How to Use Science To Get Out of Being a Soccer Mum or Dad

by DavalosMcCormack on June 23, 2008

When I was growing up playing soccer (football as we called it in England) no one’s parents ever came to watch them play, and they certainly didn’t drive them to the game. The basic rule of thumb was that if you wanted to play, good for you, but make your own way there and back.

Now, everyone I know who has kids seems to spend half their non-working hours driving kids to and from games. Shirley says she always secretly used to hope her kids teams would lose so that they wouldn’t have to drive halfway around the state for tournaments. She’d stand on the sidelines cheering, but inside she was hoping they’d get beaten. Oh the shame of it all eh! But you know, somehow I’m guessing she wasn’t alone. Now if I’d been her kid she wouldn’t have had to wish. Most of the teams I played on were terrible, and I wasn’t much better, so we lost a lot.

However, I digress.

Nowadays most parents seem to spend all their time driving around to games, watching games, then driving home. So it’s no wonder that a new study found that parents who are prone to “road rage” are also prone to “sideline rage” where they yell and scream at players, officials and sometimes even get involved in fights with other parents.

The study, in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology says if you have a tendency to become upset while driving, then you are more likely to become upset and get really angry watching your kids play soccer or some other sport.

The researchers called this category of parent “control-oriented people” and the lead researcher, Jay Goldstein of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said “In general, ‘control-oriented people’ are the kind who try to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. They have a harder time controlling their reactions. They more quickly become one of ‘those’ parents who are unable to separate their ego from their kids and events on the field.”

Now, I’m not telling you this to make you feel bad. I’m telling you this to give you a quick way of getting out of watching your kid play yet one more bloody boring game. Here’s what you do. Print up a copy of the study and as you are driving your kids to the game start screaming at other motorists, then pull over, hand them the study and tell them you can’t take them to the game because it wouldn’t be safe for them or anyone else. Go home, open a beer or pour a glass of wine and relax. Easy eh!

Chances are your kids would have lost anyway so all you are doing is sparing them the pain and humiliation that accompanies defeat. Think of it as doing them a favor. One day they’ll thank you. Yeah, right!

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