Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: GrammarNerd on September 21, 2013, 10:41:35 PM

Title: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: GrammarNerd on September 21, 2013, 10:41:35 PM
My DH is the head (volunteer president) of a kids sports program. 

We (and I don't say this lightly; he may be the president, but I see and have to deal with (even peripherally) some of the stuff that goes on)) deal with a lot; normal league stuff, as well as the inevitable issues.  All in all, there's a lot of  stuff.

One thing is that there's a parent who is one of the stereotypical awful kids' sports parents.  Her kid doesn't play enough.  Her kid isn't getting coached right.  Her kid has an awful coach.  Whatever....she's PO'd about it, and she lets everyone know what an awful program we have.  She's very vocal.  I can't convey how much.  She's negative about EVERYTHING.  I'm convinced that she just loves to complain.

Seeing the time that my DH devotes to this (for the past 4+ years!!), I kind of take offense to this from her.  We try.  We really try.  We do the best we can.  We are a volunteer league.  We rely on parent VOLUNTEERS, and we expect a certain code of conduct among parents and players alike.  She, herself, does nothing extra for the league or her team.  Her son, quite frankly, is not a star player at best, and borders on being a disruption to his team at worst.  He has even been caught swearing during practices and using derogatory comments toward other kids.  His skills are lacking, and I know for a fact that he's received instruction on correct fundamentals because our own son was on the same team as this boy.  He just doesn't put them into practice, and his parents don't reinforce this.  The mom just chooses to complain instead of working with her son. (Son has admitted to his coach that he doesn't have anyone to work with him to practice fundamentals.  If you know anything about kids' sports, you know you won't go as far without parental support and involvement.)

So, being on the periphery of this, is there any way that I can deal with this mom, politely but still not compromising my loyalty to our league (I know we do the best we can)?  I have heard her complaining about our league for over a year.  Last year, she boasted (to me!) about going to a neighboring league b/c our league was so (expletive; not kind).  I, wisely, kept my mouth shut, partially b/c I couldn't think of what to say, and partially b/c I was so stunned b/c she was very vocally and rudely dissing our league when she knew my DH was the head of it.  She went to the neighboring league for an abbreviated season, and I was stunned to see that she was back with our league for the main season, and that her son was on my son's team.  I was able to witness his skills firsthand.  He had potential, yes, but he just didn't build on it, for whatever reason.

Has anyone had experience with a parent like this?  I know that I shouldn't really give her time in my brain, but by the virtue that my DH is the president and I'm involved on the periphery, I'd welcome opinions on how to deal with her negativity.  If you know anything about a situation like this, you know that it's often not just my DH's problem, but mine too.  So I'd appreciate any helpful advice.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Hmmmmm on September 21, 2013, 10:51:33 PM
"You seem very unhappy with this league. Maybe the other league was a better fit.Do you plan to move to move back next season?"
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 21, 2013, 10:59:08 PM
"Perhaps you should look into coaching that will focus on your child's stregths."
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: GSNW on September 21, 2013, 11:16:08 PM
One thing I've found that works DURING games is just saying, "Please try to stay positive during competition," and repeat x 2938420984234 until she shuts up and/or walks away. 

With the incessant complaints about coaching, the way things are run, etc?  Since it seems like you have tried to hear her out/explain/etc, just, "I'm sorry this league is such a bad fit for you and Little Joey."  Yes, it's a pointed statement, but enough is enough. 

Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: cicero on September 21, 2013, 11:33:36 PM
Sounds like she'll just kvetch to whoever will listen. So stop being that someone. and while i understand that you are working * with* your husband even though * he* is the head honcho, I would stay out if *this* one, and play the 'it's not really my call' card.

So when Jane says 'it's not right, DS never plays and the coACH is terrible, and..." Just smile and say 'oh, you have to take th up with PTB/coach/president. Oh look! OtherTeam just fumbled a shot/I have to go check on the snacks/bean dip"
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Katana_Geldar on September 22, 2013, 01:37:21 AM
There's no way to ban her or take disciplinary action? If this were adults I bet there would be
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: weeblewobble on September 22, 2013, 05:12:41 AM
My parents were heavily involved a booster program for one of my activities in high school.  Mom was in charge of uniforms and one major area of equipment.  Dad was the president of the booster club, which involved a ton of budgeting, fund-raising, financial planning, volunteer coordinating, etc.  Each season, it was like a second full-time job for them both.  And they both had to deal with complainers.

Jennifer's mom thought the uniforms were ugly and unflattering.

