What Are the Pros and Cons of Your Child Playing Sports?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Your Child Playing Sports?

If your child would like to play a sport, it can be a bit scary for a parent. This is especially true if it’s a contact sport.

We often hear horror stories about parents suing for their children’s injuries, for example, or parents becoming aggressive with one another at games and matches.

At the same time, when your child plays sports, they can learn so much and it can help them stay healthy and fit.

The following is an overview of both the pros and cons of your child playing a sport, so you can consider both sides.

The Pros of Children Play Sports

Some of the upsides of children and teens playing sports include the following:

Reduced Obesity Risk

Childhood obesity is an increasingly significant problem in the U.S. Childhood obesity puts young people at a higher risk of a number of health complications.

The prevalence of obesity among young people between the ages of 2 and 19 was more than 19% during the 2017-2018 school year.

According to the CDC, childhood obesity is a complex health issue. Obesity is influenced by behavior and genetics.

Consequences of obesity include high blood pressure and cholesterol, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, breathing problems, and joint problems. Childhood obesity is also associated with social problems, low self-esteem, and psychological problems like depression and anxiety.

When your child is playing sports, they are getting regular physical activity that is so important for their overall health and for preventing obesity.

Psychological Benefits

There are a lot of mental health benefits that can come from children participating in sports.

For example, children who play sports tend to have higher self-esteem, and that can be something they bring into other areas of their lives.

They can learn to develop a work ethic, and they’re often more resilient.

Other psychological benefits of sports can include better time management and organization skills.

Playing sports can relieve stress, create sportsmanship and help your child learn how to work with others for a shared benefit.

Lower Risk of Negative Behaviors

When children play sports, and they continue those into their teen years, research shows they may be at a lower risk of engaging in risky behaviors. These can include drugs, for example.

Children and teens who participate in sports may be at a lower risk of giving into peer pressure, and they have something that helps them organize their time so they’re left with less free time that could potentially lead to harmful behaviors.

What Are the Risks of Sports for Children?

While there are a lot of upsides to sports for children, there are potential downsides to be aware of.

These can include:

Sports Injuries

This was briefly talked about above, but there is a very real risk of sports-related injuries. There are millions of emergency room visits each year for people between the ages of 5 and 24, and they’re often associated with sports injuries.

Children have weaker bones than adults, which can mean they’re more likely to have broken bones.

During the adolescent years, young people might have decreased coordination, balance, and flexibility, which can increase the risk of injury.

It can be difficult for children or teens to know when they need a break or to know how to ask for one, so they can put too much physical stress on their bodies.

Too Much Pressure

While feeling some level of pressure can be a good and healthy thing for young people during their developmental years, this isn’t always the case.

Some children find that rather than relieving their stress, sports make it worse.

It can be very competitive in childrens’ and teens’ sports, and if your child feels like too much emphasis is being put on winning rather than having psychological benefits it can actually cause mental harm.

Negative Effects on Parental Relationships

There are potential benefits that sports can have on the relationship between children and their parents. For example, it can bring them together with a shared interest.

At the same time, it can have negative effects. For example, parents can become too invested in their children playing sports, and then they can ultimately do things that they don’t realize are harmful.

Your child could start to see your love as being tied to their sports performance or whether they win.

Ultimately, there are a lot of pros that come with youth sports, but you do have to know what the downsides are as you make the right decision for your family.