What About Sports?

One of the most challenging decisions for moms of boys revolves around sports participation—if sons should participate in competitive sports and, if so, which ones and how often?  When making the decision, factors to keep in mind are:

  • Trust your instincts.  As a mom, you know what your child is capable of, what factors will stress him out and what will encourage and motivate him.
  • Consider your child’s maturity level. While there are many non-competitive sports experiences available for children, it’s important to consider your son’s individual development when making the leap to competitive sports.  Does he have the prerequisite skills, yet, that will lead to success or does he need to wait until those are developed?  The sports experience should not be frustrating.  If he has mastered the basic skills of the sport, has a long enough attention span, and adequate self –discipline, then he’s probably ready.
  • Make sure your family is prepared. Putting undue pressure on a child to perform will have long-lasting negative effects.  Participating in sports should be a positive experience, increasingly challenging, but not stressful or overwhelming.  Also, moms have to be ready for the independence needed by the child during play.  If you feel that you would rush onto the field anytime your child gets hurt, it may not be time for him to get involved in a competitive sport, yet.  Also, you definitely do not want the sport to be the center of your child’s—and family’s—world.  Not having a childhood will impact the child’s future for years to come.

There are many benefits of your son being involved in sports, such as:

  • Time for physical exercise ; helping boys stay active and physically fit
  • Developing a positive social group
  • Committing to the discipline of team practice and play ; developing self-control and slef-confidence
  • Providing a place to use developing motor skills
  • Learning rules, strategy and the competitive nature of the game
  • Managing emotions on the field and from the sidelines ; providing a healthy way to channel physicality and aggression

Studies also show that boys who play sports in high school get better grades and do better on standardized tests than those who don't.
Finally, participation in sports makes it less likely that a boy will:

  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Use drugs, or
  • Think about or commit suicide