Parents Should Steer Their Kids Away from Criticizing Other Players

By Peter Schwartz | Posted 4/9/2019

One of the greatest things about youth sports is the opportunity kids get to form friendships that could last a lifetime. Not every player on the team goes to the same school, so sports also provide kids with the chance to make friends from different places.

Unfortunately, there are instances where kids don’t get along and these situations can lead to some issues, including youth athletes walking away from a sport they love to play.

RELATED CONTENT: Good Athletes Have More Than Talent, They Have Character

Not every child is born with the same athletic ability, but each kid with the desire to play deserves to be respected by their teammates and coaches. On more than one occasion, my wife and I have witnessed a player being made fun of by their own teammate and as a result, that player ended up quitting.

Now where does that come from? Was the player speaking their true feelings about their teammate or was that thought coming from somewhere else?

More than likely, these initial thoughts come from parents and when a child hears and shares them, it’s going to lead to trouble. If the feelings do truly come from the child and their parents are aware, they need to make sure their child knows to be respectful, regardless of their opinion. It’s crucial for parents to step in when these issues arise because every child deserves the opportunity to play in a comfortable environment.

Just because your child can throw a perfect spiral or run for a 70-yard touchdown, doesn’t mean he or she has the right to pick on a child without the same talent. All the encouraging words in the world aren’t going to do anything if a child is scared to play on a team with a teammate or teammates that are going to say mean things. 

RELATED CONTENT: Let Your Child's Talent Do the Talking


We’re talking about youth sports here, not the professionals – and I can tell you from years of covering the pros, if a player at that level disrespected their teammate, it wouldn’t be tolerated. Unfortunately, most players at the youth sports level aren’t going to deal with it – they’re going to walk away from it.

So, let’s all try to do our jobs as parents and prevent these situations from happening. 

Peter is a sports anchor for the CBS Sports Radio Network, FOX News Headlines 24/7 and WCBS 880 Radio in New York.  His son Bradley is playing middle school football and flag football on Long Island while his younger son Jared plays flag football.   Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a youth football field.