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Heartland Health

Sports Pressure

Sports Pressure
By:  Wendy Ray

Kids are supposed to enjoy playing sports and there shouldn't be any conflict, but sometimes there is. There's a good chance you've seen a parent get angry, enough to even cause a scene. Of course, this does not have a good affect on children. Children place enough pressure on themselves and they don't need their parents adding to that. Psychologist Ken Callis says unfortunately, it happens quite a bit.

Chuck Drewett really enjoys going to his daughter's soccer games. Even though he wants her to do well, he doesn't push her. "I think eventually if you push a kid and they don't have a passion they are eventually going to quit," he says. Dr. Callis says quitting a sport is just one repercussion of parents pushing their children. "It also creates a lot of internal pressure if they believe parents have certain expectations they're not meeting," he says. Rather than being fun, kids end up dreading their time out on the field. "Many parents want to relive life through their child and perhaps accomplish things they didn't accomplish," Dr. Callis says. "Some parents innocently belive their child has a lot of talent. They want their child to reach their potential just like they would academically."

Dr. Callis says it's important for children to be able to express themselves through sports. He advises parents to talk to their young athlete about what they're doing and ask her if she's comfortable with how they're behaving. Once you get that figured out, it's all about the fun! "They can learn many things about themselves, increase their self esteem, certainly about social interactions and life lessons, about defeats and victories, that life doesn't always go like they want," Dr. Callis says.

Parents not pressuring their children doesn't just apply to sports. The same goes for piano lessons, drama club, or anything else your child is involved in.

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