Do ask if you don't want to know

I am a pastor and Sunday I preached on Parent Child Relationships.  We followed it up with a round table discussion Sunday night where we had parents and children/youth/adult children draw out questions from a box to answer in front of the crowd.  Great time for our church and families.  My youngest son drew the question

What is the most embarrassing thing your parents do?

His answer.  (Deep breath)  I hate when my dad yells at my ballgames.  When he is my coach it is somewhat okay.  But when he is a fan I don't need it.  I asked him later.  What do you think kids want from parents as a whole.   He said.  I think we just want our parents to be quiet.  Be fans and sit and watch.  Don't cheer for me or my friends, don't yell at the umpires or referees, don't coach me, don't do anything but just enjoy the game.  Do what you do in the summer, which is be quiet.  He looked at my wife and said that includes moms.  Most of my friends don't really like when their moms yell either.  Especially those who don't have a clue.  And when I see you after the game we don't have to replay every play.  Just say good game or you sucked.  I'm ok with that. 

I know this has been covered but it is different when you hear it from your kid.  Huge wakeup call.  I know some of you will say you are that parent but I've never met that parent.  All parents fit in here somewhere whether it is at the games or at home.   Or both.

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PitchingFan posted:

I am a pastor and Sunday I preached on Parent Child Relationships.  We followed it up with a round table discussion Sunday night where we had parents and children/youth/adult children draw out questions from a box to answer in front of the crowd.  Great time for our church and families.  My youngest son drew the question

What is the most embarrassing thing your parents do?

His answer.  (Deep breath)  I hate when my dad yells at my ballgames.  When he is my coach it is somewhat okay.  But when he is a fan I don't need it.  I asked him later.  What do you think kids want from parents as a whole.   He said.  I think we just want our parents to be quiet.  Be fans and sit and watch.  Don't cheer for me or my friends, don't yell at the umpires or referees, don't coach me, don't do anything but just enjoy the game.  Do what you do in the summer, which is be quiet.  He looked at my wife and said that includes moms.  Most of my friends don't really like when their moms yell either.  Especially those who don't have a clue.  And when I see you after the game we don't have to replay every play.  Just say good game or you sucked.  I'm ok with that. 

I know this has been covered but it is different when you hear it from your kid.  Huge wakeup call.  I know some of you will say you are that parent but I've never met that parent.  All parents fit in here somewhere whether it is at the games or at home.   Or both.

AMEN!!

Our son didn't mind the cheering.   He pretty much zoned it out when he was on the field or at bat.  Not that he didn't hear it, but he would just ignore it.

I learned early on not to bring up the game or a certain play unless he brought it up.

And, yes, at one point I was THAT parent.

Two quick stories related to this...

My wife is apt to cheer, encourage, get on the umpires, etc... when her boys pitch.  She once asked our older son while he was at Stanford - 'Did you hear me out there today?'  Answer; 'No Mom, I don't hear a thing, its just me and the catcher.'

When I played sports, thats the way I was too.  Complete tunnel vision.  Wasn't a choice, just the way it was.  So some kids don't hear any of it no matter what you say.

OTOH, same son, about age 10/11/12.  Playing basketball, I wasn't the coach.  In the stands, I was yelling some instructions...and some criticisms about effort or hustle probably...at our son while he was dribbling up the court.  He stops cold, right in front of me and says, 'Dad, what are you doing, why are you yelling at me?'

I learned a big lesson that day.  He was right.  After that, I pretty much spent my time at games quietly and out of sight.

My son is probably glad that I have mostly always kept my mouth shut.  One of my close friends and fellow pastor, has been kicked out of a game for yelling at an umpire.

He went down behind the left field fence and continued to yell.   We are working on his sanctification. 

FoxDad posted:

Our son didn't mind the cheering.   He pretty much zoned it out when he was on the field or at bat.  Not that he didn't hear it, but he would just ignore it.

I learned early on not to bring up the game or a certain play unless he brought it up.

And, yes, at one point I was THAT parent.

I knew nothing of baseball. I always cheered though, all the way through college. Not only for him but his team mates as well. He was a weekend starter, in college, and rarely played in weekday games. However I went to those games as well. Guess what I cheered for the players then as well. 

He did not appreciate it when he was younger or even as a freshman or sophmore in college.  We had a conversation about it his senior year. He had gotten over it sometime during his junior year. Several ofbthe other players had started asking if we were going to be there. Many were from quite a distance or they just could not make it. They thought it was nicebtobhave someone there rooting them on. We were always positive, however we shut up during blowouts, one way or another. By the time he was a senior he actually aporeciated it.

Guess what, henis still playing. Itbis a weekend mens league. Guess what. Wenstill go ans still cheer. The keynisbto be appropriate. And we are always equal opportunity. We cheer for the other players as well. He is a two way player again, and that makes it even more fun. He even asks us to come. Don't tell him but we even keep a power aid in our cooler. Just in case.

I just sit & watch.  Occasionally I'll clap when a player other than my kid makes a great play.  That's about it.  I've been on the other side of the fence as a Coach for a lot of years, so I try to model my behavior based on how I wished parents acted when I was coaching.  

And, correct, I don't do replay analysis after games.  I just tell him "I had fun watching you play" and let him take the lead if he wants to discuss the game.  The main question I always ask is "are you hungry?" Followed by "whattaya wanna eat?"

In travel ball he likes me to take video of his at bats on my IPad, so I get to be "that Dad" in that way (!)

I will say I felt some level of pride when my kid came up to me in HS and said "Dad, Im so glad your not like a lot of the Dad's yelling instructions, or getting on me during the game".  About the only thing I direct my kids way is yelling "hold em back" when he approaches the plate.  He used to swing way early and it started when he was younger as a reminder to not swing early.  It became superstition as he grew and I yelled it every at bat.  He pretty much ignored it about 3 games after I started yelling it, but it had to continue as it was superstition.

 

Yes, great heartfelt post by OP.  

I'm going to offset his post somewhat while trying not to take away from the important message that comes from it...

Yes, absolutely, we need to be more mindful of how we interact with our kids at their functions.  And athletic events tend to really test us sometimes 

HOWEVER...  a few other things to consider...

These are kids/teens talking.  Of course they are going to say they want us to be quiet.  Heck, many teens will say they don't want you to be there.  But the fact is, they really wouldn't want to play and have everyone in the stands say nothing and not cheer, just silent.  And, by far, the most important thing is that you are there when you can be, flaws and all.  Later, your son(s) will appreciate that you were there.  Later, he will appreciate that your actions, although perhaps sometimes stupid, showed that you love him.

That said, the majority of us go through a pretty steep learning curve as to what we should say and when, learning to harness some of the natural parental instincts and be better about just being supportive of and enjoy being present for our son and his teammates.

After going thru a good portion of my own learning curve, I typically made it a point to say something silly/funny at times that would maybe embarrass them (not too badly) and to show that we weren't taking anything too seriously.  At times, they may not have appreciated it in the moment, but in the long run, they did.  Another key was what someone else mentioned, make sure you are rooting the same way at the same volume or higher with the rest of the teammates as you do with your son.  

I’m so computer illiterate. Above is a snapshot of a text I had with my son after leaving the SEC tourney in Hoover last night. Cabbage’s post above is SO RIGHT!  When my son sent this reply, my heart just about exploded. THIS is what it’s all about. 

younggun posted:

I’m so computer illiterate. Above is a snapshot of a text I had with my son after leaving the SEC tourney in Hoover last night. Cabbage’s post above is SO RIGHT!  When my son sent this reply, my heart just about exploded. THIS is what it’s all about. 

Damn. There's a few tears in my eyes just reading it.

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