“…this book can and will help change helicopter parenting behaviour and make a difference for current and future generations…”
– From the Foreword by Rick Hansen, C.C, O.B.C.
“Engaging, helpful and timely.”
It wasn’t my intention to read and review this book during the Rio Olympics, but the timing is perfect, given that sports has been on my mind a lot lately. Note, though, that this book is timely with or without the games, as news items about parents who’ve behaved terribly while watching their kids play sports has become more prevalent in recent years. So, what’s going on?
Author Shane Donen has some insightful thoughts about why some parents take too much of an interest in their children’s sports. His opening chapter comparing parents of today with those in the 60’s certainly gave me a clearer understanding about what’s been happening.
The Hovering Game is well organized, engaging, and well written. Donen provides a clear and detailed explanation of what he means hovering (helicopter) parents and offers interesting stats and theories as to why kids aren’t participating in sports as much as they used to (it’s not all about electronic devices). He provides questions parents should ask themselves to determine if they or their spouses are too involved with their kids’ sports activities. Additionally, he offers good do and don’t tips, and a twelve step approach to assist parents in ensuring that their relationship with their children remains balanced and healthy.
Drawing on personal and professional experience, plus numerous focus groups and conversations with school principals, counselors, and a psychologist, Donen certainly knows his topic. Anecdotes about his own family experiences enhances the book’s engaging tone.
My only critique (and Donen admits that he has a soft spot for coaches) is that he does vent a little about how tough parents can be on volunteer coaches who are trying to do their best. While he portrays coaches as undervalued heroes—and many of them are—I was looking for more acknowledgement that a few coaches shouldn’t be doing the job. Offering guidelines as to when a parent should intervene during sticky situations would have made the section on coaches more balanced for me.
I agree, though, with Canadian hero Rick Hansen’s assessment in his foreword. This is a must-read book for families, educators, and any sports-minded individual who wants to help youngsters remain passionate and committed to sport while still having fun.
— Debra Purdy Kong - Amazon Review
"A good read for any parent"
As a parent of an athlete and good person despite my helicopter tendencies. Shane nailed all of the hovering that I have done myself or witnessed over the years as a coach and parent. This is a great read to better understand yourself and your behaviours while interacting with your immediate or sports family.
Tim M. - Parent - Amazon Review
“Some very practical suggestions.”
I just finished reading " The Hovering Game". Shane you nailed it!! You have put together an easy read with some very practical suggestions. Good for you and good luck moving forward! I have a feeling it's going to gather a life of it's own!! Many of the concepts in the book also apply to people hovering during their kids' high school academic lives. Just because a son or daughter scrapes through high school does not mean they are doomed!! I have seen way too many kids who are now very successful adults because they were able to break away and find their passion! Congratulations on a job well done, Shane!!
— Jeannie C. - Family Counsellor
"Great, practical and down-to-earth read."
Mr. Donen's years of experience as a sports enthusiast, committed coach and passionate, wise parent result in a book packed with gem after gem. These include invaluable information, self-help tips and exercises, meaningful examples, superb quotes and positive enforcement. Although youth sports is the author's focus, the mirror he holds up so that we take a good look at ourselves applies to many other aspects of the parent-child relationship. This book needs to be included in the must-read list for all parents - from soon-to-be parents, to those with children about to enter youth sports, to those who's children are grown and have left the nest, to those who are (or will be) "grand"-parents. Read it now - before it's too late!
- Carol E. - mother of two grown kids, retired librarian
"A Fantastic read for every parent."
It is a fast 2 day read with quick insightful points any parent can relate.. As someone who coached and convened Baseball for 20 years, this book should be mandatory reading for any parent that has children in any level of sports. I have first hand experience with "hovering" parents who would make life miserable for us volunteer coaches and administrators, so I can only imagine how hard they were on their children. Shane breaks down how to identify the traits of a "helicopter parent" and I believe they apply not to just sports but those parents that push their children too hard in school and other non-sports like music or dance. The "self-help" sections at the end are real eye-openers for a parent that wants to change their behaviour.
- Wayne S - Amazon Review
"There is great information here"
I am very pleased to see that Shane Donen has taken the courage to address a challenge we all have had to deal with at one point or another. There is great information here that can help each one of us helicopter parent or not. This is not a book that is meant to point fingers or blame but gently address some concerns in our sports systems and ultimately build confidence in our kids today. Great read.
- Anonymous - Amazon Review
“Enjoyable, Self-grounding, Refreshing”
An amazing read, every parent who are wishing to put children into sports, or have kids already in sports, must read. I will be taking what I have learnt to enjoy my children's future in sports to be able to better support them in the journey. A great tool to have and use to reflect on.
— SKER - Amazon Review
Very insightful read, should be a must for all parents of young athletes.
- Mike B. - Accountant, coach and parent
"Every parent of a young athlete should read this book."
Well written and easy read. For all parents of athletes, younger the better.
- Glen W - Volleyball coach, referee and parent
"A must read for parents of athletes!"
Jamie D. - Amazon Review
"The questions and personal stories made me think twice about my own attitude towards the game and how i can be a better sport parent"
As a parent of a young hockey player, I really appreciated the message in this book. The questions and personal stories made me think twice about my own attitude towards the game and how I can be a better sport parent for my son. This is a must-read for any parent because the lessons not only apply to sports, but to any activity our children take on through which we might find ourselves living vicariously.
- Sidura S. - Novelist & mother of 3