The Hubs Has Become THAT Parent

As you know by now, I am working feverishly on my book.  I am planning to have it ready by the fall so I don't have time for much else right now.  Lucky for me, the Hubs stepped in and offered me a guest post that I really loved.  - Jen

I have a confession to make.  I have become THAT parent.  You know the type.  Loud, obnoxious, screaming at their kid at the soccer field.  Yes, I have become that guy.  If you ever knew me in person, you would understand how unlikely this is.  I am not into sports.  Maybe some table tennis and a competitive game of darts and billiards, but I never played any sort of sport in a competitive team environment.  Sports did not interest me, I guess I was too busy exercising my hand eye coordination killing Space Invaders and trying to topple that angry Donkey Kong. 

Score, score, score


I hear that playing sports is good for your health and great for social interaction, so my 7 year old son, Gomer plays soccer.  He really does love it.  He is built for it.  He is quick, and strong, and does a nice job kicking that ball around.  He can't wait for practice and games.  We have a state of the art soccer complex near our house where they play.  We used to go there to watch other friend's kids play and I used to always notice the asshole parent that was screaming at their kid or other kids on the field.  I thought to myself, "What a dick,  it's just a game."  Most of these people were very athletic looking.  Big, brawny, ex-jocks who wanted their kid to win at any cost.  I could never understand why they would be like this.  Until now.

Gomer is on a team where they are coached by volunteers.  They are playing with their friends and classmates.  Supposedly they don't even keep score yet.  Who are they kidding, of course they are keeping score, otherwise why play the game?  I am a very competitive person by nature.  I hate to lose.  I hate to see my son do something that I know he can do better.  I hate to see him not listen to directions.

We were at his game, and he was told to play LEFT Defense.  So that means, he is supposed to stay on the left side of the field and stay back to help defend his goal.  Gomer is so excited about soccer and loves to help and run that he is running all over the field and chasing the ball anywhere and everywhere.  This is where I got mad and started screaming at him.  "Gomer, Gomer, get back to the left side.  You need to help protect your goal."  It is a large field and he can barely hear me.  I screamed even louder.  He looks at me and indicates that he doesn't understand me.  I don't know what to do.  I go over to him when he is rotated out and try to explain to him what to do.  He still does not understand me.  I blame the coaches of course for his lack of understanding.  After the game, I asked him what happened, and he tells me that he was trying his best and did not understand what I wanted him to do.  He looked sad and like he had disappointed me.  I asked if he had fun, he told me yes.  Even though they lost 8-2, he was still having fun.  I asked him one final question, "Do you hate it when I yell at you?"  He said, yes.  That was enough for me to hear.  I felt bad that I had taken his joy for playing soccer and made it a competitive sport where winning was important.  Don't get my wrong, I think winning IS important, but at 7 years old, having fun is important too. 

For now on, I will not be screaming at Gomer, unless it is to cheer him on.  I don't want to be THAT parent. I know I will revisit this when he is older and can take the verbal abuse - I mean support from me.

32 comments:

Murph said...

Nice post! You're so right. At 7 it's so much about the fun of the game, when he's older and playing on his High School team... then it's no longer about the fun. My little girl plays on a county league and just HATE the dad's that are yelling at their 6 year olds for making 6 year old mistakes... come on! They can hardly kick at that age.

Rebekah said...

Oh man, my dad was totally that parent. And I could actually see myself turning into that parent someday, too. Luckily, I don't have that loud of a voice, so hopefully I won't annoy my kid too much.

ccl120 said...

I am that parent. :( trying to curb my yelling to those of support and happiness. not always successful, but working on it!

Kelly said...

Thank you for recognizing & owning it. Now when Gomer is older and you think it might be ok to start yelling again, pull this entry out, scroll down to my comment and read this:

DO NOT YELL AT YOUR CHILD WHEN S/HE IS PLAYING ON THE PITCH, FIELD, OR COURT. DO NOT BE T-H-A-T PARENT. Your child will love for it. Trust me. I know.

Anonymous said...

Just ranted on my facebook status about this same issue last night...give them their own league and name so their is no question about who's joining:

I want to see a new football league created called the FCYF – the F*CKTARD Competitive Youth Football League...for all the @$$HAT parents who think they are raising the next Peyton Manning. THEY ARE 7 YEARS OLD! Just as league name implies…DEVELOPMENTAL FLAG. The best thing for each child is to learn every position so that they know the challenges each position faces personally…whether they are good at it or not. They are DE.VEL.OP.ING. If you want your child to have opportunities in sports, teach them to work hard and have passion for the game. They’ll EARN their position without your help.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Don't be that parent no matter how old! My mom was that parent and get this...she sometimes yelled at other people's kids. Your kids will remember it when they grow up and move out. I remember looking around during games and wishing my mom was THAT parent...the one who would yell out truly supportive and encouraging words. The biggest thing a kid, no matter the age, should learn is fun and teamwork and discipline.

