The Role of a Parent/Guardian


If your child just joined or is considering joining debate, you might be wondering, what do they even do in debate? What kind of commitments is my child making and what exactly do I have to do? Well… this article is for you. 

Perhaps needless to say, debate is a powerful opportunity that most students don’t get. If your school offers debate congratulations, you’re part of an extremely small number of schools that offer it in the United States. I say this because some students may not immediately see the value in debate so hearing it at home may help. With that said, there are times when debate can be tough. Debaters may be up late the week before a tournament collaborating with their teammates and there will be times when some losses are harder to take in than others. Showing support for your debater and celebrating both wins and losses will boost their self confidence. 

Be sure to read about the role of the debater too as your role is to support them in theirs. It can be tough to mitigate the case (debate) work among other school classes and activities but learning to overcome these challenges is part of what makes debate so powerful. Procrastination can often bring the worst out of a debater… waiting too long to establish their debate work may interfere with their school work and well.. their mental health. You’ll want to check in on them often the week of a tournament, make sure they are getting enough sleep, and not falling behind. 

New topics are announced about a month before a tournament. You can subscribe or check our website so that you can discuss the topics with your debater. Feel free to share your opinion but encourage them to find a different one. Some topics may seem one sided but I assure you they are not.

Sometimes we may come across a judge who we don’t agree with at a tournament. You’re encouraged to submit feedback but never directly to a judge. They are after all, volunteers whom we would not be able to conduct tournaments without. Rest assured our judges team reviews ballots and looks for anomalies so if a debater receives unusually low or high points we will look into the matter and make changes if necessary. 

Now, hopefully I have not scared anyone away because there are lots of things to look forward too. Expect that your debater will start to identify your weak arguments and may become smarter than you on certain subjects. Oh, you mean thats not a good thing? Well if you need a few days off from them you could always send them to Debate Camp. Of course that may only make things worse when they get back.

There really are a lot of things to look forward to I promise. Simply put, debate helps students discover who they are. While learning about global events or third world issues they begin building passion towards a particular subject. It’s not uncommon for them to begin keeping up with the news and submitting new debate topics of their own. They will likely make friends with debaters from different schools and you will start to see their intelligence mature. Debate will give them an edge in just about everything else they do in life from class presentations to job interviews but try not to let it get to their head. 

Last but certainly not least, read through the Tournament Rules and be familiar with everything else on the Resources page. This will inevitably answer questions you may have about debate and you’ll be better equipped to support your debater throughout the season.

Want to do more? Become a judge, volunteer, or donate! Judging might sound intimidating but we promise to train you and there are resources you can look through online. We need volunteers to run our snack bar, set up and take down of our events, and much more. You can register as a volunteer and we will reach out to chat with you. Of course we will accept your money but we could also use donations like snacks, water, timers, and other supplies listed on our Amazon wish list. If there is any other way you might be able to help please don’t hesitate to reach out, thanks for being apart of NextGen Debate!