It's easy to get swept up in the competition and energy at your child's sporting event. We all want our kids to perform well and for their team to win. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rooting for and enjoying your child's success and her team's success.

But there is a fine line between supporting your child and her team and being an obnoxious and rude fan.

All of the kids on the field competing likely have parents or loved ones at the game. Even though they are on the opposing team, they too, are rooting for their child to have a standout performance.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind before you attend your next youth sporting event.

Cheer for Everyone

One of the best things that you can do is set a positive example by cheering for all players on the field, regardless of the team they're on. This is tough to do because we are conditioned to root passionately for the team we like and to root vehemently against their opponent. However, these players are not professionals — they're kids. They're competing but they're also having fun and learning important life lessons — like good sportsmanship. You can set the tone from the sidelines.

Be Positive

It is human nature to criticize, especially in the sports world. It's one of our country's great hobbies — Monday morning quarterbacking the big game from the night before. When it comes to youth sports, however, it's important to limit the criticisms, whether they be yelled from the sideline or whispered into your child's ear. Before you speak, try to turn any real or perceived criticism into a positive thought. Instead of pointing out a negative play, find a way to emphasize the effort and encourage your child to make a better play the next time. Our kids know they made a mistake, if you acknowledge it, it only makes them feel worse.

Don't Let Them See You Sweat

While we're watching our children, our children are looking back at us for validation and support. Imagine how it looks to them if we're angry, cursing, yelling, or behaving in a destructive manner. Also, if your child makes a mistake on the field and you react in a negative way, imagine how much that will pile on to the hurt they already feel. No matter what is occurring on the field, play it cool and try to keep a poker face.

Don't Yell at the Coach or Referee

This dovetails with the tip above but it's worth mentioning — when you're on the sidelines, keep your opinions about the refereeing or coaching to yourself. You are a spectator and a supporter. That's it. Also, leave the coaching to the coach. Even if you believe a different player should be inserted into the game or if you feel the team needs a change in strategy, there's no need to share it. Those are the coach's decisions only and he probably has specific reasons for his choices.

Think of Each Other's Feelings

No matter how badly you want to criticize or comment on a play or player, try your best to maintain your composure. Remember that everyone on the field has supporters at the game and you might make a derogatory comment within earshot of someone's mother or grandmother. It's simply not right. When in doubt, ask yourself, how would you feel if you heard another person maligning your child's performance?

After the Game, Build Up

Once the game is over, your child will likely replay it on the ride home. Whether the team won or lost, this is where you can reinforce good sportsmanship with your comments. Remain positive, lend an ear and sympathize but try to refrain from being critical or reinforcing a negative perception of others on the team. As a parent, you need to be the model of behavior for your kids to emulate.