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Helicopter Parents in Youth Sports may Increase Kids’ Stress Levels: Psychologists

by Deirdre Reilly, Fox News – Sept. 15, 2022

FLN: I came across this by chance and thought it was an excellent read. Hope the readers agree and find it enlightening. – LR


Many American kids are participating in multiple team sports today. Yet they’re not only navigating packed daily schedules, they’re dealing with high stress levels.

While participation in team sports has been associated with better mental health in children, parents must take care to avoid becoming critical or over-involved in their children’s sports experience, according to findings from the University of Italy published last year in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

“Our findings suggest that excessive parental involvement can cause pressure on children who would prefer parental participation characterized by praise and understanding,” the study indicated.

“A balance between a [supportive] involvement without putting too much pressure is needed by the parents,” it added.

Jason Sacks, president of Positive Coaching Alliance in San Francisco, said this pressure on kids can be blamed in part on today’s “win-at-all-costs” culture.

“The most important thing about sports is becoming the results, not the experience,” he told Fox News Digital in a recent phone interview.

Kids are now forced to ponder, he said, on a regular basis questions such as: “Are we number one? Who’s the best player? How am I stacking up against someone next to me? What does this mean for my future in sports?” 

Said Sacks, “If you’re in elementary school, the goal is to get on the varsity team once you’re in high school. And when the kid is in high school, it’s, ‘I want that college scholarship.’” 

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