Aaron's dad didn't see why the kids should have to spend so much on participation fees.

Carrie's mom was sick of volunteering at the concession stand.

Brandon's dad was upset that his daughter didn't get enough play.

Usually, the parents just wanted to vent and then they'd drop it.  But for chronic complainers, they would say, "I'm sorry you're so unhappy with the program.  You're more than welcome to leave at any time.  We'll refund X% of your fees."  and behave as if the complainer's leaving was a foregone conclusion.

In 99 percent of the cases, the complainer would back down and complain less. In the remaining one percent, the complainers actually left.

The bottom line is that as the president of the league, your husband (and you, by extension) will have to deal with the parents, good and bad.  And you need to learn to cope with the stress associated with the bad.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: bonyk on September 22, 2013, 05:40:49 AM
I like weeblewooble's response.

I don't think this lady is going to go away and knock it off without actual direction to do so.  "I'm here to enjoy myself.  I don't want to hear complaints.  Follow Complaint Procedure if you have an issue.  Good bye!"
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: *inviteseller on September 22, 2013, 08:24:24 AM
If you had said it was a dad doing this complaining, I would have thought my family moved to your city. We finally had to tell this man and his DD (who thought she was the next Pele but could barely run) that it would be best for them to leave the team.  They moaned, groaned, innundated the poor President of the league with phone calls (he had our back) and threaten a lawsuit, but no other team would take her and I was a happier coach with her gone!
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: lkdrymom on September 22, 2013, 08:32:01 AM
When my kids were involved in football & cheerleading there was a code of conduct form all parents had to sign. And it was inforced.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: CookieChica on September 22, 2013, 08:53:03 AM
There's no way to ban her or take disciplinary action? If this were adults I bet there would be

This. There was a parent who had been kicked out of TWO local leagues before he ended up in the one my husband was coaching in. He was 21 at the time and had been asked to coach because all the parents declined (including Mouthy). Mouthy's son was talented so his problem was that my husband thought 8 & 9 year olds should have equal playing time and experiment at different positions. One day, the third baseman errored in a close game and the other team one. Mouthy screamed at my husband and got in his face. DH dropped the equipment bag and told Mouthy he should coach if he didn't like the way it was done.

Mouthy threatened a lawsuit because DH "threw the bag at his face". The league suspended my husband to appease Mouthy and let Mouthy take over coaching.

It may not surprise you to know that Mouthy was banned from that league too by the end of the year. From what we heard, he seemed to tone it down enough that he lasted with the fourth league, which is good because his son was very sweet and talented.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: camlan on September 22, 2013, 09:11:47 AM
I'd go with a combination of WeebleWobble's suggestion for now:

Quote
Usually, the parents just wanted to vent and then they'd drop it.  But for chronic complainers, they would say, "I'm sorry you're so unhappy with the program.  You're more than welcome to leave at any time.  We'll refund X% of your fees."  and behave as if the complainer's leaving was a foregone conclusion.
[/b]

and a signed parental code of conduct form, in the future.

Stop trying to appease, justify, calm, reassure, shut down this parent. Just flat out say she is welcome to leave if she doesn't like the way things are run. Short, sweet and to the point.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Thipu1 on September 22, 2013, 09:37:30 AM
My sympathies. 

This happens in all sorts of organizations.  When he was Chairman of X Department at Humongous University, SIL's DH likened his position relative to the faculty as that of a fire hydrant in the presence of dogs. 

There will always be chronic complainers.  Posters here have given excellent advice on how to deal with them.  If most others are satisfied with the situation, civil but direct is the tone to take. 
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: MrTango on September 22, 2013, 10:08:39 AM
"You seem very unhappy with this league. Maybe the other league was a better fit.Do you plan to move to move back next season?"

I'd take this line, but go a step further:

"You seem to be unhappy with this league and your child's behavior is disruptive to the other players.  Best of luck finding another league that will be a better fit for you and your child."
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: PeterM on September 22, 2013, 12:18:08 PM
I'm only familiar with kids sports programs from my own childhood, which as far as I can remember is back before parents got ridiculously out of hand about these things, but would Complainer's actions be covered by a required parental code of conduct? It sounds like she's complaining about the league itself more than screaming and causing a disruption during the games, though of course she might be doing that, too.

I second the suggestions to try to steer her out of the league, though I have pity for whoever gets her next. You might try to aim her at a league you don't like or are in competition with, though that might be a bit much.

