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Changes In Expectations Of Youth Sports Parents

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PCA National Advisory Board Member Jay Coakley (@SiSCoakley) is Professor Emeritus of sociology at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He has done 40 years of research on connections between sports, culture and society, much of that focused on the play, games and sport participation of young people. His Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies(11th edition) is the world's most widely used sports sociology text.

In this video, Coakley explains how the cultural shift in expectations for parents today has transferred into sports. Coakley states that “at no time in human history have parents been held responsible for the whereabouts and the behavior of their children 24/7.” This shift has caused parents to look at their children in a different way than they did in the past. Today, parents are evaluated by the success of their children, especially in activities like sports because they provide a public, highly visible, and achievement-oriented environment.

One of the biggest problems in youth sports today is that parents feel it is their duty to advocate and protect their child’s interest because they believe no one else will, and parents “see the achievement of their kids as being evidence as their own moral worth as parents.” This has led parents to be involved in ways that we, as a society, have not seen in the past.