Author Topic: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent...new UPDATE post 39  (Read 14636 times)

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GrammarNerd

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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.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:21:03 PM by GrammarNerd »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 11:51:33 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?"

LeveeWoman

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 11:59:08 PM »
"Perhaps you should look into coaching that will focus on your child's stregths."

GSNW

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2013, 12:16:08 AM »
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. 


cicero

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2013, 12:33:36 AM »
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"

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Katana_Geldar

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2013, 02:37:21 AM »
There's no way to ban her or take disciplinary action? If this were adults I bet there would be

weeblewobble

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2013, 06:12:41 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.

bonyk

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2013, 06:40:49 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!"

*inviteseller

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2013, 09:24:24 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!

lkdrymom

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2013, 09:32:01 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.

CookieChica

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2013, 09:53:03 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.

camlan

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2013, 10:11:47 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.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


Thipu1

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2013, 10:37:30 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. 

MrTango

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2013, 11:08:39 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."

PeterM

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Re: Kids sports....the incessantly complaining parent
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2013, 01:18:08 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.