You say her kid is getting good instruction but no practice to keep the skills up. That's where I'd counter-attack. The next time she says something about bad coaching, tell her that all the kids are getting good coaching during practice but that it needs to be kept up between practices and games, and ask how much time she and her husband spend practicing with him at home. She might well say that's not her job, but things just don't work that way. If you just want your kid to learn the game and have fun, little or no extra practice is fine. If you want him to excel, he has to practice a lot on his own time.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: sweetonsno on September 22, 2013, 02:52:30 PM
I think there are a lot of good ideas here. I'd use PeterM's suggestion first. Remind her that all of the kids are getting the same coaching during practice and ask her how much time Junior spends reinforcing his skills at home. Suggest that he spend a little bit more time on it and offer some ideas on how she can support her son in that way.

If that fails, try the "it sounds like this league may not be a good fit, fare thee well" idea.

If she's really that big of a problem and her son is breaking the rules, then the folks in charge might seriously consider asking him to leave.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: bopper on September 22, 2013, 06:39:08 PM
"Parent, this is an all volunteer organization.  If the level of coaching is not what you would like, I would suggest your son looking into a travel team.  There you may get the level of instruction you would like. Also, there are private lessons over at the "Sports Shack."  You may find that practicing with your son a bit everyday will help.  But unless the volunteer coaches are not having the minimum one practice per week and not playing your son a minimum of 5 innings, then our volunteer coaches are doing what we ask.  "
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: TootsNYC on September 22, 2013, 07:17:48 PM
You could just stick with something simply.

"I'm sorry to hear you're so unhappy being involved with the team." Mildly sympathetic, not a lot of stress, no indication that you're truly apologizing--you're sorry to HEAR she's unhappy; you're not apologizing for whatever it is she's crabbing about. And absolutely NO sarcasm.

I think you can even walk over to whatever group she's currently regaling with her criticism, say this, and then walk away. That's why it's key that it be mildly sympathetic. It's not that you're wantint to listen, you're just saying, "Oh, sorry to hear that, my sympathies, gotta go."

It'll let her know that you're noticing. And the problem is that she's unhappy--not that something is wrong with the team, but that she's unhappy. It's her problem.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 23, 2013, 07:13:46 AM
Does this parent volunteer in any way on this league?

My husband used to coach.  There were so many parents who thought they should have a say, but when asked to volunteer and help, all of a sudden they were too busy.

Well, you know what, unless you are behind the scenes helping out, you have no clue. It got to be so much, that this is basically what I started saying.  And unless, you are willing to step up to the plate, then let those who do, do their job.

Not much was said after that because no one wanted to volunteer.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Seraphia on September 23, 2013, 08:26:55 AM
I think there are a lot of good ideas here. I'd use PeterM's suggestion first. Remind her that all of the kids are getting the same coaching during practice and ask her how much time Junior spends reinforcing his skills at home. Suggest that he spend a little bit more time on it and offer some ideas on how she can support her son in that way.

I agree with this.

My DH has coached a couple different sports over a few different grade levels. There are *always* complainers.

One grandfather tried multiple times to get DH fired from a volunteer position. Why? Because when Grandfather had played -mumble- years ago, "we did X drill, and why don't you make these kids do X drill, it's the only way they'll learn, they need discipline, these kids." Never mind that they ran Y drill every practice, which is X drill modified for 7th and 8th graders, that wasn't enough. Grandfather escalated to the principal, and was finally laughed out because....he doesn't actually have a child on the squad. He just wants the sport run the way he remembers it from 19whatever.

Guy reappeared this year. He's now demanding that the head coach at the HS be fired. Take a guess as to why....
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: GrammarNerd on September 23, 2013, 08:33:36 AM
OP here....in answer to a few questions:

No, she doesn't volunteer.  We have a minimum volunteer requirement, but she gets her older daughter to do it so she won't have to.  In fact, we had a minimum age or if you were under the age, we had a working-with-a-parent-for-several-hours-before-you-can-work-alone requirement.  She was informed of it (by DH) and kind of blew him off.  Then she tried to have her kid work anyway, and got all irate with DH when he called her on it.  (They'd also 'volunteered' the daughter to work for other people if they paid her, so I also think they were upset that the daughter wouldn't be able to make some money.  ::) )

She's divorced from the kids' dad and lets everyone know how awful he is.

