Related Forum Threads
- It's not a kids will be kids world anymore Last post on 6/14/13 at 5:56pm in Parenting
- "Staycation" anyone? What are some good backyard fun ideas? Last post on 6/6/13 at 1:28pm in Parenting
- What age will/did you start swimming lessons? Last post on 6/6/13 at 8:00pm in Parenting
- Is there such a thing as child on child sexual harrassment? Last post on 6/10/13 at 1:20pm in Parenting
- interr-interr-upting and relentlessness Last post on 6/5/13 at 1:29pm in The Childhood Years
Looking for the Helpers
Edited on 4/17/13
- Another Hilarious Mom Moment (Warning- Poop)Edited on 3/18/13
- How volunteers are helping to reduce child malnutrition in southern...Edited on 12/27/12
- Attachment Parenting Isn't Just For Mom
Alphabetical Article List
Dads, girls, and sports
Go Out and Play: Sport and American Families finds, not surprisingly, that kids who are physically active are healthier and happier. Their family lives are more satisfying and less stressful too, according to the survey of 2000 students (third grade through 12th) and 850 of their parents by the Womens Sport Foundation.
A study released this week, called
Also not surprising, in a less welcome way, is the finding that things are still not equal for girls and boys when it comes to resources for athletics, particularly in urban areas.
And somewhat surprising, and very welcome, is the suggestion in the report that there is a real role for dads in setting the ratios right.
When girls were asked to name their mentors when it came to sports and exercise, they mentioned coaches and physical education teachers. In other words, people outside their families. When boys were asked, the top two answers were coaches and fathers. Forty-six percent of boys, compared with 28 percent of girls, credited their father for teaching them the most about sports and exercise.
My response to news like this is complicated. As a former middle-school girl, back in a day when we wore bloomer uniforms for gym and werent really expected to ever break a sweat, I root for the girls and the new expectation that they can be strong, too.
But as the mother of two sons who are still in the middle of the sports-centric world that is adolescence, I am troubled by the emphasis on athletics, particularly for boys.
One of the surprises of parenting is how hard it is to keep a child physically active if they are not athletically talented. Both my kids have sports they enjoy, but they arent stars in the sports that have currency here in suburbia soccer, baseball, football, basketball.
Back when I was a kid, you didnt have to be the best in order to play. There were pick-up games and informal neighborhood play, most of which is now gone. Any time a child older than 7 or 8 takes the field in many neighborhoods, it is with an adult and wearing a uniform. The message comes early in third grade, maybe fourth that if you arent good you shouldnt really be on the team, and if you arent on the team theres no place to play. Those fathers who are trying to coach their sons are most likely doing so for a team, not just for the joy of running fast and breathing hard.
There is an interesting finding in the foundations 180-page report, which says that girls enter sports (read: organized sports) at a later age than boys (7.4 years old compared with 6.8 years old in general) and that girls also drop out sooner than boys. Girls late start may set them up for failure in sports during the middle-school years, the report says.
Failure? By sixth grade? Because you didnt start at age 6 instead of age 7? That can only be true in a culture in which the only definition of success is making the team. And if, as the foundation finds, our children really are emotionally and physically healthier when they are physically active, then thats not a definition that is helping them.
I understand the lifelong lessons that can be learned on teams. But there are others, which last as long if not longer, that can be learned without them.
I didnt discover that I had muscles, nor the exhilaration of using them, until I was an adult and found a trainer at a gym who dragged me out of my psychological bloomers. My husband, always athletic, did not get on a racing bike until he was 40, and now he rides every chance he gets. My sons, in turn, discovered tennis in their teens, and while they probably wont be playing Wimbledon, it is a central part of their lives.
If fathers want to prepare their daughters for a lifetime of health, then coaching their teams is not the only way. Sometimes it might even be the wrong way. Take your girls for a bike ride. Or on a hike or a run. Or just throw a Frisbee for the fun of it. It counts as a victory, even if nobody wins.
- Another Hilarious Mom Moment (Warning- Poop)
Currently, there are 841 Active Users (33 Members and 808 Guests)
- › vaccines are great 20 seconds ago
- › Does your child need milk (cow's) at night and you worry about... 1 minute ago
- › How would you deal with this bilingual child's issue? 13 minutes ago
- › spotting 16 minutes ago
- › Do you regret or love the popular baby name (top 5 SSA list) you... 22 minutes ago
- › What are "dealbreakers" when it comes to your kids' friends' home... 24 minutes ago
- › In Labor or Warming up for Labor Thread... 27 minutes ago
- › Seeking MA mamas who've birthed/are birthing at NH birth centers:... 29 minutes ago
- › CNM HOMEbirth midwives in Central Ohio??? 33 minutes ago
- › Queer, Pregnant, & Parenting - April, May & June 2013! 40 minutes ago
- › Aveeno Cleansing baby shampoo by fayebond
- › Aveeno Soothing Oat Baby Wash by fayebond
- › Earth Mama Body Butter - 8oz by fayebond
- › Maclaren Beginning Travel Kit for Mother by fayebond
- › Bravado Designs Bodysilk Seamless Nursing Bra by lightbulb
- › Bug Band Insect Repellent Wristbands - Blue by fayebond
- › Natural Bug Blend Bug Repellent Spray by fayebond
- › Do Naturals Just Berry Shampoo and Conditioner by fayebond
- › Zoe organics Baby Bath Tea by fayebond
- › Calming Blend Shampoo & Bodywash 17oz by fayebond
- › Ouch! How Homeopathy Can Help With Those... by Melanie Mayo
- › Homeopathic Help for Post-Partum Mothers: a... by Melanie Mayo
- › Adding the Second Child by Sarah Clark
- › 5 Steps for Managing Stress and Anxiety by Melanie Mayo
- › What Marketers Don't Understand About... by Melanie Mayo
- › For the Dads by Rachel Wolf
- › What Happened When This Bereaved Mom Sought A... by momofnatasha
- › More About Soothing Small Tummies from... by Melanie Mayo
- › Get Ready To Read By Playing by Melanie Mayo
- › "Do You Trust Me?" by SantoshaMama