In today’s competitive environment, you want to make sure your kids keep up with the demanding academic schedule while pursuing sports among other extracurricular activities.
However, many parents find it really difficult to decide whether they’re being too harsh or too lenient in their overall approach.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Sports can teach your kids about discipline, unity, perseverance, and value of teamwork[/pullquote]
When it comes to sports, there are compelling benefits for your kids. Sports can teach your kids about discipline, unity, perseverance, and value of teamwork, all of which enable them to develop into a successful individual in future.
Before talking about the potential dangers of pushing too hard, it’s important to remember the benefits sports offer to your kids.
Benefits of Your Teens Playing in Team Sports?
- According to a survey, teens pursuing sports are a lot less likely to use drugs, smokes, have sex, carry weapons, and have unhealthy eating habits.
- Research shows teens participating in sports are happier than kids who don’t pursue sports. While sports-oriented boys in the middle school were five times more likely to describe their health as fair/poor, the girls were 30 times more likely.
- When your teens participate in team sports, they not only learn about the team spirit, stay motivated to work towards a common goal. When they stay in a team, the value of group effort is reinforced every day.
- Learning to socialize with students from different walks of life during the middle school can be a challenging phase for any teenager. Team sports offer an opportunity to get along with different groups and nurture a sense of belonging.
- Team sports teach your teenagers the value of cooperation, discipline, commitment, practice and, determination. The value of hard work and achievement is harder to learn in the abstract. Through setting goals and playing like a cohesive unit, your kids learn a lot more naturally.
- Nothing makes your kids aware of leading a healthy life quite like athletics. Teens participating in active sports know the importance of staying fighting fit. Therefore, they’re more likely to follow an active lifestyle and healthy routine. What’s more, according to a research, kids pursuing sports are likely to avoid obesity and unhealthy eating habits.
- When Kevin Kniffin, a behavioral science professor at Cornell University, conducted a study, he found kids who played sports in high school make better employees. In fact, the study also found that potential employers tend to favor jobs candidates who played active sports in their school career.
[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Encourage your kids to pursue sports for fun and leisure but don’t force them into rigorous and intense training. [/pullquote]
Are You Pushing Your Kids Too Hard?
As a parent, it’s only natural for you to have high hopes for your kids. You want to them to succeed academically, athletically and otherwise. However, in the process, you might be exerting too much pressure on your kids.
So, how will you know if you’re pushing your kids too hard to pursue multiple activities apart from studies?
According to parenting coach Elaine Taylor-Klaus, kids tend to show signs when they’re overscheduled and stressed. For example, pushing your kids to take up baseball practice, guitar lessons and art classes every alternate day can demotivate them, and even affect their grades.
While some kids express their displeasure openly, more reticent children may act grouchy and irritable.
Therefore, you need to make sure it’s fun for your kid and he/she is enjoying the extra-curricular activities. That’s how they’ll sustain their enthusiasm and pursue those hobbies in the long run as well.
As a matter of fact, Tiger Woods is probably a great example how the element of fun encourages your kids to get better at sports activities. In an interview with Washington Post, Tiger revealed that he fell in love with golf at an early stage, not because his parents pushed him into it but because his dad would keep it fun, light and competitive. He also said he’d be okay if his son Charlie didn’t play golf professionally.
The Dangers of Pushing Your Kids too Hard
When it comes to sports, parents should be aware of the safety threshold for their kids. There are many who push their kids to a point where they become overtrained, stressed and burned out.
According to a national survey, nine out of 10 parents tend to underestimate the length of time their kids should take off from playing any sports during the year.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) advise that kids should stay 2-3 months (or even a season) away from a specific sport every year. Moreover, it’s recommended that young athletes should take one day off each week from organized activities.
Parents who aggressively push their kids to an unrelenting sports regime, allowing little breaks, may end up harming their kids in the long run.
Fred Fornicola, health coach and fitness professional, warns parents against pushing their kids too hard and advises that they should follow an appropriate athletic program which allows ample scope for safety, progression, and recovery.
Ellis Cashmore, a professor of culture, media and sport at Staffordshire University says parents should stop pushing their kids to become sporting heroes as most youngsters will never make it. Warning parents of potential downsides of encouraging teenagers to pursue a rigorous sports routine, he said overdriven kids could resort to performance-enhancing drugs among many other consequences.
While sports offer a range of benefits to your kids both in the short and long run, pushing too hard could have potential implications for your young kids. Encourage your kids to pursue sports for fun and leisure but don’t force them into rigorous and intense training. After all, you want to keep your young kids safe from injuries.