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Letting Kids Be Kids!

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Often times it can be very difficult as parents to refrain from mapping out a plan for our kids and deciding what they are to become involved with and how they will turn out. Far too often I see it in the world of youth baseball, where kids are pushed far more than they really want to be. This occurs mainly impart to “dad” re-living out his shortcomings as a youth to make sure “little Jonny” doesn’t miss out on opportunities. Most of the time dad means well, and truly wants the best for his son. Also most of the time, “little Jonny” does not see it this way — he sees it as dad pushing him in a direction that is not what the son desires. A 5th grade boy is going to have a hard time processing the “over bearing” parent and is not yet at a point where he can clearly articulate this to mom or dad. Often times the way kids will respond this is by losing interest in the activity, withdrawing, and ultimately not liking whatever it is that the parents are pushing on them.

Let’s define pushing, as I know that with 3 or 4 year old kids a little stern pushing or encouragement to become involved in an event is needed simply because kids at this age are usually shy and timid. I really like the idea of exposing or introducing kids to many different activities, even if it is different from what mom or dad enjoyed while they were growing up. Getting kids involved is the best way and using encouragement or pushing is a healthy parenting tactic — but this is where it should stop. Once your child is exposed to a new sport (like little league baseball), let them enjoy it and be comfortable — which can be different for all kids. The type of pushing that I consider negative is when a parent maybe senses that their child is not really taking to a sport or extra-curricular, and then parents assume that their child is lazy or “having a bad attitude”. Perhaps the child seems to be going through the motions at practice or not ready to spend time outside of practice working on the skills needed to improve. At this time you have to evaluate if the child is just plain lazy, or if they truly are not enjoy the sport. If parents continue to enroll their kids in more and more leagues, training, ect., even knowing that “Jonny” is not interested in the sport — this is excessive pushing.

If your child is involved in little league baseball, continue throwing small doses of baseball at your son in fun/positive ways. Maybe it is a fun camp for them to attend, or dad/son taking batting practice on a Saturday afternoon in a “no pressure” atmosphere. Parents, you have to be creative and you have to be involved in making this happen. You will find that your relationship with your child will become stronger too. If you do this in a positive way, your child will enjoy the sport, take an added interest in the sport, and most importantly — you and your child will be building a special bond.

Written by Baseball Concepts Staff

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