Kids react to Tiger Woods apology. How can parents talk about it?
Sociologists and other experts weigh in on how parents can address Tiger Woods's fall from grace with their children.
Standing on the putting green here at Balboa Municipal Golf Course, 14-year-old Terry Coulter and 11-year-old Sammy Greene are interrupted by the local Fox affiliate, which has come to gauge responses to Tiger Woods’s 14-minute televised apology.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Tiger Woods through the years
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“I’m pretty bummed about it,” says Terry, tapping in a three-foot putt. “Here was a guy sitting on top of the world because of the control he demonstrated on the golf course. Why couldn’t that control cross over into his personal life? It makes him suspect to me.”
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” says Sammy. “What a guy does outside his sphere of excellence is just not important to me. He can still be my hero and someone I want to be like.”
The comments frame two sides of a debate that has erupted with Woods's 1,511-word apology Friday, read before a small gathering of friends and colleagues, but carried live across the globe.
He said, “I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting; instead, I thought only about myself.”
The world’s most highly paid sports star is also the role model for millions of youths around the world, a topic that is now bubbling to the surface after months of Woods’s silence about his infidelities.
No matter what your personal opinion of his extramarital behavior – or the way he has handled it publicly – the episode is the perfect “teachable moment,” say a host of sociologists, relationship experts, and sports psychologists.
“I really believe that he is still capable of passing on lessons to kids. Being a champion is about getting up one more time from defeat and moving on with focus. That is what he is doing.”
The past decade has seen a blurring of the line between fame and excellence, Mr. Fannin says. “Kids looking up to superstars today see more about the trappings of success than the essence of it,” Fannin says. “They see guys pictured as drinking Gatorade and wearing Nike shoes and then think, ‘When I get to be great, that’s what it will be like.’ This shows there is obviously more to being a champion than that. This is the lesson to be learned here.”
Authors and relationship consultants Esther Latique and Dr. Joni Fraser say the Woods episode has exposed children to a very dangerous message – that the rules that apply to everyone don’t apply to our heroes. “It’s even harder when we have to explain behaviors that we don’t condone and don’t want them to emulate,” they say.
That's why they feel it is good that Woods stated, "I ran straight through the boundaries that married people should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to.... I don't get to play by different rules."
Parents should go on the offensive, says Susan Bartell, author of the new book series, "Top 50 Questions Kids Ask."