Pushing Kids to the Limit
Children today seem to be involved in many activities outside of school. A number of children may play soccer, swim, play an instrument, and help out around the house while at the same time trying to succeed academically. In many cases, the vast number of sports played by these children is due to the parent’s encouragement, or enforcement. Some parents may enforce after school activities in order to keep their children away from the “evils of society”: drugs, alcohol, and simply loitering and causing trouble. Unfortunately, at times, the pressure from the parents can have negative effects on the children academically and/or socially. Some reasons that parents push their kids so much, could be the small possibility of a college scholarship or money for the child in the future, keeping their children off the street, or the chance that the parents are living vicariously through their child’s sports glory.
Title IX is a law that requires high schools and colleges to give the same amount of money to both girls and boys sports in an attempt to make the genders equal. However, instead of simply equalizing the two sides, this law provides more scholarships for women because they are still competing in fewer sports than men. This will usually peak the parent’s interest, making them believe that there are plenty of scholarships out there for their daughters. Unfortunately this is not exactly true. As Lester Munson, an associate editor at Sports Illustrated, explains it (in an article by Brendan Tierney), “This is the theory that many parents have that if they start their child young enough, and work him or her hard enough, that he or she will get a college scholarship or become a professional athlete and subsequently a millionaire,” (Tierney par 7). Parents see this as an opportunity for a free college education for their daughters and begin to push them more and more to compete and succeed in sports. However, there are still a very small number of high school athletes that succeed in landing an athletic college scholarship. David Light Shield, co-director of the Mendelson Center for Sport, Character, and Culture at the University of Notre Dame, writes, “Of the 35 million kids participating in youth sports, only a small fraction of a percent will make a college team,” (Shields par.8). Parents with boys push their children they feel might have a talent for a certain sport in the hopes that the child will be able to compete professionally. Again, the chance that a child will succeed in competing professionally is very slim.
Parents also believe that if their child’s time is taken up with positive activities, such as sports, they will not have time to experiment with drugs or alcohol, and will subsequently stay away from temptation. If a child is at practice or at a game, he or she will not have time to use drugs or alcohol. However, pushing the child too much can lead to other issues. The child might...