As parents, we want to see our kids grow and thrive to be the best they can be. Every now and then they need a push in the right direction, a gentle nudge towards greatness. Some of us nudge a little harder than others, believing that our kids need more guidance, others feel that their kids will naturally follow their own path and make their own decisions. We can become a little pushy when we have a certain picture in our head on what sports our children should play. This is influenced both by what we think is the best sport for them, and what sport we played when we were younger.
Let’s face it, there is a lot of money in sports. If you become pro, you can make a very decent living playing the sport you love. This takes natural talent, years of practice and unrelenting dedication. Should you push your child towards a certain sport because you believe it may work out to be a career for them one day? It is hard to say. Each child has different talents, you might think your child is the next big NFL player, but he might actually be a musician in the making.
Encouraging your children to make their own decisions is a big developmental tool. They need to learn to think for themselves and that their decisions will have consequences. However, children don’t quite know as much as we do and sometimes need a push in the right direction. Instead of focusing them on one sport, and one sport alone, why not give them a range of sports to play and let them decide for themselves? They might not end up sticking to the sport you want, but at least they will be doing what they enjoy. Your child might also end up playing a variety of sports throughout life. While this may be challenging for you as you will have endless sports games to watch and lifts to do, it is a great way for your child to keep active, make different friends and learn discipline and team spirit. Being an all-rounder is a great trait to have in all fields.
The problem arises when parents forcefully make their child participate in a certain sport. By pushing your child without allowing them choosing to participate freely, you are not giving the right message about what sports is actually meant for. It is supposed to be fun, it is supposed to encourage camaraderie and healthy exercise. It is not something to be shoved on another. Your child will more than likely become resentful of any sport they are forced to play, and eventually, quit when they have the chance.
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You shouldn’t only encourage your child to participate in various sports, but in different cultural activities as well. Get them involved in drama clubs, have them play some instruments and get them excited about reading. Being involved in different groups with different people will help them develop very adaptable social skills. Giving them a wide variety of activities to choose from gives them a fair chance at all of them. Their personality, skills, and preferences will come out on their own and they will eventually choose what makes them happy.
Sports is also a great way to develop your child’s physical ability, hand-eye coordination, and social skills. Any sport at school or at a local club will offer this for your child.
Give them the option to choose a sport, and watch them blossom in their own direction, making their own decisions and developing their unique talents and skills. One day you will look back and be proud of the journey they took, and happy that you gave them the freedom to choose, and supported their decisions along the way.