‘Extreme' parents and sport: a socio-legal perspective

  • Paul C Singh Department of Sport and Movement Studies, University of Johannesburg, Auckland Park, Republic of South Africa
Keywords: youth, sport, parental-conduct, educators, environment, violence, safety, legal liability


This paper is an exploratory study that aims to determine the nature and scope of parental involvement and conduct in youth sport. It also seeks to determine the legal liability of the main stakeholders in their provision and administration of youth sport. A qualitative research design is utilised within an interpretive paradigm. A literature review and case studies were conducted. It sketches a brief background to the ageold phenomenon of ‘extreme' parents, youth and significant others, who get overexcited and display harmful conduct. It also explores the possibility that educators may be opening themselves and their organisations to potential legal liability by not taking active steps to eliminate such conduct. It presents the principles that help determine when parents, educators and significant others have dropped their standard of care below what is reasonable in their circumstances. Their etiquette when dealing with coaches, officials and youth participants is analysed in the context of eliminating aggressive behaviour in sport, and making sport safe and positive for children from a legal perspective. Recommendations are made as possible solutions to assist with education and positive socialisation practices as well as addressing safety in youth sport.

South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation Vol. 27(2) 2005: 83-99

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069