They say children model what they witness adults do, so it’s no wonder parents are being told to pull their heads in when it comes to aggressive sideline antics.
The misconduct that’s so concerning is coming from parents lashing out not only at their own children, but also at other children and referees.
Sadly, when it comes to showing children the true meaning of sportsmanship many parents, fall painfully short.
How many of us have been at a children’s game when a frustrated dad has yelled at his son to run faster?
How many of us have witnessed a fired-up mother yell something downright rude to a young referee who’s probably volunteering their time for the love of the game?
Sadly if these parents behave like this in public, you can only imagine what they say and do behind closed doors.
A new campaign designed to target parents who behave inappropriately on the sidelines is gaining traction across the region.
This week sporting groups in Orange are participating in the Shoosh for Kids awareness event designed to combat what’s sometimes referred to as “ugly parent syndrome”.
According to the Orange Softball Association president Geoff Kelly most parents know how to behave however there’s always the odd exception.
He said the most common concerns came about after witnessing parents seeking to promote their own children over others in their team or the opposition.
“[It’s mainly] ‘my son’s better than your son and he should be playing more than your son,” Mr Kelly said.
The Shoosh message is simple, and perhaps a little old school: if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
There’s plenty of sporting officials, and parents, who believe an initiative such as this one can make a real difference not only to participation numbers but more importantly to the self esteem of our young people.
No matter what team you support, or who your favourite athlete is, most of us are quick to acknowledge the skills of a player, a game well fought and won, and expect handshakes at the conclusion of any contest.
However it’s the parents for whom the Shoosh campaign was introduced who don’t conform to what we in Australia consider the norm.
Sadly if these parents behave like this in public, you can only imagine what they say and do behind closed doors when the rest of society is not there to tell them to Shoosh.
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