Apr 2, 2013 Post By: Children's Health

Evaluating Your Young Athlete's State of Mind
Sometimes kids play a sport to please mom and dad. Listen to your child by watching his or her body language and keep communications open.

Picking grass in the soccer field or volunteering to sit on the sidelines could signal your child lacks interest in a sport — or maybe not.

Good communication between you and your child is key to addressing the issue, says Paul Glasier, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at Children’s Medical Center.

Ask questions and watch body language closely to evaluate your child’s enthusiasm on the playing field. “Make sure your child is having fun first instead of over emphasizing the skill aspect,” stresses Dr. Glasier. “Build interest and praise your child for successes on the field.”

Step back and look at your own motivations, too. Sometimes a child will not be open with parents about a lack of interest in a sport for fear of disappointing Mom and Dad.

Ask yourself these 4 questions

  1. Am I pushing my child to enjoy a sport for his or her benefit or to relive my own childhood?
  2. Does my child have enough time to focus on academics and other activities?
  3. Is the youngster reaping the sport’s physical and social benefits?
  4. Does he or she feel competent?

“The social and emotional factors need to be explored first, then help your child decide whether to change to a different sport or help him increase self-motivation to get back into the original sport,” says Dr. Glasier.