It is so, so hard to raise morally upright children. You as a parent spend so much time teaching your children to act and speak virtuously that it can be maddening to see your hard work undermined by others. Have you ever had an experience where a sports coach you thought you could trust to share in developing your child’s code of honor instead ended up degrading it? What do you do about it? How do you handle that aggravating, delicate situation? We here at Inversion Cheer Athletics Toledo have put together two brief lists of tips. One is for parents who need, unfortunately, to navigate that aggravating, delicate situation and the other is to help coaches avoid creating a problem.
Tips for parents:
- Talk to your child. They may be confused or upset even after witnessing bad or poor behavior from their coach or reading unkind words that they’ve posted to social media. Talk with them about what happened and ask them how they would have handled the situation if it had been them. Let you child know that a person is defined less by one action or cruel word than by how they handle themselves afterward.
- Talk to the coach. Don’t be afraid to talk to a coach about their actions if they repeatedly display bad behavior or poorly chosen words. Be gentle and generous but firm. You’ve entrusted part of your child’s ethical development to this person, they need to be aware of their responsibility. Keep in mind that you need to maintain a healthy, working relationship with them as well. Discussing about how their actions in front of your child make you uncomfortable is acceptable, attacking them is not.
- Get out of a bad situation. If a coach or organization continues to role model inappropriate behavior even after you’ve expressed your concerns then it might be best to remove your child from that toxic environment.
Tips for coaches:
- Remember who you are! You’re a coach. The children you instruct look up to you. Be worthy of that. Keep any drama or conflicts in your life off the mats. When you’re coaching, be a coach. And don’t forget that even when you’re off the mat, social media allows your athletes to peek in on what you’re doing. Keep any pictures and messages you share online appropriate for all ages and make sure they represent you at your best.
- Remember what you’re teaching! You don’t just teach kids the fundamentals of a sport. You’re teaching them how to conduct themselves around others. You’re teaching them how to handle criticism without becoming sullen. You’re teaching them how to take in praise without becoming arrogant. You’re teaching them how to responsible to others. This is an awesome responsibility. Live up to it
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes! There will come a time, probably more than once, when you slip up and let some unsavory behavior bubble to the surface in front of your athletes. It’s unavoidable, you are human. What matters after the fact is how you handle it. Apologize for your behavior to your athletes and their parents. Make amends to the person or people you hurt with your actions and make sure the children know that you’ve taken proactive steps towards rectifying the situation. Don’t dwell on your error, but don’t ignore or try to minimize it either.
Parents, you all work so hard to ensure that your children learn right from wrong, the value of kindness and the importance of respect. We want you to know that everyone at Inversion Cheer Athletics Toledo values your values as much as you and your children do and are happy to work with you as you raise your children.