Dear Mr. Dad: My nine-year old son has no interest in practicing sports. He says he wants to play in games but cringes whenever I mention that he need to go to practices too. I’ve been frustrated at his lack of interest and want to encourage him, but I don’t want to turn him off of sports. How can I approach this situation?
A: It’s great that you’re so conscious of the risk of turning your son off of sports, which is a very real possibility.
Sports for kids are great for a number of reasons. They teach valuable lessons about teamwork and the importance of sticking with things—even if in the face of losing. They also can teach good sportsmanship. A few weeks ago, my nephew’s soccer team was slaughtering their opponents. At the half, his coach got the team together and told them not to score any more goals, but to work on passing and ball control instead. What a wonderful lesson.