, Salem, MA


March 29, 2013

Spring sports: So many choices, how do you decide?


If you want to scare him off the idea of two sports, write out his commitments on a visual calendar. Most tweens will run in the other direction when they see no time for Xbox or Minecraft on there.

Can you really handle two sports given all that’s involved? Are you prepared for the “what ifs,” such as your son saying midseason “this is more than I thought, can I stop now?” You’ve put your life on hold, and now he wants to quit. Feeling a little resentful? There’s a high chance of burnout with over-scheduling. Do you let him quit or force him to play feeling burned out? I have a better idea: Avoid the whole thing and stick to one sport.

Finally, do you have other children in sports? If so, then you are already doing two sports.

As you can tell, I am not a fan of tweens and adolescents playing two sports per season. Packing in activities causes anxiety and creates stress. Although it sounds fun and exciting, the reality is an overpacked schedule means no fun and the only excitement anyone will see is mom or dad yelling a lot.

In my practice, I hear dads who struggle to accept their son’s lack of enthusiasm for baseball. Of course, this is disheartening; these dads have looked forward to playing baseball with their son from the day he was born. Team sports are about socializing, teamwork, leadership, confidence and fun, regardless of the type of sport played. Baseball with its long games and limited playing time is less popular with youngsters today who play their first sports games not on a field, but on the Xbox, where soccer and lacrosse are more popular than baseball.

Your husband and son need to talk about what sports mean to each of them. For your husband, this is an opportunity to listen, to share and to let go. For your son, it’s a chance to self-advocate and make decisions that are separate from yours and your husband’s. Healthy identity development occurs when parents encourage children to make independent choices. Addressing and resolving differences bring family members together and prevents walls that build resentment.

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