Letter from the Superintendent-10.30.17

Positive Parenting for Our Students in Activities

Dear Community,

Almost every parent wants their children to enjoy activities as part of their developing years.  Parents want their children to get the most out of these experiences.  Sometimes things go haywire in our efforts to help our children have these experiences.

Alignment from athletes to parents to youth and high school coaches to administration and the school board, is critical to assure that students have the best possible experience.  At Princeton Public Schools, we believe that a positive approach gets the most out of sports.

Positive is powerful.

The following tips are from Positive Coaching Alliance.

Keep Your Eye on the Big Picture

Life lessons are what students learn from these experiences:  teamwork, resilience, overcoming adversity, communication skills.  Sports are much more than winning and losing at this level.

Remind Yourself of the Big Picture

As adults, sometimes the excitement of the season causes emotions to escalate.  Keep referring yourself back to the big picture.

Shouts of Encouragement

Again, positive cheering for both teams is essential.  Do not coach from the sidelines; that is the coach’s job.  Let the coaches coach.  Did you know that collegiate coaches watch the behavior of the parent as part of their decision-making regarding recruitment?

Other Parents’ Inappropriate Behavior

If you feel embarrassed by other parents’ behaviors--being negative about officials, coaches, or criticizing players--it can be an uncomfortable situation for you.  Maybe a gentle reminder about positive influence could be effective.  Or a group of you could talk to them about the role of parents in keeping the bar high in a positive sports culture.

Talking to Your Child

Your child will have disappointments regarding playing time, losses, etc. Let her/him do the talking.  Listen until they are finished.  When it is your turn to talk, reinforce the life lessons from the experience.  Remind them that they are resilient, and that bouncing back from trying experiences is just a natural part of life.


If you feel that your child needs an advocate with the coach, teach them to self-advocate privately with the coach.  This again is a life lesson.  Do not speak poorly of the coach, as this just puts the child in the middle of an adult conflict.  The activity is your child’s opportunity.  Help them to navigate it themselves.

Next Steps

If self advocating does not work, then ask the coach for a private meeting.  Ask the coach for their point of view on the issue that led you to the meeting.  Listen carefully and try to understand.  Keep the conversation civil.


Of course, if any of the above concerns are related to physical or emotional abuse, address it with the coach.  The protection of children is most important.


Specializing in a certain sport is not wise until the child is 15 or so.  Let your child have a variety of experiences and decide for him/herself.  Many times, collegiate coaches prefer multi-sport athletes.

Finally, make sure that your child knows that you love them no matter what kind of athletic performance they show.  Try to enjoy their sports, whatever they choose.  The life lessons that they learn during their youth will make them better people as adults.

Go Tigers!


Julia A. Espe, Superintendent
763.389.6190 Office Phone Direct Line

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