Supportive soccer moms have better relationships with kids, says study

Feb 02, 2009 By Quinn Phillips

(PhysOrg.com) -- There's no handbook on parenting athletes. University of Alberta researcher Nick Holt is trying to help though.

Holt led a study looking at parenting styles of soccer moms and dads in Edmonton. His research team followed two girls' squads for an entire summer season; one under-12 team, the other under-14. They observed behaviour and at the end of the season interviewed 56 parents. They found three different styles; the most common is autonomy supportive. Thirty-two parents from 18 families fell under this category.

"The parents set boundaries for their kids but would allow the kids to make decisions within those limits," said Holt.

The second most common style was controlling parents; 13 parents from seven families set strict rules for their young athletes.

"They expected their orders to be obeyed without explanation," said Holt.

The third was a mixed style that sees one parent as controlling, the other as autonomy supportive; 11 parents from seven families fell under this category. Holt thinks all parents should strive to be supportive for a number of reasons.

"The kids feel they're making the choice, rather than feeling they're forced to do something. When the pressure to act is there, kids tend to give up," said Holt.

He also says parents will have a much better relationship with their children if they're not as strict.

"Autonomy supportive parents had more open communication with their kids and their kids would ask for feedback after games," said Holt. "The more controlling parents tended to have pretty closed communication; during the car-ride home the kid would not want to speak with the parent and didn't want any feedback."

Holt thinks parents can change from a more strict approach to supportive.

"These aren't personality things; it's just behaviours," said Holt. "We know there's no guideline on how to parent your kid in sport, everyone is just learning by doing it."

Kids can help too. Holt found in this study children often influenced their parents over time.

"For example, if a child showed that they could be responsible, some of the parents said they would be less controlling."

Provided by University of Alberta

Explore further: Collin Burns in 5.253 seconds sets Rubik's Cube time record (w/ Video)

Related Stories

Report says schools still shortchanging gifted kids

Apr 13, 2015

The report A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America's Brightest Students changed the conversation about academic acceleration in this country's schools when it was published 10 years ago.

Consumer groups claim YouTube kids app 'deceptive'

Apr 07, 2015

A coalition of consumer and child advocacy groups asked US regulators Tuesday to investigate Google's new YouTube app for children, claiming it inappropriately delivers too much advertising to young viewers.

Kindergarten and crime: What's the link?

Mar 19, 2015

Children who are older when they start kindergarten do well in the short term, academically and socially. But as teenagers, these old-for-grade students are more likely to drop out and commit serious crimes, says new research ...

Recommended for you

Report details benefits of investment in basic research

Apr 27, 2015

Last year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency ...

Heinz Awards honors six for solving critical human issues

Apr 23, 2015

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher who has developed artificial human "microlivers" that can safely test the toxicity of drugs without endangering lives is one of six people chosen to receive Heinz Awards.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.