Professional wrestling (PW) has gained a firm foothold in American culture
and appears to be here to stay. Children comprise a large portion of its au
dience, much to the dismay of many parents and clinicians. Society has stru
ggled with how to respond to their children's fascination with PW, a novel
hybrid between sports and entertainment. Parents expose children to sports,
thinking they will learn healthy ways of managing conflict and aggression.
However, PW is not a sport. Its values are the exact opposite of tradition
al sportsmanship; it demonstrates to children that cheating and verbal inti
midation are effective problem-solving techniques. Because PW resembles spo
rts, children risk applying its values to legitimate sports, as well as oth
er realms of life. Parents can prevent this association by differentiating
PW from sports, and the entertainment industry can prevent it by stopping t
heir aggressive marketing of PW to children.