A Man U fan like Dad
Should we brainwash our kids into supporting the teams we like?
A sports anchor recently asked me ‘how do you avoid indoctrinating your kids into supporting the sports teams that you do?’ And as a supporter of what I consider to be the best teams in their fields of sports, my response was easy.
If you support a team like Manchester United (which I've supported from the days when Liverpool dominated English football) in football, and Ferrari in F1, and the Bulls in local rugby, then you are indeed honour bound - in fact I would venture to stress that it is your parental duty - to indoctrinate your kids into supporting these amazing teams.

If, on the other hand, you support pretenders like Western Province, or Red Bull Racing, or Liverpool, well then it makes sense that you have to insist that your kids support better teams.
Jokes aside though, for me a key ingredient to good parenting is allowing or teaching your kids the value of making up their own minds after receiving all the information necessary to do so.

Man U in the blood

I blindly inherited my support of Manchester United through my Dad's rabid support. But back then Man U was at best a good team with exciting prospects. Although I also liked teams like Tottenham and Everton in the 80's because they played a similar exciting brand of football.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that even though I inherited United's support, I would have gladly changed my allegiance if they had started playing a different kind of football or did something that in my personal opinion did not gel with me.

I think there comes a time in any kid's life when their choices will be severely questioned and even ridiculed. The first time this happens seriously would probably be in their teens when guys can quite easily come to blows for supporting a rival club, or badmouthing another team.
It would be at these moments that your kids would already have had to figure out for themselves what it is about their choices that drove those choices in the beginning.

I mean, do I support the Bulls because they've been in good form recently? Or do I support them because of the traditions and winner mentality of a franchise that have visited both sides of the pendulum of success?
The answer to these seemingly simple questions lies in your kid's ability to process the information, weigh it up against social and peer pressure, factor in personal desire, and then make a choice they can both live with and support with gusto! And the responsibility to instil this brightness in the minds of the littlees is squarely yours.

All you do is give them the facts. Man U is the best football team on the planet, makes the most money, and has the most supporters, the play exciting football, have a super cool manager and and and... The other teams are just, well the other teams we have to play against to make the world of football interesting.

You see how easy that was? Now your little angels will make informed and intelligent choices in their selection of sporting teams to support!

Tune into Sports Fan on Monday 4 October 2010 at 9pm on the eNews Channel on DSTV for the full (albeit brief) story on how I responded to the question.

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

Do you try to influence your children to support your favourite teams? Do they?

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