All of the coaches are volunteers, but we still do charge fees to play.  We have a facility to maintain (with taxes!), officials to pay, equipment to buy, etc.  When she complains, that is one thing that we hear a lot of....how much she pays, yadda yadda yadda.  I think the next time I personally hear this, I'm going to tell her that with all of the hours that we put in volunteering, WE still pay full price too!

One of her big things is that if her kid is sitting too much or isn't playing key positions frequently, she'll fire off a scathing letter to the coach.  She did this with the current coach.  I'd talked to a previous coach, and she did the same thing with him (he actually volunteered this info to me when we weren't even talking about her at all, so I know she made the same impression on him.) Luckily, this current coach had very good records of when/where he played each kid and how often each kid sat out.  He was able to confront most of her 'assumptions' with hard facts to refute that what she was saying was simply not true.  One of her beefs was that the kid never got a chance to play a certain position (actually, two positions, and they're the most difficult positions and most highly skilled positions to play).  The fact was that the entire team was asked at the beginning of the season who wanted to do that, and he never expressed an interest.  So they worked with those kids that DID express an interest.  Then 3 weeks into the season, the kid said something *before a match* and expected to be able to play that position.  With no practice.  The coach shut down that complaint pretty quickly and effectively.  (Yeah, she called him 'rude' b/c he wouldn't discuss with the kid's older sister before the match about playing the brother at a certain position.  Like she thinks that he should stop getting ready for a match to listen to a 12 year old girl about where her brother is playing, when he's trying to get 12 kids ready to play?  Seriously?)  He also said that if the kids want to play those positions, they need to practice at home.  He went on to say that the practice extends to basic fundamentals of the sport, and how he still needed practice with those.  He also brought up the swearing aspect and told her that he told all of the kids that they would be benched for an entire game if he hears any more of that.  Frankly, I wanted to give the coach a pat on the back for the response that he gave her.  And this is a brand new coach who stepped into the role at the last minute b/c they didn't have anyone else to do it!  (I think someone needs to remind her that her kid wouldn't even have a team to play on if it wasn't for this coach.)

I really would love for my husband to just kick her out of the league, but I know it's not my call.  I mean, I hear negativity (but thankfully way more positive things overall.)  But with her, it's just constant.  It has spanned years.  It's the least little thing, the least little perceived injustice to her pweshus.  (She's good friends with another mom who's son IS a star player....he's truly probably the best player in his age bracket.  That kid is just naturally talented, but he's well-mannered, is focused, and practices as much as he can.  I've wondered if complainer mom somehow mentally puts her own son in the same class as TalentedKid just b/c they're friends, and expects the same opportunities from the coaches.) She must really have blinders on if she thinks that her kid has anywhere near the skill level of some of these other kids.  If she kept it to herself, fine, but she makes all of these accusations and mean comments and scathing letters to coaches who are just trying to do the best they can, and doesn't do ANYTHING to make the situation better, like actually get off her butt and WORK with her kid, or help out our league in a different way.  I mean, this is how it is.  Your kid is NOT a star player, and you're not even doing anything yourself to help him improve.  If you don't like it, then by all means, go somewhere else. 
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Coralreef on September 23, 2013, 11:01:58 AM
I would offer to refund part of the fee is she is so unhappy.  If volunteering some hours is mandatory for the adult (I may have misunderstood, if so disregard the comment) and complainer does not do her part, just drop the kid from the team.  He doesn't seem to be so set on improving anyway.

Does her complaining disrupt official games?  Umpires / referees can bench or ban a player or parent from a game if they are disruptive. 

When DD was still playing ringette, there was a team that had horrendous parents that would simply NOT STOP COMPLAINING about everything, from the colour of the shirts to the slant of the sun through the windows.  At one memorable game, they complained so much that the referee warned them to shut up.  They didn't, so the referee stopped the game and gave the victory to our team.  It didn't shut them up right away but they were quieter at the next meeting.   
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: BeagleMommy on September 23, 2013, 11:18:58 AM
A friend of mine coaches his son's basketball team.  This team is about 12 7 year old boys.  No scores are kept, it's strictly to learn the fundamentals and have fun.  He's compared it to herding cats.  The boys have fun but their attention spans are not good.  They break into hysterics at body noises.

One family is convinced that their son is the next incarnation of Michael Jordan.  They are mightily offended that no scores are kept and everyone plays equally.  He said this family does nothing but sports and doesn't even care if the child does well in school.  Their child WILL get a basketball scholarship to a major college followed by a stellar career in the NBA.

He told them bluntly "This is not a competitive league.  If that's what you want, there are others around that are competitive.  These kids want to have fun."

