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Rugby has changed – now the parents need to

Rugby has changed – now the parents need to


The Parenting Place applauds the Rugby Union and clubs for tackling sideline behaviour at children’s games. Protocols, handbooks and referee training are changing the culture at games. Incidents like the pitch invasion last weekend by angry parents at the Ponsonby – Waitemata game show how seriously referees and clubs now take angry, aggressive behaviour. The game was called off, Waitemata's junior club captain settled things down and the whole issue has been referred to the ARU. It also shows that some parents still have to catch up with the way the world has changed.

“In actual fact, it is not a huge change, just a retuning,” says John Cowan of The Parenting Place. “The usual passion that gets a parent running on to the field and aggressively challenging others is actually a good passion – a desire to defend your child. When parents realise that their actions actually work against their child – it embarrasses them and interferes with their game – they will work on their angry behaviour. What disturbs me more is when we see parents with a different passion: their own ego and a distorted idea of sport. To hear parents abuse another team or the ref is unpleasant but to hear them abuse their own child is heart-breaking. In that case, the most powerful coaching case can come from others on the sideline. Those parents who are destroying their children’s self esteem need to hear other Mums and Dads coming alongside them and bravely saying, “Keep it positive!”


ENDS

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