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Helicopter parenting in youth sports may increase children's stress levels: psychologist

Today, many American children participate in multiple team sports. But not only are they juggling a hectic daily schedule, they’re also coping with high stress levels.

Participation in team sports is associated with improved mental health in children, but a study by an Italian university published last year in the International Journal of the Environment found that parents were more likely to be critical or overly critical of their children’s sports experiences. Be careful not to get involved.Research and public health.

“Our findings suggest that excessive parental involvement may put pressure on children who prefer parental participation characterized by admiration and understanding,” the study noted.

“Balance between [supportive] Parents need to participate without putting too much pressure on them,” he added.

Jason Sacks, president of the Positive Coaching Alliance in San Francisco, said this pressure on children may be partly due to today’s “win at any cost” culture. .

“The most important thing in sports is the result, not the experience,” he told Fox News Digital in a recent phone interview.

Children are now forced to ponder recurring questions, he said, such as: who is the best player? How are you stacking up with someone next to you? What does this mean for my future in sport?”

Mr Sacks said: And when the child becomes a high school student, it means “I want a college scholarship”. ”

Apparently, excessive parental involvement can put pressure on children who prefer parental participation through praise.
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He added, “There needs to be more education for parents about investing time and money in youth sports and the likelihood that their children will actually get college scholarships.”

The parent asks, “Whose experience is this? Is it my child or is it my child?”

The 24-year-old former high school athlete from New Hampshire said that kids who struggle during games “already know they’re not playing well. It’s like their dad yelling ‘come on’ from the stands.” You don’t need “crushing pressure”. Go for it, go for it! “

The athlete continues: “

A young athlete added: Win or lose, I knew I was supported and they loved me and were proud of me. “

student athlete
Children are more focused on winning the game than enjoying the experience.
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Sachs said parents need to examine their own motivations and approaches when engaging with their child’s game performance.

A young athlete added: Win or lose, I knew I was supported and they loved me and were proud of me. “

Sachs said parents need to examine their own motivations and approaches when engaging with their child’s game performance.

Parents should ask:

Sacks offered several theories as to why today’s kids are under so much performance pressure.

“It could be a combination of parents having access to more things like private coaches and seeing what other people are doing. [on social media] Or fear of missing out, “Keep up with Jones,” he said.

“Also, many parents genuinely want their children to have access to the best opportunities.”

Sachs made comparisons with earlier.

“Thirty or forty years ago, we were a little disconnected from other people. We were focused on what our family was doing,” he said.

“Today, if a kid doesn’t play two sports in a season or 70 games in the summer, [the child is] left behind. “

Many children today say: I am okay. i’m done. “

Sachs said the growth and commercialization of youth sports today means “there’s always an opportunity for them to play.”

He said another important question parents need to ask themselves is: [our kids] Opportunity to socialize with friends? “

After experiencing parental pressure on top of the mental and physical demands of sport, many children around the age of 13 say: I am okay. I’m done,” Sachs said.

The experiences that parents themselves may have had in the past “may positively or negatively determine what experiences a child has had,” he added.

Sachs pointed out that parents should encourage “effort-based goals” rather than “result-oriented goals.”

“It’s important to win. We’ll join the team and compete hard and win,” Sachs said.

“But if a child says ‘I can’t wait’ [to play] I’m on the same team as my friends and it’s going to be a fun season’—that’s different from ‘I just want to win the championship’. “

Parents need to remember that children need downtime

“Kids really need downtime,” says Dr. Joanne Broder, a psychologist in the Philadelphia area.

“A lot of kids are really over their schedules. There’s a bad tendency today for kids to sign up for multiple activities,” she told Fox News Digital about family and parent behavior in a phone interview. rice field.

“Kids knowing their father or grandfather played at the same school can lead to stress,” says Dr. Joanne Broder.
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Broder said there are “great lessons and values ​​to be learned” from playing in a team, including “learning to deal with group dynamics, paying attention and dealing with pressure.”

She continued, “These are all great lessons, but you have to remember. They’re just kids.”

“You remember mean parents who said negative things to their kids or booed them,” she said.

“They’ll remember it, and then they’ll have to heal.”

“Family time spent together is so important. You can never get this time back.”

She said children can be “very anxious” if they’re on a “very competitive team” and “their skills aren’t up to par with other teams.” rice field.

She pointed out that under this circumstance, it’s no more pressure than parents can offer support and encouragement.

“If your parents invested heavily in your success as a child, what would it mean for you if you let them down?”

“Legacy Sports” also offers a unique challenge for kids looking to make a name for themselves on the court, field or ice. ” she said.

Broder said parents should know “what their child’s goals are.”

“If you have a highly skilled and talented athlete who is passionate about a sport, maybe that kid needs a competitive atmosphere,” she said.

“Remember,” she added.

Broder observed parents’ words and actions regarding their children.

“One of the key takeaways from the COVID pandemic is respecting self-care,” she said. “It takes a few minutes to put your feet up and read a book or do yoga every day.”

Children need and deserve the same, she said. They need to “play with friends and rest every day.”

“The time spent together as a family is also very important,” she added. “You’re not going to get this time back.”

She also says that when a child has to choose one sport over another in order to have more downtime and time with friends, it brings its own valuable lessons.

“Life is a difficult choice,” she said. “Children learn by choosing what sports mean the most to them.”