In many ways the value of sports for kids, aside from the physical activity, is the metaphor that they serve for life—for overcoming challenges, beating the odds, teamwork, etc. One of the realities that any young sportsman or sportswoman is likely to face at one point in their career is injury. As a parent, your role is to support and guide your child through the good times and the tough times, injuries included. Here is how you can help your young athlete make a full comeback from an injury.
Injuries can be devastating sometimes, but the first thing you can do as a parent is to stay positive. Focus on what they can do instead of what the injury prevents them from doing. This kind of mental toughness, of slowly recovering from an injury with a positive attitude, will serve your child well later in life.
Part of growing up is to develop social awareness to succeed in our closely connected world. This includes being sensitive to the perception of others. This encourages compliance with the culture. Unfortunately, in the sports world, the culture can be both positive and negative. While it is true that sports teach discipline and teamwork, one of the problems with current sports culture is that it discourages young athletes from reporting injuries. You, as the parent, should act as the counterbalance to this harmful influence. Talk to your child and explain that injuries happen to everyone and the best thing to do to protect their future sporting career is to stay on top of injuries from the start before they become bigger issues. That means saying something when an injury occurs.
Being injured might be something that a child is really disappointed about. It might put them in a gloomy mood. However, it’s important to remind them that injuries are never impossible to overcome. History is full of examples of athletes who overcame injuries heroically, like Tiger Woods winning a Master's after multiple back injuries. Share these kinds of stories with your child so that he or she can feel more positive about their situation.
Instead of looking at injuries as only a setback, help reshape your child's view of opportunity by showing him or her that overcoming obstacles is an important part of success in life. By following these tips, you can help to make sure that your child copes in a healthy and positive way to being injured.
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