Parents and coaches stress the importance of sportsmanship on and off the field, but it’s important for parents to listen to the message they are preaching.
Year after year you will find parents who fight and cause trouble on the sidelines. Whether it’s a disagreement with the referee or their child isn’t getting equal play-time, someone is usually there to express what’s on their mind. While there is no doubt that soccer can be an intense game, it’s essential for parents to remember that what they say could have an adverse effect on their child’s game.
Please also remember that what is said off the field can affect a child as much as what happens on the field. “Station Wagon Syndrome” refers to parents who criticize the game on the drive home – from coaching decisions and badmouthing referees to who played terribly and also, how their own child played. This puts the emphasis on winning and not on the positive aspects of the game. It sends the message that performance is more important than having fun. Instead, ask your children if they had fun. Talk about what they enjoyed. Sports should be fun for children. Critical parents make it much harder for their kids to enjoy playing.
For more information: http://www.usyouthsoccer.org/bucking_station_wagon_syndrome/