Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

"The Schedule Has Been Tough but We Think It's Worth It": The Joys, Challenges, and Recommendations of Youth Sport Parents

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

"The Schedule Has Been Tough but We Think It's Worth It": The Joys, Challenges, and Recommendations of Youth Sport Parents

Article excerpt

As the demands of youth sport participation become more complex and competitive, so, too, has the role of the youth sport parent. Parents provide instrumental support in the form of transportation to and from practices and games, league fees, equipment, and spectatorship for the millions of children and adolescents involved in competitive sport (Baxter-Jones & Maffuli, 2003; Green & Chalip, 1998a; Hoefer, McKenzie, Sallis, Marshall, & Conway, 2001), and thus are integral to the existence of youth sport programs (Hoyle & Leff, 1997). Parental provision of unconditional emotional support serves as a precursor for children's enjoyment of sport (Brustad, 1988, 1996; Power & Woolger, 1994). Moreover, their influence on youth sport and physical activity involvement is significant, in that a young child's motivation, achievement, esteem, and perceptions of competence are largely influenced by their parents (Bois, Sarrazin, Brustad, Chanal, & Trouilloud, 2005; Power & Woolger, 1994; White, Kavussanu, & Guest, 1998).

Parental influence is manifest in a variety of ways. Researchers Stephen Leff and Rick Hoyle (1995; Hoyle & Leff, 1997), for instance, found parental support to significantly relate to enjoyment and self-esteem in young competitors. White and colleagues (White, 1996; White et al., 1998) have found children's goal orientation, learning, and worry to be directly associated with their perceptions of the motivational climate established by parents (and coaches). Moreover, children often rate parents as the most significant source of influence for participation in organized sports (relative to the influence of coaches, peers, or even the child's own decision to become involved (BaxterJones & Maffulli, 2003).

While the socialization of children into sports has been well studied (Coakley, 1986; Coakley & White, 1999; McPherson & Brown, 1988), and the factors relating to youth enjoyment, satisfaction, and motivation are abundant (e.g., Boyd & Yin, 1996; Gould, Medbery, & Tuffey, 2001; Weiss, Kimmel, & Smith, 2001; Wiersma, 2001), those same factors related to the experience of the parent are relatively unknown. Children and adults encounter distinctly different "frames of reference" in the sport setting (Green & Chalip, 1998a), and the experience of the parents while in this venue may influence the extent of encouragement, support, and/or provision of opportunities for their children, and the manner in which this support is provided (positive or negative). Yet an understanding of parental socialization has long been ignored in the youth sport literature, and continues to be so (Brustad, 1992; Fredricks & Eccles, 2004; Green & Chalip, 1998a; Greendorfer, 1992;). As parents remain primary providers of children's sports experience, a focus on the socializing role of the parents, and the nature of their experience, should be a priority.

A relevant theoretical framework by which to study parental roles in youth sport is the Expectancy-Value Model proposed by Eccles and colleagues (Eccles & Harold, 1991; Eccles, Wigfield, & Schiefele, 1998; Fredricks & Eccles, 2004). This framework attempts to explain the factors relating to parental and family influence on a child's decision-making in a variety of domains. According to this model, parents exert two types of influences on children: as "interpreters of experience" and as "providers of experience" (Eccles & Harold, 1991, p. 13). The former role focuses on parental influences on a child's perceptions of competence and esteem, while the latter is characterized by efforts to encourage and provide youth opportunities to be active in sports and physical activity. The ability and desire of youth's long-term participation, therefore, is dependent on parental involvement, especially during the preadolescent years. From this perspective, it is plausible that understanding the factors related to parental socialization will, in turn, provide insight into how or why they provide a positive experience for their children. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.