There is an epidemic of parents who put pressure on children in a very negative way. They want their children to be the best in different sports, and they address them through yelling, putdowns, and other negative behaviors. Unfortunately, this approach has a negative impact on kids, and it leaves them feeling stressed out and deflated.
How Children Respond to Negative Pressure
According to psychologists, parents determine the outcome of sports for children. They can provide a fun learning experience, or they can provide something that becomes a nightmare. When parents try to relive their own past through their children, it can be disastrous.
What Do Kids Respond Positively to?
Children don’t respond well to parents or coaches who put them down and punish them. Instead, they do well when they are congratulated for the things they did well. When children are encouraged to do their best, they do well and have a positive experience.
The Impact of Money
The amount of money that parents spend can also have an adverse effect. Many children feel that there is a direct association between the money their parents spend and their expectations. When parents spend more money, children feel more pressure. Sometimes the parents exert the pressure, and other times, the child takes it upon themself.
These expenses can include private coaching, equipment, travel expenses, and more. This makes the sport less enjoyable for children, and they don’t feel that they own their athletic careers.
Long-Term Negative Impact
Two athletes in particular are great examples of the long-term negative impact of pushy parents. Andre Agassi hates tennis today, and he attributes it to his father. In fact, when he won his first Grand Slam title, his father only noticed that he had lost the fourth set of the match. Mickey Mantle is another, and he writes all about it in his autobiography. Both of these athletes struggled with substance abuse.
Pressuring children can cause low self esteem, and they don’t enjoy the sport. The best way to handle children is to support their decisions and let the practice and competition be theirs.