School sports benefit parents as well

Parents behaving badlyOrganised sports can have great benefits for kids. In addition to helping them become and stay physically active, it teaches them important lifeskills such as sportsmanship, discipline and teamwork.

But they’re not the only ones to gain it seems. Parents do as well, according to a new study that discovered that team sports also offer a number of benefits for mums and dads.

Researchers from the department of health and kinesiology at Purdue University in Indiana conducted focus groups with 26 parents of children age 6 to 15 who were involved in youth sports to see the effects of their participation.

Parents changed in numerous ways, it turns out. One of the most notable was that their child’s involvement in sports prompted them to become more active as well.

One mother was quoted as saying, “My youngest child wanted to play tennis, so I also went out and played as well, I never would have done that otherwise.”

While parents were ferrying their kids to and from practices and games and sitting and waiting while they played, it wasn’t all for nothing as some parents found it lead to them improving their time management skills.

Engaging in their children’s team play also gave parents an increased awareness and knowledge of their offsprings’ chosen activities. As a result they became more interested in sport in general and some also took a long hard look at their own behaviour when spectating.

One mother said , “My son did tell me one time, ‘Mum, I could hear you, you were loud.’ That made me stop and think about the impression I was giving to the other parents and spectators around me. I didn’t want to be seen as a loud, aggressive type of pushy parent, you know, so, I tried to tone it down a little bit.”

If more parents were equally as self-aware then the whole experience of school sports would be so much more pleasurable for the participants, the officials and the parents themselves.

Source: Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology

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