Supportive soccer moms have better relationships with kids, says study

February 2, 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: Parents help shape how much pain preschoolers feel after vaccination

Related Stories

Almost half of trans pupils have attempted suicide

November 15, 2017

A recent report by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender charity Stonewall, found that 80% of transgender youth have self-harmed, and 40% have attempted suicide. So the Church of England's recent guidance to its schools, ...

Trauma takes a toll on half of U.S. kids

October 24, 2017

(HealthDay)—Nearly half of American children have faced at least one traumatic experience, such as the death of a parent, witnessing a violent crime or living with someone who is suicidal or abuses drugs or alcohol, new ...

Recommended for you

How to cut your lawn for grasshoppers

November 22, 2017

Picture a grasshopper landing randomly on a lawn of fixed area. If it then jumps a certain distance in a random direction, what shape should the lawn be to maximise the chance that the grasshopper stays on the lawn after ...

Plague likely a Stone Age arrival to central Europe

November 22, 2017

A team of researchers led by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has sequenced the first six European genomes of the plague-causing bacterium Yersinia pestis dating from the Late Neolithic ...

Ancient barley took high road to China

November 21, 2017

First domesticated 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East, wheat and barley took vastly different routes to China, with barley switching from a winter to both a winter and summer crop during a thousand-year ...

0 comments

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.