NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents behaving badly at their kids’ games is nothing new. Coaches, referees and even other parents can be the target of irate dads and moms, upset that their children have been benched or been the victim of a bad call.
However, some parents are going further, and actually attacking kids who may be standing in the way of their child’s success.
“This is so shocking,” said parenting expert Tammy Gold of Gold Parent Coaching. “You don’t expect to see something like this.”
Gold says the behavior, often caught on tape by other parents, is called “lawnmower parenting.”
“These lawnmower parents are the parents who try to come in and literally smooth out an obstacle in a child’s path,” she said.
In many cases, the obstacle is simply another child.
“Having a parent like we saw, jump in, it’s showing your child you can’t do this but I’ll do it for you,” she said.
Lawnmower parenting is not limited just to sporting events. One mom first encouraged her 12-year-old daughter to fight with classmates, then threw punches herself.
“Going to fight the battle is not going to solve any situation and will probably make it worse,” Gold said.
Sharon Ilana says she almost pulled her son out of junior wrestling because the parents were so out of control.
“It’s totally irresponsible parenting,” she said. “In particular, the dads are on the sidelines egging them on aggressively and I could totally see somebody phsycially getting in there and doing something but I think it’s awful.”
New Jersey mom Jill Port agrees that some parents are more out of control than ever.
“Parents try to give their kids an edge that they didn’t have, but they’ll do anything for their kids to have it,” said Jill Port of Short Hills, N.J.
Some say it’s easy to understand a parent’s instinct to help their children when they’re down, but others say parents are going too far.
“You are only teaching them that mommy and daddy will take care of the problem for you,” Gold said, warning that fighting your children’s battles or interfering with their games may only set them up for failure later in life.
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