When it comes to getting kids involved in sports, parents have a pretty major influence on how a child approaches the whole idea of either doing something fun and active, or giving it all a big miss.

Generally, children who have a warm and secure relationships with their parents or carers are more likely to have positive self-concepts and high self-esteem, traits which are handy in both playing sports and also navigating their way through life.

With girls, taking up sports has a lot to do with having supportive parents or carers who are able to encourage their children without placing too much pressure on them to succeed. Push too hard, and a girl will push back, and probably want to pull out altogether.

Girls, and children as a whole, who receive positive interactions, support and encouragement — and feel less pressure from parents — tend to enjoy their sport more, show more preference for challenges and are more motivated.

Other grown-ups besides parents can have a big influence, too.

Coaches play an important role in young girls’ mental and emotional wellbeing because they're often at the centre of the sports activity. Behind the scenes or on game day, their presence is felt, they act as a sporting role model and can shape the nature of the whole sports experience.

So, as a parent introducing a child to sport, it could pay to learn a little about the coach first. Coaches who provide specific, corrective feedback, give praise and encouragement based on effort rather than outcome, are most likely to have a positive impact on children’s psychological growth.;

Whether on the sports field or in the game of life, its seems who you share the experience with, and how they go about it, can have quite an influence on the final result.

  • If your child, or anyone you know is having issues with self-esteem, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
  • This article has been adapted from ReachOut Australia’s website. ReachOut works with mental health experts to provide support to young people. This third-party content includes the views and opinions of ReachOut, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Suncorp. For more information about our third-party providers, visit our Terms of Use

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