Letting Kids Be Kids
We all know them, don't we? "Those" parents - the ones no one wants to sit with in the bleachers because they're so irritating. Recognize any of these folks?
A young basketball coach has to call his own father for advice after he struggles with a "bleacher dad" who persists in coaching his son from the sidelines. The poor player is a nervous wreck by the end of each game, between trying to follow his coach's directions and hearing his dad's constant from-the-side input, which is sometimes contrary to what the coach has told him to do. Finally, the coach pulls the dad aside and tells him that he needs to stop, that he's damaging his son's nerves and undermining the coach's authority. After being chastised by the coach, the dad makes a large show during games of folding his arms, pressing his lips and not saying a word, but the drive home from each game is a play-by-play rundown of what the kid should have done during the game.
A baseball coach is enthusiastically supportive and encouraging to all of the players, except his own son, who is a strong, but erratic pitcher. When other players come up to bat, the coach is there to high-five them as they leave the field, whether they hit well or strike out. When his own son is up to bat or is pitching, however, Coach Dad is a study in disgust and frustration, rolling his eyes at any error, sighing deeply, shouting, "Oh, come on," when his son fails to strike out a pitcher or make at least a base hit. Coach Dad has placed such impossibly high expectations on his son that his son inevitably becomes rattled and makes even more mistakes than ever.
A track team member's parents are certain their daughter can become the next big thing; she just needs to work harder, receive better coaching, get leaner. They hire personal coaches to work with her, enroll her in summer camps to train and tell her if she would just push herself harder, she'd be a star. She isn't allowed to attend a friend's midnight bowling party because she has to be up early to train the next day. Track Girl does everything she's told to do. She also throws up before every meet and secretly writes long poems about frustration, weakness and worthlessness.
Reprinted with the permission of the American School Counselor Association. © Copyright 2006-2008 American School Counselor Association. All Rights Reserved.
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