What to Do About That Awful Parent at the Game

Anyone who's ever watched a youth sporting event has undoubtedly witnessed a parent going nuclear on a coach or referee, much to the horror of his child. "Parents have such a strong psychological connection with the child that if the coach makes a bad decision or the umpire makes a bad call or if the child is not playing well, it’s a threat to the parent’s own identity and success," Dr. Dan Wann tellsThe Wall Street Journal. "If a child fails, they fail." So what can be done to rein in a psychotic sports parent? Wann recommends that particularly intense parents enlist a "calm-down buddy"--usually a spouse or a friend--to let them know if their behavior gets out of hand. Wann also encourages youth sports leagues give out "parent of the year" awards to especially sportsmanlike fans, while swiftly ejecting parents who refuse to cool down.

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