Help them to understand that being a good person is more important than winning at sports. Sometimes, fans glorify sports superstars without knowing much about their character. The desire to identify with the winner contributes to their willingness to overlook bad behavior.
Don’t make excuses for the bad behavior of a star performer. The fact that someone is a superstar doesn’t mean it’s acceptable for him or her to violate the rights of others. Explain to your children that top-performing athletes are responsible for their actions just like everybody else.
The higher the pedestal, the greater the disappointment. Discuss with your kids how idolizing someone can lead to extreme reactions if the person they idolize ends up disappointing them. If you have an example of a fallen idol from your own experience, share that with them. The message here is to learn to view people realistically and avoid seeing them as better than they are. It’s easy to be seduced into thinking a great performer is great in every respect. Help your kids to see that no one can actually live up to such idealization and oversimplification.
Dr. Kate Roberts is a psychologist and parent coach on the North Shore. Questions can be directed to www.drkateroberts.com, www.twitter.com/DrKateParenting, www.facebook.com/Dr.KateRoberts or www.pinterest.com/DrKateParenting.