They left.

OP, maybe your husband should lay out the facts for this woman.  Something like "I understand you're unhappy with our league.  If you cannot devote some time to volunteer and assist your son with practice it would be better to find a league that meets your needs."
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: TootsNYC on September 23, 2013, 11:36:34 AM
I would offer to refund part of the fee is she is so unhappy.

I wouldn't! That just rewards her. And it's not what her fee is for--her fee is NOT for excellent coaching. Her fee pays for the facilities, the insurance, etc.

Of the things she complains about, not one of them is something she actually pays for.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: PeterM on September 24, 2013, 12:18:46 AM
They break into hysterics at body noises.

To be fair, so does my wife.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: sammycat on September 24, 2013, 12:25:45 AM
OP, maybe your husband should lay out the facts for this woman.  Something like "I understand you're unhappy with our league.  If you cannot devote some time to volunteer and assist your son with practice it would be better to find a league that meets your needs."

I like this wording.  Call her bluff.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: o_gal on September 24, 2013, 07:42:37 AM
She went to the neighboring league for an abbreviated season, and I was stunned to see that she was back with our league for the main season, and that her son was on my son's team.  I was able to witness his skills firsthand.  He had potential, yes, but he just didn't build on it, for whatever reason.

I don't know if anyone has commented on this, because I see a lot of responses of trying to get her to leave and go to another league.

She can't. Her son was kicked out. It was an "abbreviated" season. She's now back, because you are probably the only league that will put up with her at this time. His skills are not that great that the other league was willing to put up with her and his bad behavior. She is never going to leave your league.

You now have a choice - continue on and do nothing about her or tell her to please leave forever and refund her money. I can't see that there really is any other solution to this.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: wyliefool on September 24, 2013, 08:13:40 AM
"Oh, you're so right, it's terrible, but there's nothing we can do. I'm sorry to see you leave, and hope you have better luck elsewhere. Bye now!" And have the kid immediately removed from the next game's schedule, because obviously he won't be playing w/ the team anymore since it's so awful.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: StoutGirl on September 24, 2013, 11:44:22 AM
Ick, these types of parents ruin the experience for everyone else.

I remember when I was in 4-H, there was a family in our club that had left previously on bad terms, but came back years later with their second and third kids, who are just atroctious.  Like before, they were minimally involved in the club, did the EXACT same demonstration on the 4 stomachs of cows every single year, and never participated in club activities and fundraisers.  Then they would complain that our club didn't do anything, it wasn't fun because the club did not go on extravagant trips, and the kids weren't getting anything out of it.

Then the fair would come around and they would show cattle.  The parents hired someone to work with the animals for the kids.  Then the kids would always win grand and reserve champions, and would be snooty little gloats about it.  Ugh, maybe this is a sin, but every year, I would hope that they would not win because it was not fair.

Since then, they have left the club because the bylaws were FINALLY enforced and they did not meet the required amount of attended meetings or volunteered events.  They ended up joining FFA instead.  ::)

Anyway, OP, I am not sure how I would handle this.  I almost wonder if establishing a set of bylaws would help and get more parents to help out, along with consequences for behavioral problems from unruly kids.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: dlws92 on September 24, 2013, 07:45:59 PM
Much sympathy to the OP.  Parents like that seem to be everywhere!  I was the office manager for a dance studio for 2 years ending recently.  There was one mom who complained about EVERYTHING!  She rarely complained to me at the desk...you know...the person who could actually DO something about it.  Instead she complained to other parents in the waiting room (the waiting room for the second studio was on another floor)....she would post on the business's Facebook page about how she didn't get what she wanted ...on and on.

Every year she would come back.  Boggled my mind!  The owner gave her the "you might be happier elsewhere" speech...I did...other parents did.  She is still there after 4 years of complaining.

Problem with parents like that is that their negativity can be catching.  Unfortunately ignoring it can come back in the form of other parents, especially those new to the organization, thinking this is acceptable/normal behavior.  Or, they find her being around so distasteful, they pull their kids.  I strongly suggest the "you might be happier elsewhere" or "why don't you volunteer?" speeches be given.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Shoo on September 24, 2013, 08:28:31 PM
I coached my daughter's minor league softball team one year.  There was one parent who refused to work in the concession stand (a requirement).  She told another mom that working the concession stand was for SAHM's and people who didn't have "real" jobs.  Another time she blamed me for her missing her son's soccer game.  I had to cancel practice one day because it was monsooning, and apparently, she made arrangements to take her daughter to practice so she had to miss her son's soccer game.  So because I cancelled practice, it was MY fault she missed the soccer game.  What a peach, huh?
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: TootsNYC on September 24, 2013, 09:11:28 PM
Much sympathy to the OP.  Parents like that seem to be everywhere!  I was the office manager for a dance studio for 2 years ending recently.  There was one mom who complained about EVERYTHING!  She rarely complained to me at the desk...you know...the person who could actually DO something about it.  Instead she complained to other parents in the waiting room (the waiting room for the second studio was on another floor)....she would post on the business's Facebook page about how she didn't get what she wanted ...on and on.

