Friday, September 13, 2013

Does Your Son Hate Sports?

With childhood obesity becoming an epidemic in this country, more and more parents find themselves at a loss as to how they can get their children out of the house and away from the computer. This is doubly true for parents whose children are painfully shy and/or homeschooled; they need a way to work physical and social activities into their daily schedules. With boys, many parents immediately think of sports. But what if your son doesn't *like* sports? What if he has some sort of disability that makes athletics more trouble than he feels it's worth? What can he do that gets him out of the house and gives him social interaction?

First of all, don't press the issue. A lot of young boys-particularly those with overly-small or overly-big body types-feel out of place enough as it is. And contrary some outdated 'macho' mindsets, boys who don't like sports dont necessarily turn out effeminate/gay/a pushovers/whatever other negative label someone might use. My husband never played sports, and he is none of those things. And even if he is-so what? Kids are who they are and they need to know that you love them unconditionally.

Find out exactly what it is he doesn't like about sports and suggest activities accordingly. When we hear the word, 'sports', most of us automatically think of team sports like football, soccer or basketball; completely forget about other 'physical' activities such as karate, bike riding or skateboarding. If he doesn't care for 'team' or overly-competitive activities, these may be 'the answer'. There often *is* an aspect of competition with these sports, but it usually occurs at an individual level than as a 'team'. My stepbrother earned two black belts in karate and has participated in tournaments-a *very* competitive setting, but it's one-on-one as opposed to five-on-five or whatever other number is on a team. This makes it easier for someone to find social interaction and athletics without having to 'answer' to other players. If you've ever been the kid who struck out in the ninth inning or missed a winning basket, you know what I mean!

If he doesn't like getting sweaty or is somehow unable to play physical games, find out if there are groups or classes he can join. His school may have (or be interested in) clubs for things such as music or role-playing card games. My high school had a morning news program we broadcasted over the school's network; our tech-saavy kids would probably love that! These all encourage critical thinking and teamwork, which he can take with him when he enters 'the real world'.

As you see, there are quite a few fun and social activities your son can be involved in that don't involve team sports. That way, he'll learn important skills while getting out of the house. It will greatly increase his confidence, which is something kids of all ages can benefit from.

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