In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

super-programmed kids disguised as getting exercise

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 9, 2008

I’m all for kids playing sports and getting other physical activity–of course I am!! But exactly as this CNN article depicts, kids are being groomed to be great athletes from the second they can walk. The problem is that the vast majority of kids do not have the innate ability to be nearly as good as their parents think they can be. This leads to the ultimate disappointment by both parent and child when said child doesn’t even make the high school team, let alone get a college scholarship (or go pro!) Most kids don’t need grooming, they need fun!

Then there’s the issue described in the article–unbelievable overprogramming in the service of making sure your child doesn’t miss out on anything and that becomes the best at it. Children are left with little or no down-time to do homework or just hang out because they are so overwhelmed by the sports they play. And I can’t only blame parents. Coaches–narcissistic about their particular sport–pay little heed to the fact that most kids, particularly in elementary school, cannot enjoy practicing four or more days a week. They burn out.

There’s no such thing as playing a sport for fun anymore when you’re a kid. The intensity is overwhelming, and parents and coaches–the adults–are creating it. Come on, give the kids a break. There’s enough pressure once you get to adulthood. It’s okay to set some limits, let a kid be rested. They don’t have to be involved in every single sport at the most intense pace. You’re the parent, say NO. Your child will be emotionally and physically healthier for it.

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