Q&A: Should My Teen Stand Up to Her Coach?

Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on empowering your teenager to confront her team coach about inappropriate remarks he made that hurt her feelings.

Q. During my 16-year-old's year-end soccer banquet the coach shocked everyone with derogatory remarks about her (and no one else). My daughter is humiliated but doesn't want to call him on it and still plans to try out for the fall. Now what?

A. Ordinarily I'd say somebody has to confront this guy—adults should never get away with mistreating kids. But if your daughter is still against it, tell her you'll agree only if she writes a thorough list answering this question: "What kind of coach makes me feel strong, improves my game, and allows me to have fun?" Then she should write her response to: "What could the adult say or do that would leave me feeling torn down or make me stop loving this sport?"

You and your daughter must have a clear understanding that if the coach does something similar to what's on the second list, one or both of you will talk to him and decide what her options are from that point, including leaving the team.

Originally published in the June 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.