Every year she would come back.  Boggled my mind!  The owner gave her the "you might be happier elsewhere" speech...I did...other parents did.  She is still there after 4 years of complaining.

Problem with parents like that is that their negativity can be catching.  Unfortunately ignoring it can come back in the form of other parents, especially those new to the organization, thinking this is acceptable/normal behavior.  Or, they find her being around so distasteful, they pull their kids.  I strongly suggest the "you might be happier elsewhere" or "why don't you volunteer?" speeches be given.

Maybe it's time to stop talking about the problem and go straight at it. The person in charge formally and privately says, "You must stop criticising the volunteers who work here. You aren't bringing producting feedback, you're just complaining, and you need to stop it. It hurts the community that is created around this activity."

It wouldn't be wrong, in the OP's case, for the head of the team (who happens to be her DH) to formally ask for a meeting with her and then say, flat-out, "You've been complaining a lot to the other parents. I'm going to ask you to stop. If you have a problem, please lay it out right here, to my face, right now. We'll discuss it. And then I need you to not grouse about things to the rest of the team community. It's souring the atmosphere, and it's counterproductive.
     "It's also directly and personally rude to me--it's rude because you don't bring these problems to me, because you refuse to accept any explanation I do give you, and because it's incredibly disrespectful of the unpaid hours I cheerfully put into giving the kids a great experience.
     "It's also very hurtful to your son's progress in the sport--he hears your complaints, and he thinks he shouldn't have to practice on his own. All the kids who are playing more than he is? They practice on their own. Their skills get better than his, faster than his. One of the reasons your child isn't doing well is because of the remarks coming out of your mouth. You are teaching him the wrong lesson--completely counter to what sports is SUPPOSED to teach kids. Kids are supposed to see how powerful it is to WORK toward a goal. To work hard and see progress. You demand progress without work.
    "I don't want to hear again that you are badmouthing me or badmouthing this organization in anyway."

Be authoritative, and be direct.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: tinkytinky on September 24, 2013, 10:28:40 PM
Oh, my! these parents are everywhere!  One thing that they need to remember is that the umpires/referees remember the loud, rude, back talking parents. Not just the comments to the officials, but about the coach, teammates, or the other team.  Unfortunately, this means that they start watching very closely for errors.

Another thing they need to remember, what they say is usually heard at home as well, so her son is probably hearing this and it colors his view of the team. Instead of going out and having fun, he will most likely be trying to deflect his own errors (and they all have errors, even the best of them) on somebody else..."I missed it, but Joey threw it wrong", "Bobby may have made the basket, but I was in the 3-point range and he should have just passed it to me", etc. It can make the whole team tense and take the fun out of it for everyone.

I agree that she needs to be talked to, nipped in the bud. The "sorry this isn't working for you, maybe the other team is a better fit" speech may be the right approach.  It may be your husband that has to give her the speech, though, to make it more official.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: MrTango on September 25, 2013, 09:49:52 AM
Much sympathy to the OP.  Parents like that seem to be everywhere!  I was the office manager for a dance studio for 2 years ending recently.  There was one mom who complained about EVERYTHING!  She rarely complained to me at the desk...you know...the person who could actually DO something about it.  Instead she complained to other parents in the waiting room (the waiting room for the second studio was on another floor)....she would post on the business's Facebook page about how she didn't get what she wanted ...on and on.

Every year she would come back.  Boggled my mind!  The owner gave her the "you might be happier elsewhere" speech...I did...other parents did.  She is still there after 4 years of complaining.

Problem with parents like that is that their negativity can be catching.  Unfortunately ignoring it can come back in the form of other parents, especially those new to the organization, thinking this is acceptable/normal behavior.  Or, they find her being around so distasteful, they pull their kids.  I strongly suggest the "you might be happier elsewhere" or "why don't you volunteer?" speeches be given.

