Family briefs: Parents should stick up for their kids in sports; also, make a pinata

  • Updated: April 26, 2013 - 10:38 AM
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Kids can make these piñatas for Cinco de Mayo.

Stick up for your kid with sports

Other soccer parents loudly criticize your son’s game. Should you go to the coach?

Normally, less is more when it comes to parental involvement from the sidelines.

“Staying out of children’s sports and play is usually the best rule to follow,” says psychologist Anthony Rao, author of “The Way of Boys.” “There’s so little left for them that we don’t manage or influence or push our agenda on.”

But “normally” goes out the window when yahoos are criticizing your child.

“A kids’ soccer game is not meant to be a spectator sport for adults,” Rao says. “It’s not supposed to be a place where we yell or vent our frustrations or get entertained. So I see this as a boundary violation. These are parents who don’t know their place, and it’s really unacceptable behavior.”

Left unchecked, the parents’ offending comments threaten to undermine the spirit of the event.

“When things flip from good-natured rivalry to aggression, the whole point of why you’ve assembled the kids is gone,” Rao says. “Team sports are about staying healthy and having fun and making some friends, and along the way you learn to balance ‘How do I get along with others?’ with ‘How do I get better than others?’ That gets tossed out the window when you have aggression and negativity thrown onto the field.”

By all means alert the coach, Rao says. She or he should remind the parents to keep their comments civil and encouraging.

Meanwhile, you might need to do damage control at home if your son hears the comments.

“Parents are the people who have to tell the truth about the world for their kids, so … it’s OK to explain it as, ‘There are some people, like Sam’s dad, who yell a lot, and it doesn’t feel good, does it? I heard it, too, and I didn’t like it,’ ” Rao says. “A lot of people, even authority figures, don’t behave very well. It’s OK to start talking about that and not feel obligated to explain it away.”

Chicago Tribune

Pull-open piñatas

Make these individual-size treat holders for Cinco de Mayo or as an alternative to favor bags for your next party.

For each, tape a length of ribbon to the top of a bathroom tissue tube for hanging. Cut a ¾-inch-wide X in the center of a 2½-inch square of tissue paper. Glue the square over the bottom of the tube. Cut tissue paper into 1 ½-inch wide strips at least 6 inches long (fold up a sheet to cut multiple strips at once). Cut fringe into the strips. Starting at the bottom, wrap them around the tube, securing them with glue. Tape a ribbon across the X in the bottom. Fill the tube with lightweight treats, such as balloons and plastic animals, and hang it up. Pull the bottom ribbon to release the loot.

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