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Posted May 14, 2013
by Lianne Castelino, www.whereparentstalk.com
As we look high and low for consistent signs of spring, our three offspring are well-entrenched in summer sports activities, namely, baseball, softball, soccer and ball hockey. They love it, we love them loving it. It's all good. Mercifully, our boys are on the same soccer and baseball teams and are able to transport themselves when required, so the schedule is very manageable.
What is increasingly unmanageable though is the behaviour that after all these years of participating in, watching my kids play and hearing about my friends' kids experiences is --- parental behaviour. Questionable, largely unethical, disrespectful words, thoughts and actions carried out by (thankfully) a minority of individuals, who are increasingly growing in number, ever so slowly.
You may have met some of them. They stack teams, yell comments, usually don't lift a finger to volunteer as a coach, assistant coach, vociferously question calls, coaching decisions, bend the rules left, right and centre, slyly encourage cheating, winning at all cost, or they run everything and control teams, gavmes, outcomes, standings and the like from their lofty perch. Tons o' fun.
Our family has watched this behaviour at various venues and against a litany of backdrops/arenas/fields for years. We usually don't say anything and watch these people derail themselves. But still, to this day it still amazes me.
When adults display an overt need to WIN vicariously through their children no matter the circumstances, something must be said. They are fashioning children who will likely do the same. Great -- a whole new generation of cheaters awaits.
Note to them: get over yourselves, it is only a game, remember your age, and finally, if you can't do any of these, STAY HOME.
The problem with saying nothing, as I have said to my kids on occasion, is that inaction, inevitably supports this cheating behaviour. By the same token, saying something, anything pits a RATIONAL mind against an IRRATIONAL one. Who do you think will 'win' that debate?
In our family, we joke about it. Not ideal, but you've gotta laugh to keep your sanity.
Fortunately, for whatever reason, my kids have always landed on teams with fair and sane coaches. We tell them to accept whatever team they are on and whomevery their teammates are, even though most other teams feature stacked lineups built for minor sports supremacy. We tend to repeat to them the refrain -- 'you get what you get and you don't get upset'. None of these factors ever seems to bother them. Even the few times they have the option to choose friends/teammates to play with, they elect to choose one with the belief that selecting more than one is not fair to everyone else. I don't know where this all comes from, but we support it wholeheartedly.
Apart from the infantile behaviour of these 'overzealously competitive parents', the people I feel bad for most are their children. They will likey grow up to expect their mom or dad to gallop in on a white horse and rescue them when they don't win in life. Too bad it doesn't work that way. Can you spell depression, anxiety, failure complex?
I also feel bad for those coaches who choose to play by the rules, who don't realize or figure out too late that this type of behaviour is out there. They innocently put together teams, lineups, dedicate their time and effort to volunteering as coaches, etc., only to see their teams lose repeatedly or have their genuine efforts undermined by this 'unfair' element.
As I brace to watch these various dramas unfold, (some have started from day one), I wonder, who are the real children here? Even the smallest of children understand the basic prinicples of right from wrong don't they?
Posted May 9, 2013
by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
Several years ago now, I learned a term within a business setting, taught by a consultant who was brought in to educate us on a bunch of different things. He was good, his message most interesting. I took several things away from it. One of them was one of the 'golden rules' in business, but you could easily argue in life and most certainly in parenting.
Under promise. Over deliver.
Succinct, powerful, logical and rational. And absolutely bang on.
Lately, and perhaps there is a correlation between the nuttiness of life these days, the speed at which we all seem to be moving, whether by choice or necessity, I have experienced a litany of people, situations, circumstances where people are NOT doing what they say they are going to do.
I personally have a 3-strike rule. People get three chances to screw up in my book (weighed by the level of the screw up), before I start to write them off and spend less time, energy or anything else on them.
But when it comes to bigger, more official people in positions of power who are merely paying lip service, saying they will 'get back to you by...', 'call you on this date', 'follow up with you tomorrow at 4pm', etc., etc., and then turn around and DO NOT DO what they say they are going to do, I slowly become irate.
Why commit yourself to such specifics, if you likely have absolutely no intention of fulfilling it? Or if you know you aren't going to be able to fulfill the promise, for goodness sake let that person who is expecting the promise to be delivered --- KNOW ABOUT IT.
Have we become so ignorant as a society, do we lack empathy to such a degree that we need to behave like this?
We are always telling our kids ---- 'do what you say you are going to do'. If that is to clean your room, take out the garbage, whatever. Don't tell us what you think we want to hear, and then under-deliver. That is irritating.
For people who set their personal bars high (which I do), under promising and over-delivering can be a frightful and foreign concept. I have come to learn that is it more a lifeline and a reality check.
It makes far more sense to set a realistic bar, deliver on it, then incrementally lift that bar higher as you move forward.
No different in parenting. Just when you think your kids are not paying attention, they remember what you said in frustration last Saturday when you promised to buy ice cream or a toy or whatever --- when your offspring finally settled down or did their chores, etc.
There is nothing more aggravating than over promising and under delivering. It shows a blatant lack of respect, in my view for everyone involved. It seems to be sport these with people aided and assisted by technology --- hiding behind technology issues, voice mail collapses, dropped calls, and every other excuse in the book to defend themselves for not delivering.
Helping child set and achieve goals, set realistic expectations and achieve them is as important as any lesson we may teach our children in their lives. It certainly is not easy, especially we are are running around town not doing what we say we are going to do.
Posted May 2, 2013
by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
Had the most intriguing chat with a business acquaintance a few days ago. He is not married, and doesn't have children. But at one point the conversation turned to parenting. He brought it up. I listened intently, agreeing and shaking my head in affirmation (inside my head of course), so as not to appear overzealous about what was perplexing this person and why I agreed so completely with his stance.
Whether parents want to admit it or not, and frankly it doesn't really matter what age your child is, the innappropriate content that exists online and the ease of access to it is, in a word, frightening.
Firewalls, restrictive software, YouTube disclaimers, scoldings and warnings only get so far. The question that this gentleman and I (many times especially in recent years) are asking --- why is porn not being policed on the net?
In a world where homemade bombs, terrorist plots, jihadist training, murderous plans and schemes, cyberbulling seem to preoccupy the waking moments of many of us, it seems that butt naked men and women performing unspeakable acts have eluded our attention. It is most definitely time to shed light on this growing concern.
As the parent of two teen boys and a nine-year-old girl, this topic is on my radar. Not because I have had to address it in my household so far (goodness help us if and when that time comes), but because it is part of the reality of parenting in 2013. Period. If you do not come to grips with the p-word, it just may put you in a vice grip and have you flailing helplessly.
Regardless of your opinion on the existence of porn in the world at large, children of any age SHOULD NOT have access to it.
Add that to the idea that children these days seem to know too much from a young age, then add to that the idea that they seem to mature at a rapid rate, throw in the reality that girls seem to mature at a more accelerated rate than boys and you suddenly have a pretty potent mix. Once you throw in unrestricted access to porn on the internet --- CRINGE, we all should cringe.
I don't pretend to know the answer but whatever that answer is has to be quite stern and sweeping in nature. No exceptions.
This is serious stuff. It deserves our undivided attention. Especially because kids, by and large, learn much by modelling behaviour they see.
What is scary is when they feel the need to model behaviour that they likely do NOT understand.