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you. I am going to print this out and staple it to my own face. My 6yr old is playing soccer for the first time, and ohmyword...so hard to not yell out (not meanly, but still), "No! NO1 not THERE, over THERE!!" or, "STOP WALKING LIKE A RUNWAY MODEL AND POSING!!!". I just want her to do her best and pay attention for like 45 min. But she's 6. And heck, it's not my job. I will work on sitting and clapping.

steph said...

I was that parent too until just last week. As we headed to my son's game, he told me "Mommy, it embarrasses me when you yell to me out in the field" That was it, I did not say a word other than clapping when they scored a goal. I hate to think that I took any of the fun out of his game. Now I vent quietly to myself in my seat!

Natalie said...

Oh man, I am going to be that parent one day. I already feel bad for my future children.

Vito said...

Great post! As the President of our travel soccer club (and coach of 4 teams) let me give you the Coach's perspective.... STOP! No... don't try to yell less.... REALLY STOP!

Up until age 9 all we really want the kids to do is play their best and have fun. I say this to the kids before EVERY game (and we are a competitive travel club). If they do their best and have fun they will KEEP PLAYING. From age 10 to age 12 the players have better ability to understand directions. Likely, they are doing what the coach as asked. Likely if you yell at them to do something (or not do something) it is in direct conflict what the coach is asking. Now the young player is in a prediciment... do I listen to the coach or do I listen to Mom and Dad? Guess what... at this age Mom and Dad win every time... and they should (otherwise can you imagine the drive home?). Let their coach be their coach! At U13 on up... they players have stopped listening to you (and may even tell you to shut it!). All you are doing now is getting in their heads and taking them out of the game. Imagine yelling at the kids on the OTHER team what you are yelling at your own pride and joy.... wouldn't that be considered haassment and being a bully? If so... why are you treating your own kids worse than perfect strangers? We have a parent and player code of conduct relative to yelling negative things at kids... and trust me... I enforce it! Thanks for the read!

Mexmom said...

I always say I won't be that parent, but lucky for my son he is not playing in any teams yet, he only takes swimming, but he already wants to start soccer, so I guess I better start practicing my sitting and clapping.

Amanda said...

HA! We were just complaining about THAT coach this weekend. We were at a kids football game, and team A was ahead 28-0, they were smearing team B. (The team we were cheering for.) You could tell team A was the team to beat by the multiple parents wearing team A jerseys in the stands. Who has a jersey for a team of 10 year olds?! Anyway, team A's coach calls for a time out in between plays after team A lost a yard. We rolled our eyes. Why call a timeout to yell at the 10 year olds when you are 28 points ahead of a team that doesn't look like it has a chance in hell of scoring at all? Then a miracle happened in the next quarter. Team B got a touch down. It was AMAZING. We all freaked out for them, because team B never gets touchdowns. Ever. Then team A's coach had a total melt down hissy fit. You have got to be fucking kidding me. RELAX! At this point they were at 35-6, and he couldn't handle it. It was so bad the ref flagged the coach over his temper tantrum. I couldn't believe it. I would rather my sin be on the losing team than work with a coach with the mental stability of a 4 year old.

Amanda said...

Uhh, son, or daughter for that matter.

Anonymous said...

I actually stopped sitting in the stands at my son's Little League games. I felt myself turning into THAT parent (and I'm his MOM!). I would skulk behind the backstop where he couldn't see me and slap my hand over my mouth whenever I felt the urge to call out instructions.

He's 21 now and I don't think he's been damaged by those few errant outbursts.

Dana said...

My daughter plays for a U-11 competitive Travel Team. Our Coach has made it very clear that we do ZERO yelling and NOTHING is to be said to individual kids. We cheer only and only as a team. It was so hard to do, we had lollipops that we passed around on the sidelines so we couldn't yell. But, now that we have gotten used to it, it's much more relaxing on the sidelines and the kids are more in the game/listening to the Coach. Now, my 6 year old....I seem to be reverting (she's in semi-competitive). Have to go back and dig out the lollipops.....

Anonymous said...

My son was the one doing karate kicks and practicing "battle moves" while the rest were chasing the ball. I did my fair share of yelling, "the ball!! go toward the ball! Take your foot and kick it!!" He didn't do soccer long.

Anonymous said...

My husband thinks my daughters coach doesn't teach them anything so he's totally that parent. LOL The thing is, once she listened and played her position she wasn't as tired and scored a goal. After the game, she said she was glad he told her. I admit, at times, we must sound rather intense. LOL

StephHC said...

