I Benched a Player During a Game. Here’s What Parents Need to Understand
Parents Just Don’t Understand ~ Will Smith
If you’ve read through this blog at all then you know I am a baseball coach. I have coached through the first 4 years of my son’s baseball career. He’s 8.
This year I coached mostly 7 and 8-year-old kids with a couple of talented 6-year-old kids sprinkled in.
I believe this is the age when kids will either continue to develop their baseball prowess or start looking for another interest.
I also believe at this age children start to learn more about right versus wrong and behavior.
Our Parenting Style
I know over the last couple of generations parenting styles have changed dramatically for some. I also believe this has created a mentality among parents and their children that they are never wrong.
I am not a fan of this thought process at all.
Let me be clear. I don’t believe all parents are like this but there are more now than ever before.
Let me explain.
We teach our children to respect their elders. Coaches, teachers, instructors, aunts and uncles, grandparents, older cousins and anyone else they may need to interact with.
With one caveat. They adult or elder should not be asking them to do anything that is harmful to themselves or to others.
If Isaiah’s teacher asks him to be quiet in class, then that’s what he is supposed to do. Don’t challenge the teacher, don’t talk back and don’t ignore her.
If his grandparents ask him to do something he should do it.
This is called respect. A lot of children today do not respect their elders. A lot of parents today do not expect their children to respect elders and often side with the child.
During game time one or two of the mothers help supervise the dugout to ensure the kids are not out of control.
The kids like to climb the fence, play bottle flip, and of course, talk/yell/argue. General shenanigans occur while the coaches are coaching.
In one incident we were advised by the dug-out moms one of the children threatened another child. This is a no-no.
What the Coaches Decided
We decided to have the child sit on the bench for one inning. To an 8-year-old that seems like an eternity.
He obliged and sat on the bench. He seemed to understand that he was wrong.
One inning later he came back in the game.
In between innings one of the child’s parents approached me. She asked what happened. I advised her that the child had threatened another child and that this would not be tolerated.
I also told the parent that the child would have to sit for one inning.
She shook her head in what appeared to be an agreement but looked a little upset. I assumed she was upset at her child.
The Real Issue – Maybe, Probably?
That was 4 games ago. We have not seen or heard from the child or his parents since even though we communicate to the entire team through an app often.
My assumption is his family decided I was not a fit as a coach and did not want him to play for my team anymore. I should mention that he has been on my team before.
This to me is a dangerous message being sent to the child.
Are we saying if you don’t agree with the coach you just quit?
What message is that sending?
If I don’t agree with my teacher I should drop out of school? If I don’t agree with my boss I should just quit? And the parents are OK with this?
This sends a dangerous message to children.
Kids are kids, I get it. They will fight. They will say things they don’t mean or understand completely. They will try to get out of doing things.
If our children do get spoken to about a behavior that we do not like, they will sometimes offer excuses. Our response is don’t make excuses, correct the behavior, do the right thing.
We cannot give our children a pass simply because you did not like a coaching decision or a teacher’s decision. They must learn to respect authority. Or you’re setting them up for failure.
They don’t have to agree but they do have to respect the authority figure. Coaches and teachers only get tougher as our kids get older.
I have reported to every type of manager you can imagine of in life. I often did not agree. I even expressed my disagreement (which is fine) at times. I was never disrespectful. I never quit because of a disagreement or reprimand.
What do you think? Should children respect authority and their elders?
I completely agree. Kids need to be taught respect and it starts at home. Then is continued through teachers coaches and whatnot. That is not to say this is what happened with this child (unless you spoke with the parents to find out why the child is missing his baseball education). But it is unfortunate that with the ways things are going with our kids these days, that it very well could be. Personally, if my kid was threatening other players… I probably would have yanked him from the game and told him he could not play. Especially if it had been happening often. I had to pull my 3 yr old out of a beginner sports class because he was unable to handle it. I waited for 3 sessions before making that decision though. All the other 3 yr old were following directions while mine was off in left field yelling and screaming!!! He has some sensory issues though and just wasn’t ready.
I am all for disciplining and teaching my kids how I grew up. Nowadays kids have been made to think that they can get a way with anything and not face any consequences which I think is wrong.
Oh yeah, kids need to learn respect. I watch some parents freak out on coaches during games, and I don’t get it. I don’t believe in constantly giving kids passes because heaven forbid you hurt their feelings.
I agree with you. Kids can be a handful at the best of times but parents not teaching respect is just making matters worse. What sort of adult do they expect to have in 20 years time?
Interesting post! Kids can be really tough to manage sometimes. They don’t come with a manual, so I guess that it can become really hard to discipline. But by all means loving and teaching respect should be top priority.
The way some parents act during these games, makes me think they could use a little discipline as well.
Very interesting read, I agree with a lot of this. I think respect is something that needs to be shown and teach at home. And I think kids need to understand there are consequences to both good and bad behavior.
I completely agree! I used to work in college athletics, and there is SO much that parents of children in youth sports should take from it. There are no consolation prizes in college. You win or you lose. And the athletes on these teams are the ones who were raised with the mental fortitude to understand how much you can grow from a loss, just as much as a win. I think that we need to get rid of consolation prized, and definitely need to stop letting kids quit something the second it gets hard. Great post!
This is brilliant. I am a new parent and the tips here will come in handy for me. Although here in India, baseball is not followed as much as cricket, but yeah, the idea pretty much remains the same. Thanks for sharing!! Very thoughtful.
True!!! Parents really need to stop always overprotect the kids and turn them into disrespectful jerks
We had a situation like this with our swim team where when a parent didn’t agree with a consequence for poor behavior, they left, never to return again. I agree that this is a slippery slope to start down with our kids. If they can’t learn how to manage their reactions to reprimand, they are going to struggle throughout life.
It’s a weird situation having to teach life lessons to other people’s children. Maybe reach out, it might be a coincidence. It would be so sad to think of a child missing out because of this.
I can see your point of view, but as parents we don’t always understand.
I welcomed a conversation, just not during the game. I did end up reaching out to them with no response. Oh well.
You did nothing wrong. Kids need to be taught respectful manners and it will show if they aren’t. Hopefully the parents are reflecting instead of blaming.
I fear in today’s parenting some kids think they can do whatever they want and no respect anyone.
I believe in ” Guru equivalent to God!” I have always taught my children to respect them It is unfair on parents part to interfere in coach’s method of teaching.
I never heard that before. Thanks for sharing!
Helicopter parents, tiger moms, and what not. I have promised myself I won’t be any of those for my son.
You didn’t do anything wrong. You are absolutely right. Many parents nowadays are not properly preparing their children for the world if they cannot handle basic discipline and learn respect