Youth sports can bring out the best in children and, sometimes, the worst in adults. Refs and umpires are in charge, period; parents should put the “I’m not going to just stand by and say nothing if I see something that’s not right” attitude on hold.
Here’s some parenting advice I honestly believe can’t be contradicted. It’s aimed at all moms and dads who are about to have their initial experience with youth sports.
In many cases there will be a pre-season meeting to get everyone acquainted and go over practice schedules and other details. At this gathering there should also be a serious discussion about spectator conduct. You all need to be on the same page about what is, and is not, acceptable behavior. And then everyone should make a collective pledge. Raise your hands or take a voice vote but you must all vow to never, ever hassle any officials during a game.
Yes, this sounds like the oldest broken record in the world. News stories about parents behaving badly at Little League games were common when I was growing up in the 1960s. It’s a tradition nobody is proud to support that stubbornly defies it all efforts to quash it. But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying, and I think the best window of opportunity is when families take the first step into organized team competition.