Maybe it's time to stop talking about the problem and go straight at it. The person in charge formally and privately says, "You must stop criticising the volunteers who work here. You aren't bringing producting feedback, you're just complaining, and you need to stop it. It hurts the community that is created around this activity."

It wouldn't be wrong, in the OP's case, for the head of the team (who happens to be her DH) to formally ask for a meeting with her and then say, flat-out, "You've been complaining a lot to the other parents. I'm going to ask you to stop. If you have a problem, please lay it out right here, to my face, right now. We'll discuss it. And then I need you to not grouse about things to the rest of the team community. It's souring the atmosphere, and it's counterproductive.
     "It's also directly and personally rude to me--it's rude because you don't bring these problems to me, because you refuse to accept any explanation I do give you, and because it's incredibly disrespectful of the unpaid hours I cheerfully put into giving the kids a great experience.
     "It's also very hurtful to your son's progress in the sport--he hears your complaints, and he thinks he shouldn't have to practice on his own. All the kids who are playing more than he is? They practice on their own. Their skills get better than his, faster than his. One of the reasons your child isn't doing well is because of the remarks coming out of your mouth. You are teaching him the wrong lesson--completely counter to what sports is SUPPOSED to teach kids. Kids are supposed to see how powerful it is to WORK toward a goal. To work hard and see progress. You demand progress without work.
    "I don't want to hear again that you are badmouthing me or badmouthing this organization in anyway."

Be authoritative, and be direct.

In my mind, saying "Best of luck finding another [group/team/studio] that better suits your needs" is tantamount to kicking the offending party out of the current group/team/organization.  When I suggested it earlier in the thread, that's what I was thinking.  It's not intended to be a suggestion that the offending party should consider leaving, it's telling the offending party that they're gone by wishing them luck finding their next group.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: TootsNYC on September 25, 2013, 10:54:23 AM
True, but it's not quite as direct--I can see them staying and complaining anyway.

And, you also that the idea that now they're going to complain to everyone that you kicked them out.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: MissRose on October 09, 2013, 07:51:46 AM
My sister was a competitive gymnast from age 10 to 17 (high school graduation) for the local gym during middle school then the high school team.  My mother was highly involved: driving my sister to practices and competitions (and sometimes taking a few of my sister's teammates), participating in fundraisers, keeping scores, video-ing competitions, help with tear down and setup of equipment when the high school team hosted a multi team invitational meet yearly, booster club meetings - just to name a few items.

Some of the parents had an issue with even coming to competitions and/or a few booster/parent club meetings - they thought paying the fees for coaching, practices, leotards, & other stuff was enough, plus drop off & pick up of their kids.   Its one thing if parents have to work a lot, but most of the parents did not have to work weekends from what my mother learned.  The kids who did better in competition were the ones whose parents made an effort to be there compared to those parents who made few or no appearances for no good reason.

On the other hand, my sister did tell me my mother was pushy and critical of her performances.  My sister was very talented and did the best she could.  My sister told me that the scathing words of my mother would make her go hide in her huge closet and cry.  Keep in mind, my mother was NEVER a gymnast and was never given the chance to participate in organized sports because: #1 her father would not allow it at all, and #2 it was not overly accepted for women to be involved in sports in the early to mid 1960's so I believed my mother was trying to live out her unfulfilled dreams via my sister.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: zyrs on October 13, 2013, 10:42:05 PM
They break into hysterics at body noises.

To be fair, so does my wife.

Mine too.

On topic;  I agree with TootsNYC.  It's time she was sat down and talked to.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Optimoose Prime on October 15, 2013, 05:30:34 PM
In my case, it was my husband.  Our son was playing "coach pitch" baseball at age 8.  My husband thought the coach wasn't doing things right but luckily, he only complained to me.  I told him to either volunteer or shut up.  He got the message.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: RegionMom on October 15, 2013, 05:39:56 PM
http://1061evansville.com/chicago-area-parks-department-posts-signs-at-little-league-park-with-rules-for-parents/

Park put up a sign warning parents not to fuss.

Seemed right to put up here.

At our church, we respond to complaints with, "Oh, I see that you have a problem with how Volunteer Mom works item xyz.  In what way would you like to volunteer yourself, so as to help all the children?  Thank-you so much!"

Sometimes the parent does not realize/remember that we are all volunteers. 
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: GrammarNerd on March 25, 2014, 10:20:12 PM
UPDATE:
This is an oldie but a goodie.  Thought I should give a little update.

