Adults urged to kick bad behaviour to the sidelines

editorial image

Children and young people say they are often subjected to intimidating and abusive behaviour from adults as they take part in sport.

Complaints are backed up by a study by East Renfrewshire Children 1st that found swearing and name-calling is commonplace with kids under 12 being pushed, hit, kicked and punched — by adults.

The study also found that physical violence gets worse for players in their late teens with nearly half of responders reporting that the abuse continued after the game or match.

Almost one-in-five said that adults’ poor behaviour affected their performance badly or made them feel like quitting.

A Children 1st statement said: “One eight-year-old said his game was stopped after an adult confronted the official and the two almost came to blows. Young people clearly said that, where incidents had occurred, they were often ignored or glossed over instead of being acknowledged and dealt with.

“One child was told that they were “a disgrace to the family” following a game in which their team lost.

“And during another game, two parents started fighting while their young school-aged children looked on. In the older age-group (16+), young players reported being physically assaulted by adults.”

The Children 1st campaign, Sideline Bad Behaviour, is run by Safeguarding in Sport, based in Pollokshields. and ParentLine Scotland.