Can Sports Keep Kids Out of Trouble?

Can Sports Keep Kids Out of Trouble?

Guest post by Cindy Price

As parents, we often wonder if our kids are overscheduled and too busy. Most likely the answer is yes, however, busy is not always a bad thing. Busy means our kids aren’t getting themselves into trouble. Busy means concentrating on an activity instead of searching for something to do, and we all know what that can lead to. Bad choices!

When school ends and there are no activities to participate in, U.S. News reports that the hours between 3-7 p.m. can be risky for many high school students as they are often alone and unsupervised.

Life with three kids has always been very demanding, especially as my kids reached their teens. It seemed everyone had a different sport or activity in different locations, all at the same time. I often thought about lightening up their schedule at times but then realized they were thriving, looked forward to the soccer, football, acting classes and every other activity I was chauffeuring them around to. 

While not every child has dreams of becoming a famous basketball star or the skills to even entertain the thought, participating in some form of organized activity is extremely beneficial. The truth is, kids love to be part of something. Being able to play a role for the team offers a sense of pride and accomplishment at school. They love to strut in their jerseys or game shirts and show that they are a valuable member of the team, this being just one of the many benefits of playing high school sports.

Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, which advocates for quality, affordable, after-school programs, makes a great point when he says, “You have to go to school to participate in after-school. There’s just a direct correlation.” Grant goes on to say that “teachers reported students in after-school programs improved their behavior in class and have less opportunity to be involved in illegal activities during the critical hours immediately following school.”

Teens feel like they are invincible. They don’t realize what they do today can impact them tomorrow. I was driving the other day and passed a juvenile detention center, which is a reality for many of our youth. Studies show that these kids are more likely to end up engaging in more illegal activity in the future. I remember thinking to myself how grateful I am for my kids taking the right paths in their teen years and I believe it has a lot to do with their sports commitments. Perhaps I have something to do with it as well?

When my girls decided to play soccer, I was really proud of the pledges they made and all the hard work that came along with it. I would like to think their concentration on their skill and not letting their teammates down, really helped keep them on the straight and narrow. It was also an amazing community of support during their teen years.

The Women’s Sports Foundation’s findings supports my theory. “Sports help keep girls active and make them feel like part of a team, which in turn can lead to a sense of responsibility towards others along with the desire to be their healthiest and perform their best.”

I always envied my girls and how they never complained about their body image in high school. Something I can’t say for myself at their age. They were strong, both physically and mentally when they were playing soccer. It put them in such amazing shape and gave them a sense of confidence that many teen girls lack. They even motivated me to get my butt back into the gym. 

I believe without sports, all my kids would be totally different people. Sports has had a positive impact on all aspects of their lives and now that they are older, I truly believe sports helped make them who they are today. Again…with a little help from mom too.

Cindy Price is a mother of three who loves to write about topics related to family, children, and parenthood, especially teens and the issues they face.

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