Sport can be a wonderful teacher of valuable life lessons; humility, compassion, persistence, teamwork and collaboration.

 

Children deserve to be permitted and encouraged to experience these life lessons.

You know when a club isn’t diligent about safeguarding this ethos. This is the sort of club where abusive parents are not sanctioned. Where coaches treat kids unfairly. Where girls, non-binary and kids with disabilities aren’t given the same opportunities as other kids. Parents feel unable to raise issues about what they see is going wrong.

As a parent, you can play a huge role in ensuring your club is one where all kids’ sporting experiences, (not just yours,) are positive and life-affirming.

Kids need parents, (you and the others,) to show them the way, to act as role models, to teach them to observe life’s boundary lines.

To always guide and mentor them towards positive behaviours free of entitlement, disrespect, abuse and violence.

This isn’t necessarily a time-consuming responsibility.

But it does require you to be on the alert, to do your own bit in operating by your club’s Code of Conduct and to be prepared to call out bad behaviours in a civil and constructive way. 

Here is some Club Respect advice for being the AWESOME parent kids need you to be.

How to be an AWESOME Club Respect parent

  • A. Alignment of values
    You need to be confident that your child is in the right place.  
    • Check out the club values before you commit to a club.
    • If you have doubt, don’t hesitate to seek out a club that looks to have its act together more than this one.
    • Ask yourself whether this club feels like a place of fun, enjoyment, exercise, personal development and growth, team work and respectful behaviour.
    • Once you’ve found the right club for your child(ren), speak up if you feel that more work can be done on the club’s values. They’re crucial to a positively transformational experience for so many children and young adults.
  • W. Working well with others
    Respect what the coach, or other club personnel, are trying to achieve and constructively support them in their endeavours.
    • Be genuinely welcoming and inclusive in your attitude to those around you. Talk with people, listen closely to what they have to say, show you care, and pay them respect.
    • Understand that club personnel have methods for working with the children and for ensuring that they get the most out of their time at the club. It can be confusing for children if their parents contradict or undermine their coach’s instruction. If you do want to raise something with your child’s coach or team manager, make an appointment with them at an appropriate time.
    • If you have ideas or would like to contribute, find out how you can volunteer.
  • E. Effective communication
    As a parent, you will be mixing with others.
    While it can be trying sometimes, you’ll always get the best results if you’re open, civil and polite. 
    • Loose talk, gossip and white-anting have no place in a club seeking to be a place of respect and regard.
    • If you have any issues or concerns, communicate them with the relevant people at the appropriate time – always in a spirit of co-operation and with a desire to find solutions.
  • S. Success judged (the right way!)
    As a parent, you’re a key driver in creating a community that looks after its people.
    • Be an advocate for the club’s measures of success over winning at all costs. 
    • Nothing much is gained when parents simply drop their kids off at the club. Make an effort to go to club events when you can, to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts around the club in achieving these measures of success.
  • O. Ownership
    You make or break your child’s, and other children’s, sports experience.

    Like it or not, they’re all observing you and soaking up the parents; the good, the bad and the ugly. So, seize your responsibility and opportunity to promote the positive at all times and in all situations.

     

  • M. Modelling respectful behaviour
    Parents are the adults here. Set the standard. 
    • Sign the Club Respect Pledge
    • Make civility, grace and good humour your hallmarks.
    • Be prepared to commend good play on both sides and, importantly, accept the referee’s judgement whether you agree or not.
    • If you see bullying, name calling, or angry outbursts by others, call it out. Either, by yourself in a calm, safe and respectful way or by reporting the behaviour to a club official. If your club has a Member Protection Information Officer (MPIO), they’re the one to go to. 
  • E. Equality and fairness
    Support every child’s right to have fun and participate – not just your own.
    • Keep an eye out for instances of injustice – small and large.
    • Be willing to work alongside others in any role around the club, challenging any stereotypes that might still linger in your club.
    • Go out of your way to embrace and welcome people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
    • Make sure that the clubs assets and resources are shared equally.
    • Accept the decision of the coach not to select your child on every occasion.