Conduct Becoming a Parent

Published on January 10th, 2017

by Bill Stump
We all look askance at parents yelling at their kids during soccer matches or browbeating coaches at little league games but, when it comes to sailing, why would we sometimes think and act like the same principles of decorum don’t apply? Here’s a list of suggestions to consider:

1. Leave the coaching to the coaches – those trained and paid to do that job. They have the big picture and the best interests of all their young sailors at heart.

2. Leave the rigging and minor repairs of your child’s boat to your child. How else will they ‘learn the ropes’?

3. Be respectful of other parents and their children, and be appreciative of regatta hosts and all the volunteers and coaches involved. Remember, how you act and what you say reflects positively or negatively on you and your child.

4. Take any issues or concerns to the person in charge of your youth program or sailing team – in a polite and respectful manner.

5. And, help where help is needed – loading trailers, driving to regattas, launching and retrieving boats at major events, volunteering for all the many shore-side activities or on-the-water positions needing staffing. Be useful!

This is a short but compelling list meant to improve the experience at junior regattas.

Moreover, if you are as old as I, remember how you learned to sail. It probably wasn’t by having an overly indulgent parent micro-managing your every tack and gybe. Don’t be that person.

Note: Bill Stump is a National PRO and National Judge often serving at Optimist events.

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