Dear Sue Ellen,
“I have a 10-year-old son that plays baseball. He loves it, but there is a Dad on our team that screams at his kid during practice and games. Last week that kid messed up the play, and his Dad loudly made fun of him. It upset all of the kids on the team and everyone felt bad for the little boy. I really wanted to punch that Dad, but I know better. What can I do? Don’t tell me to talk to the coach because I have already done that!”
Dear Frustrated Mom,
Wow! He sounds like the same guy that screamed during my son’s games thirty years ago. Screaming parents definitely need help. But how do you help someone that doesn’t see a problem? When a parent is braying like a donkey during their child’s ball games, do they think they are being clever, or using good parenting that will magically motivate their kid to become perfect in all things?
Research shows that verbal abuse has the same negative effect as physical abuse. In other words, when that Dad screams at his son and humiliates him in front of the team it injures his son as badly as taking his fist and slapping his face. The more I think about this, the angrier I am getting. Yeah….there is a part of me that would like to punch that Dad too, except for what I know about the cycle of abuse.
Parents will raise their kids like they were raised. It is true. Are you reading this, parents? Chances are, the screaming Dad on your team had a parent treating him the same way as a boy. In fact, it is possible that the sad little boy on my son’s team thirty years ago could very well be the Dad on your team today.
Here’s what you can do. Take a stand against child abuse and family violence. Parent education is the key that unlocks the door to healing for the broken parents that are raising broken kids.
Please email your parenting questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.