Are you unknowingly causing your kids sports-induced stress?
Anyone who is a parent can tell you, the main reason to enroll your kids into sports is so they can burn off excess energy. The sense of camaraderie, lessons in team-building, and social skills they develop as a result of sports are all amazing side effects, but burning energy and having a good time are the two main reasons a child should be involved in sports.
That being said, we live in a stressful, competitive world and sometimes sports can have an adverse effect on your child. If your child is nervous by nature, the stress of competition can cause harmful side effects, which you can unknowingly exacerbate as the parent. So the first step is to find out if your kids is suffering from sports induced stress. Some of the warning signs might be:
Loss of appetite
Headaches, upset stomach, or acne
Restless sleep or sleeping issues
Inability to perform at the same level in practices and competitions
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms around a big game, you should sit down and have a chat with them, but keep in mind that you may be one of the main reasons they are stressed. Ask yourself if you do any of the following things:
Compare their sports performance to other children
Overly coach them, or push them to defy their own coach and listen to your advice instead
Focus on your own sports accomplishments, or place to much emphasis on the outcomes of games
Put too much pressure on their future in sports, such as scholarships, or future career plans
Overbooking your child, and forcing them to live, eat, and breathe sports
If you do any of these, you should first examine your own priorities, because the number one should be that your child is well-adjusted and having a good time. If you engage in any of the previous actions, take a mental inventory of yourself, and then approach your child and explain to them that you have noticed they may be unhappy in their sport, and ask if you have anything to do with that. You should be able to open up the conversation from there, by taking responsibility and giving your kid the freedom to speak their mind.
At the end of the day, life is going to throw enough stress at your child (just wait until they turn 18 and the bills start rolling in), so there’s no reason to put undue stress on them before absolutely necessary.