Ugh. I was becoming THAT parent too at my 4 year old's first soccer game last weekend. Then my mom started yelling and cheering and I realized where I got it from. I will be investing in some duct tape for her mouth this weekend. I may even be nice and get her some of the stuff with the cool designs on it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder! Last Saturday, my son was playing goalie and he stopped a shot. I could not have been more proud, but then he just stood there holding the ball! I am the coach and allowed to be on the field during play. I tell Bubba to throw the ball. Nothing. I yell "Throw the ball!" Again, nothing. He begins to look at me as though I am speaking a foreign language. Again, I yell "Bubba, throw the ball!" imitating the motion with my entire body. Finally he understands but is so worked up that he just half-heartedly throws a two hand chest past right to the opposing team. They did not score on the play, but I failed as a father when I took the fun out of the game for him. I could see it in his eyes. It killed me. This parenting shit is really hard!

lovetoread600 said...

I'm buying lollipops tomorrow!! What a great idea!

A couple of years ago I had a revelation and decided that while it would be almost impossible for me not to yell, I could control *what* I yelled. I vowed to yell only positive things. I've actually had parents comment to me on what a positive influence I am in the stands. If you knew me, you would know how funny that is!

Mock said...

My favorite is when parents scream at swimmers. You know they can't hear you ....at all.

Tankersmom said...

Must be honest....I am that @$$hat parent. My son started playing at the wee age of three and has been super competitive ever since--through his own volition. But I was a parent at the his age of five who was yelling instructions out on the field, so by his age six I became the coach. That way I could condone yelling and therefore it was my job. Yeah, yeah I know this is weak, but if it is any consolation, now that he is playing Select sports at the age of ten I sit and keep my fat mouth shut and let the coach do HIS JOB!

Rebeccah said...

It's good that you took a moment to look at that with him and are willing to change your behaviors. I get it - totally. Nothing makes you want to tear your hair out like kids' sports...but take it from a former soccer coach of that same age group - they aren't listening to anyone, let alone you. ;-)

Jill Halliday said...

Good, because I was that poor pathetic volunteer who got suckered into coaching and wanted to have games where the parents were NOT INVITED! They definitely were more annoying than the kids.

Kyla @ Mommy's Weird said...

Awww. Good post and lesson learned, Hubs.

Gin said...

I coached my daughter for several years and my number one rule for my parents - you can yell all the encouragement you want. It's my job to yell directions and corrections!

OneFunnyMotha said...

Happens to the best of us, but I think having fun is more important than winning esp at that age.

Cabin77 said...

When Buddy was in soccer at ages 4, 5 and 6, we had a coach that wouldn't let the parents talk/yell/coach at the player on the field from the sidelines unless it was to cheer them on. Not even a "her comes the ball" - nothing except, "Good job" or "Yes!" If someone did coach from the sidelines (and I'm not saying I did . . . maybe) he'd come and stand facing the offending parent for about 5 seconds, obstructing their view of the game while smiling. He was all about them learning the game and enjoying the game at that age. Needless to say, no one ever did it twice. And we LOVE that coach to death!

mary said...

Good for you for realizing that! I was at a soccer game for my 6 year old (he's 24 now), and the coach for the other side was yelling at his son, who was the goalie, constantly. I had to run after my 3 year old, who wasn't into watching his big brother's game for some reason, and when I got back I discovered all the Moms from my team were over on the other side of the field talking to the coach. Come to find out they'd gone over to tell him that if he said one more mean thing to his child that we were going to take our kids off the field and end the game there and then. I watched as he walked over to his child, hugged him, and told him he was sorry. I've never seen anything like it. And he was a postive force for the game after that. I've always hoped that Dad learned that his son was more important than any soccer game. I'd like to think he did.

Dusk said...

My husband is our childrens' basketball coach. I have to remind him at lacrosse games that he's not the coach there! He's usually pretty good but some games, man oh man!

The Incredible Bitch said...

My Ex was that parent. My kids no longer play sports because of it. And if they do, they make sure it's a sport he knows nothing about. ;)

Megan Norman said...

I play women's league soccer & coach at the high school level. At my daughter's 6 year old summer soccer game, she got whacked in the face for the first time with a ball. My daughter is VERY overdramatic and I feared she would melt down in the middle of the field. So, I stood up, in front of alllll the other parents on the sidelines, and started yelling across the field "It's okay, honey! Don't cry! Mommy gets balls in her face all the time!!!!" Yup. Didn't even realize what I had yelled in front of 30 parents & 25 children until the guy sitting behind me started snickering.

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