By GalTime Teen Parenting Expert, Barbara Greenberg, PhD
What do you do when the coach is the bully?Yep, it may be the coach who is your teen's bully. Coaches, in a misguided attempt to motivate your child to run faster, be more alert, more aggressive, or even more involved may use harsh tactics. We have all observed coaches yelling, criticizing, and publicly embarrassing team members especially in the middle of a heated game. While I like to think that most coaches are inspiring and supportive it is high time to address the subgroup of coaches who are intimidating our kids and unknowingly chipping away at their self-esteem and desire to continue the sport.
First, it is my hope that if a number of parents observe a coach behaving in a demeaning manner that they try to address this as a group so that no single child gets singled out. It certainly is possible that the coach is well-intentioned and has little awareness of how s/he ia affecting the kids. Perhaps, the coach will change her behavior and use more effective techniques to motivate the kids and promote team spirit.
Related: Taking the Bull Out of Adult Bullies
If the coach continues to be a bully despite an intervention -perhaps it is possible to get your teen on a different team. You certainly don't want your teen to quit the activity because of the coach. If this coach and this team is the only game in town then you may want to help your teen try a different strategy which will help her build mental resilience. Suggest that she focus on the game rather than on the coach's behavior.
Ultimately, your teen may develop a skill-learniing how to deal with difficult people. However, if the coach's behavior becomes too degrading or belittling I would never coerce a child to continue with this activity. Sports are supposed to build skill, confidence, and team spirit rather than b e a source of anxiety, fear, and dread.
More from GalTime:
- School: A Breeding Ground for Bullies?
- Teaching Kids How to Protect Themselves from Bullies
- 3 Ways to Help Your Daughter Resist Media Pressures
- Trickle-Down Effects of Bullying