Five Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Reasons to Let Your Kids Play Sports

by Janis Meredith

Your child has finally conquered potty training and shoe-tying. Ready for the next challenge?

For many kids and their parents, that next endeavor is playing sports. And quite
honestly, that is not always a good idea.

There are lots of really good reasons to let your kids play sports: they learn discipline,
persistence, teamwork. Not to mention that it gives them exercise and shortens
their video game or computer time.

But at some point, parents should examine their hearts to see if there is anything else motivating them to sign their youngsters up for the team.

Are any of these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad motives pushing you?

1. You want your kid to be a star. If you are one of those parents, I haveone word for you: relax. Let your kid have fun. Let them decide if this is a sport they really want to pursue. Focus on the positives, instead of critiquing their every play. Just let them be little kids.

2. You played
. Your kid is not you. Let them choose their own likes and dislikes.

3. All your friends’ kids are doing it. Whether you are seeking a social life or just trying to keep up with the Jones’, don’t force your kid to play just because everyone else is.

4. You want to schedule every minute of their day. Leave some time for your kids to just be kids. Don’t start them on the always-gotta-be-busy road because that habit leads to burnout later in life.

5. You’re afraid your kid will be a nerd. Who cares what niche your child finds? Music, art, computers. Let them be a stud in whatever interest they choose. Your love and support will help make your child secure in who he is, regardless of what he likes to do. If you’re one of those parents who thinks non-athletic kids are nerds and won’t amount to anything, I only have two words for you: Bill Gates.

Notice something that all those very bad reasons have in common? They’re all about what you want, not what benefits your kids.

As a sports mom for 16 years and coach’s wife for 27, I’ve seen just about every type of sports parent out there. Sadly, I’ve seen many parents who push their kids to play sports for all the wrong reasons.

And the result is not pretty. Pushy, frantic parents who alienate coaches, players,other parents, and worst of all, their kids.

If you admit that one of these reasons is pushing you to put your kid in sports, then for the sake of your child and your sanity, please re-adjust your expectations before the season begins. Let your kids play—for all the right reasons. When you do, your child’s sports experience can be positive and fun, strengthening his character and body.

Raised on sports, married a coach of 27 years,had three kid in sports. Janis Meredith sees life from both sides of the bench--as a coach's wife and as an athlete's parent. Check out her sports parenting blog.

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