When should you force your child to play youth sports?
There are times when we need force our kids do things–like eat their vegetables, get their sleep and take their medicine when they are sick. But should you force sports on your child?
The simple answer to that question is NO. The complicated answer to that is YES.
When you should NOT force your child to play
When kids are little, sports should be all about fun. There’s enough things in life that kids are told they have to do, but sports should not be one of them.
Most of the time children start playing sports to have fun. They don’t care about exercise. They just want fun. Sometimes the cool uniform, time with friends and good snacks entice them too. But mostly, it’s all about fun.
If your young child does not think playing sports is fun, then don’t force him to sign up for the team. If you are concerned about exercise, there’s other ways for that to happen. If you want to be sure your child has a chance to learn teammwork, there are other ways to learn that too. If you are looking for something to keep your child busy, the list of activities are available for kids is endless.
Sit down with him and make a top 5 list of things he’d like to do. If sports isn’t in there, don’t force it on him.
When you SHOULD force your child to play
Even though your child says, yes, I want to play! there may still come a time during the season when the game becomes a chore and it’s not fun anymore.
This is when you may have to do some forcing. One thing kids should learn is that you can’t always quit something just because you don’t feel like doing it. Your child needs to learn that there’s other things to consider: his team, and the money his parents spent on uniforms, equipment and league fees.
Unless the child is injured or is suffering from some other major emotional issues connected to the coach or team, it’s important that he learns to finish what he started. If he is miserable, remind him that he chose to play because he thought it was fun and that once the season is over, he doesn’t have to play again.
And then he grows up
As your child grows up and continues to play, the conversation of whether or not you should force him to play changes. Being a good athlete takes commitment and hard work and the answers are not always so easy.
What do you think? How far do you think you should go as a parent in forcing your older child, say middle school or high school, to play a sport he wants to quit?
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