call the referee makes is a chance to teach kids that everyone makes mistakes and calls won't always go their way.
Sports shouldn't be all about winning either. There are opportunities to learn new skills, grow character, and make friendships. Even losing provides lessons on learning from mistakes and overcoming adversity.
The bottom line is, your children should be having fun and so should you. Enjoy your kid's sports, but make sure you encourage them appropriately.