VIDEO: Stop Forcing Kids Into Sports - Huffington Post Live

by Samantha on February 8, 2013

Kids and sports clip art

Well, oh well.

Mention kids and sports in the same sentence and people get their backs up. Take a stand and suggest that parents stop forcing their kids into sports against their will and you get a full-blown war. Okay, perhaps not a war, but definitely some strong opinions, that’s for sure.

I wrote this article shared on my blog and on Huffington Post about the growing league of “sports parents” who force their kids to participate in competitive team sports against their wills. I was not talking about parents who give their child a choice and opportunity to say “no,” but rather those who go beyond encouragement by not accepting “no” for an answer when the child is clearly unhappy participating.

Shortly after the article ran on Huffington Post, a producer for Huffington Post Live asked if I would come on air to defend my position. I strongly believe in standing by words that I’ve written so of course the answer was “yes.”

Watch the sparks fly and let me know what you think!


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Kate February 8, 2013 at 8:09 pm

I don’t know, I think this is a complicated issue & there needs to be a delicate balance. I played basketball, volleyball & ran cross country all through grade school, high school & then collegiately I played basketball & ran cross country for 2 years. Then I transferred because I was tired of sports. And my parents supported my decision 100%!

There were numerous times I wanted to quit playing sports as a kid but my parents knew I was just having a bad week, so they made me keep going. If I had wanted to quit at the end of the season, they probably would have let me (they let my younger siblings) but if it was midseason I was required to attend evey practice & every game. If you have committed to a group of people, you follow through on your commitments, even if you don’t want to. That’s just one of many lessons extracurricular activities can teach you & those lessons can be applied to all areas of life, be it homework, college academics, a job, marriage, etc.

My children will be required to find a sport to play or a musical instrument or chess club, horseback riding, I don’t care what it is, some sort of activity. They will not be allowed to do nothing, because let’s face it, at any given moment, any kid will want to quit something.

I’m certainly glad my parents didn’t let me give up on sports, because I was good at them & enjoyed them overall.

People always ask me if I have expectations for my children to play basketball since I was so good at it & played in college. The answer is no. If they hate basketball, they shouldn’t be expected to love it just because I did. But they will be expected to find some sort of extracurricular activity. Otherwise, I think parents are just asking for trouble.

Good post Sam! I watched the video, liked what you had to say.1
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Samantha February 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Thanks for the insightful response, Kate! I agree that it is definitely a fine line about quitting - kids often say they don’t like something one day and change their minds the next. What I’m really referring to in this video and my Huffington Post article is situations where the child is clearly struggling, is miserable and just not happy. The parents may even know this but don’t care because they’ve got it in their heads that the kid is going to stay in the sport no matter what. I understand that children are fickle, that parents need to institute some type of discipline and structure for them, and that learning to follow through with a commitment is important. That said, I object to pushing kids at any cost just so that a parent can live out their own selfish dreams of lost glory.
Thanks for commenting :)
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