Parents: Careful of the Mixed Message

Often unknowingly, parents give kids a mixed message when it comes to playing youth sports. Parents mean well of course, when they insist that kids go out and have fun, but they do not realize the mixed message they send with the “I just want you to have fun” statement.

The mixed message comes about because rarely is the have fun sentiment left at that. Many parents do one or many of the following things before, during, or after games that put pressure on kids and suggests that sport is more than just going out and having fun.

Common Parental Mixed Message 
mixed message

Parents say “have fun” then proceed to:

Tell them a million things to do during games.

Continually enroll them in leagues, camps, clinic, lessons, etc. without considering whether the child wants to or not

Get noticeably upset during and after games when kids struggle

Nag kids to practice more

Berate their child’s coach when their kid struggles

Grill players after games as to why they did what they did

Act mad or ignore kids after bad performances

These are all common ways that parents send a mixed message to kids that they just want them to have fun. Rather, it is go out and have fun, but make sure you do well along the way or there are consequences – an unhappy parent.

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