Let’s Not Forget About The Good Dads Too…
Youth sport dads have been making headlines lately for everything that is wrong with youth sports. These ‘out of control, win at all costs, daddy-ball dads’ negative press overshadows the hundreds of thousands of good dads out there doing great things for and with their kids.
The Journal of Marriage and Family reported that dads are spending more time with their kids now than at any other point in history.
Read More: 5 Parent Types That Are Killing Youth Sports
Sports provide the perfect breeding ground for bonding. Men are able to utilize their understanding of strategy, rules, and training as a gateway for a personal connection with their kids. Fathers find it easier to discuss sensitive topics such as the child’s well-being when the conversation is initiated during an activity. Plus the added benefit that sports is a natural setting to teach life lessons. Hard work, aggressiveness, and competitiveness can be more clearly understood and taught in the context of sports and utilizing practices and games as teaching aids.
These shared experiences between dads and their kids naturally brings out these opportunities. And for those dad who struggle in this area, sports can be a great bridge to teach these important and transferable skills.
Lots of parents (and especially dads) are being criticized for being too involved in their children’s youth sports experience. Media, youth sport experts, and researchers like me love to talk about all the problems with today’s overinvolved dad. But there are many more good ones than bad ones. So let’s not forget to celebrate all the dads who make it a priority to connect, mentor, and love their kids and are fortunate to have sports as a vehicle!
Jon Coles, PhD
Assistant Professor, Sport Management
Grand Valley State University