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Parents Behaving Badly

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In youth sports, kids are learning all about competition, sportsmanship, respect and discipline. All things many parents seem to be lacking when they watch them play.

And there is no shortage of video – video embarrassing enough to make you cringe.

One woman is angry because her third-grade son was called out at second – she storms the field – gets ejected.

A Pop Warner dad – charges towards the ref for throwing a flag on his son for holding.

Hockey parents going to blows over a change to the roster...a ref tries to break it up.

Parents circle the ref after he makes a controversial call in a game – of eight-year-olds.

Other parents throwing punches – at their sons' soccer game – their boys are only 5.

And one mom – she walks right onto the ice to yell at the ref.

SportmSportsmanshiparly lacking in the stands – and it could have a lasting impact on your kids.

Robert Boezinger is a licensed social worker – and admittedly, a passionate hockey dad.

He says that passion has the capability of blinding parents. "I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that kids are a reflection of self-worth. If it's something they didn't achieve when they were children, whether it's more baskets or more touchdowns or whatever," said Boezinger. 

Nobody has a better view than officials – and Robert Smith knows his basketball.  He was inducted in the Iowa High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame for officiating.  He's been a ref for years on the high school and collegiate levels. But that's not where he sees the problems.

"The biggest problem is elementary and middle school parents. Their behavior is unreal. That's the level where you really see parents cross the line," said Smith. 

And then there's reality TV...it seems not only to fuel the fire – but glorifies parents behaving badly...

One scene out of Dance Moms – a popular show on the Lifetime Network – an all-out brawl inside a dance studio between two moms.

When the competition starts to heat up inside the studio on that same show, the moms' claws come out.

Amanda Freet knows competition, and knows it well – she is the owner of TNT Cheer in Cedar Falls.

Not only do the athletes at TNT have expectations they need to meet – the parents do too – it is transparent from the beginning – there is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to parents behaving badly.

"We make it very clear to parents, that if there is any type of bad behavior, talking poorly about another athlete, that's something we're not going to stand for," said Freet. 

And it's something that if you're in the stands – shouldn't stand for either.  "We all have a responsibility that when we see that behavior – we need to make sure we hold each other accountable to show good sportsmanship," said Smith. 

Sportsmanship. Like everything else – starts at home.

"When you go home, when you're talking to your children, children have ears. Make sure what you're saying in front of your kids is positive – because otherwise they'll bring that negativity into the gym and ruin the teamwork that kids have together," said Freet. 

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