Socialization through physical activity: The role of parental behaviors

The impact of parental behaviors on a child’s sports participation can be examined in two ways. One is the level of parental involvement in the child’s sports activities and the other is the role of parental role modeling.

Socialization through physical activity: The role of parental behaviors

Parental participation means encouraging the child to participate in sports activities, buying sports equipment, chauffeuring the child to sports, paying club fees, watching competitions or children’s sports activities.

Parents can also play the role of a strong supporter. This support can be material, spiritual, emotional, informative, and it may even involve transporting the child to the practice area. Many studies see parental support as the most important facilitator for participation in physical activity.

The role of parents in modeling refers to their level of participation in organized sports activities. Parental involvement has a beneficial effect on the child’s sports participation because it is a sign of a shared interest between the parent and the child and the interaction between them.

Children whose parents are active and involved in sports are more likely to participate in sports. In this case, being a parent model can increase social competence, the opportunity to make mistakes, and shape identity through exercise.

The role of parents in sports participation will not always be beneficial. Low participation and over-participation can both have devastating effects. Low participation of parents causes the child to face a decrease in emotional and material support for participation in sports.

Excessive parental involvement and unrealistic expectations can also have devastating effects on a child’s planning, pressure and lack of opportunities for independence and autonomy
and contrary to expectations in today’s progressive and growing society, it causes stress, anxiety and depression, and eventually may lead to quitting sports.

The same can be said for parental modeling. Parents who are involved in various sports may not have enough time to support their child to participate in sports activities. Research shows that children whose parents play the role of coaches and push them to win are more likely to quit.

Read more about the impact of important people on a child’s sports participation by participating in physical activity and accepting their social role in the next note. This article is the fifth in a series of notes on the relationship between motor development and social adequacy of children and adolescents.


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Mryam Nezakat Alhosseini, Ph. D Associate Professor of motor behavior, Sports Sciences Faculty, University of Isfahan
Iranian Social Workers
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