It’s that time of year: We’re running all over town taking our kids to the ball park and to the soccer fields and to dance classes. We’re in a frenzy trying to do this and that and be the best parents we can be.
We do all that because we love our kids. But some parents can express that love in weird ways—like yelling at an umpire over a pitch their kid threw or getting in the face of an 18-year-old soccer referee about a call he made against their kid. Isn’t that crazy?
Parents may not realize it, but the truth is that more is caught than taught.
"Parents may not realize it, but the truth is that more is caught than taught." @RachelCruze
That’s a phrase I say all the time because I truly believe, when it comes to parenting, it’s one of the most important principles to remember.
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I talk about that idea in Smart Money Smart Kids, the book I co-authored with my dad, Dave Ramsey. The point is that your kids see how you spend money. If you’re piling up debt on credit cards, they’ll eventually notice. If you’re stressed out over the house payment and the car loan, they’ll see that too.
But here’s the deal: That principle applies to much more than just teaching our kids about money. Take sportsmanship, for example.
We should support our kids on the field and on the court, and we should even be their biggest fans. But we cross the line when we start channeling that energy in negative ways toward other players, coaches and referees.
And you know what? Our kids see that.
If you yell at a referee, don’t be surprised if your kid yells at a referee eventually. Or if you get really upset when your son makes a mistake in his tennis match, don’t be surprised if your son begins to hate tennis.
Some of the most embarrassing viral videos you’ll ever see are the ones of the parent running on the field and yelling at an umpire in a Little League game or two parents from opposing teams who get in a fight at a high school basketball game. What type of message is that sending our kids?
This isn’t about winning and losing. It’s about sportsmanship. And, at its root, sportsmanship is just about being a decent human being, right?
Keep that in mind this weekend when you head out to the park to watch your kid play. Don’t be that parent.
Rachel Cruze is a seasoned communicator and #1 best-selling author, helping Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. Her upcoming book, Love Your Life, Not Theirs, will release in October. You can follow Rachel on Twitter at @RachelCruze, online at rachelcruze.com, or at facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.