In my early years of involvement with chess, I have worked most of the time with junior students direct - being their mentor, guardian sometimes. It is of course good once in a while to meet their parents, as their support for their child is ultimate key to success. I used to remind myself that not every parent is like mine, intent to stopping their child's interest in chess , believing that they should be spending their time and energies on school books rather than chess books.
Today, the scene is quite the opposite - more non chess-playing parents are keen to see their children take up this fabulous (in their opinion) game. It makes the child concentrate, think about what they want to do before doing it, focus and it helps in their mathematical faculties too. A radical change of opinion in just about 25 years.Parents today are keen to be involved in their kids' activities and would want to show their care and concern.
So though I see parental support as a good thing, parental involvement is another. My chief grouse lies in that many parents get involved in chess not for the benefit of everyone, but for their children first of all.
We had an incident about rugby players and their parents getting caught in fist-fights after some provocation. Reports about students getting their parents involved in their disciplinary sanctions. Yes, this is the ugly side of over-protective parents wanting to ensure that their kids are, not in any way wronged or disadvantaged (on their own terms) in any activity they enroll in.
I am aware that tapping on parents' for their support does have a down-side, i.e when objectivity goes out the window when their child is involved in the matter. A simple case: I had to explain to a parent whose child had a bye in round 1. Due to the peculiarity of his name, he was somehow floated down and in a tournament with odd number of players, the program set him up with a bye. Apparently this trend was repeated and the parent was obviously upset when it happened yet again. Can I change the pairing so that he can play? Why must he be the victim? Can't somebody take the bye instead?!
Another common contentious issue is about age-group prizes: There was a complaint from a parent some years ago, who wondered why his son finished top of his age-group but was given the 5th overall prize and not the age-group prize? Why should this be, he asked? To this parent, 5th overall means 5th out of X contenders but winning the age-group means a 1st somehow. He's relegated in stature to receive his intended prize, can't the organisers see that?!...the list goes on.
Hence, I think its best that we encourage the kids to come to our chess club events, but parents perhaps allow their kids the freedom to play and leave the organisation of the chess activities to the hands of the experts. However, in the area of chess promotion and sponsorship, it will be useful to consult the parents' expertise and networking to open doors and get the right people to listen to ideas on hosting good promotional events. That in my view will be the best way to get the parent's involvement , in seeing that the events are well-funded and properly organised not just for their kids, but for all.