My son got a great coach this year.  We've had this coach before, and my son really likes him, as do I.  He has it all together, and he knows what he wants to do and how he's going to do it.  The coach and his assistant have been around for a lot of years and are very well respected. 

Of course, as luck would have it, Complaining Mom's son is on this team too.

However, I KNOW this coach can handle complaining mom.  In fact, when I saw that the son was on my son's team, I thought 'this is going to get gooooooood.'  He tells it like it is. 

Of course, the mom probably won't have anything to complain about with these coaches; like I said, they're awesome.  We had a parent meeting and they made a lot of good points.  One of the things that was key was that the one coach said that a player will not play certain positions until the kid has demonstrated the ability to be able to handle that position.  In other words, playing that position has to be earned.  Bravo!

The coach even touched on the volunteer aspect, and said that everyone HAS to volunteer; it's part of the league.  He wasn't mean, but matter of fact, that volunteering is a requirement. 

I've known the coach for several years, and we've had a lot of good talks.  I told him later (in private) that this mom likes to complain a lot, but I told him that I knew he could handle her.  He chuckled and said that if I didn't notice it, the whole meeting was basically a preemptive tactic to stop that type of thing before it ever got started.  I got it.  And man, if she complains at all, she should just quit the sport, b/c her kid is on a team with the best coaches out there, and if they aren't good enough for her, nobody will be. 

This should be really interesting. :)
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
Post by: Roe on March 26, 2014, 01:08:43 PM

I told him later (in private) that this mom likes to complain a lot, but I told him that I knew he could handle her.   

TBH, this seems a bit rude on your part.

I'm sure if she's as bad as you say she is, then the coach would've figured that out on his own. 

My dad (and my DH in later years) used to coach all sorts of teams and if I came across a mom who "warned" the coach of this or that,  I was equally cautious of that parent.  Seems a bit gossipy to me.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: TootsNYC on March 26, 2014, 01:15:34 PM
I'll confess to a similar reaction. I also think those things are not really polite to the person like the new coach. He's really on the spot.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: AbbyW on March 26, 2014, 03:35:58 PM
I would normally agree, however when both people have a leadership position, I view it has sharing important and confidential information that may give insight on how to manage the team.  If she had said it to another parent, then I would view it as gossiping.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: GrammarNerd on March 26, 2014, 03:42:12 PM
He knows me, and has for years.  I'm not worried that I came off as gossipy to him.  To anyone else that I didn't know as well?  No, I probably wouldn't have said anything unless I was asked specifically.  And it was already mentioned to my husband by a mutual acquaintance/friend that the coach should be warned about this mom, more of a heads-up.  Yes, a friend of hers wanted to warn the coach, so that says something right there. 

And yes, AbbyW, that's kind of how I viewed it too.  There are other problem parents that we've dealt with in the past, and if the coach doesn't know about them, someone in charge usually gives the coach a heads-up that the parent could be looking for trouble, so the coach can plan accordingly.

But thank you for your insight (really, not being snarky).  I don't intend to say anything further to the coach; I'm just going to cheer loudly (but respectfully) for the kids!  And I don't think complaining mom will have any complaints about this team, but if she does, then I will certainly consider putting some of the previous comments into play.
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: bopper on March 27, 2014, 03:21:16 PM
If the Coach knows about the problematic parent, then if a typical parent said "I can handle planning the half-time snacks if you want" he would probably say "great". But if the problematic parent volunteered and he had foreknowledge about how they micromanaged the process and upset other parents, he might say "We can rotate, I already have a plan" or "Sure, I will let everyone know that Oranges are fine for the snack".
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: jedikaiti on March 27, 2014, 06:04:09 PM
The coaches not GIVING her something to complain about is not the same as her not FINDING something to complain about. Heck, she sounds like the type to invent something!

So... was she at the meeting?
Title: Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39
Post by: Teacup on March 28, 2014, 02:25:16 PM
Man, I wish I had had some of those suggestions for situations I have been in before.  There were lots of good ones.

The only thing I would add is to make sure you and your husband are on the same 'team' on how to deal with this woman.  It sounds like you are very involved with the league and it's probably well known you are the wife of the president.  It could be very easy for a parent in the league to take something you say as the official stance of your husband and, consequently,  the league.  (For big things. Hopefully not on things like preferred hot dog concession toppings.  Although if mustard vs. relish becomes a hot topic, I want to know  :) )

Sounds like you got a good start on this season!  Hope everyone can have fun and enjoy it.  :D