Do you still remember your high school life, when there were unfamiliar peer groups, increased class sizes, high levels of stress and unsafe behaviors? Well, you can’t change what happened, but you can get your kids ready for the possible struggles and challenges.
Scientists recently found that sports can help teens become more resilient and empathetic.
How sports can help
After surveying the parents of 276 high school students, 214 of which participated in sports and 62 did not, the researchers have found that teens who participate in sports have significantly higher levels of resilience, social competence, and empathy. And teens can benefit more from playing three or four sports.
Why sports can do magic? The researchers give the following reasons:
First, when teens are playing sports, they are constantly faced with challenge and adversity and have to figure out how to navigate it. This can teach them the ability to handle problems.
Second, playing sports teaches teens to participate with peers towards a common cause that's bigger than the individual. This can teach them to be resilient.
Third, playing sports also teaches students how to be humble after winning, how to treat each other and how to treat members of the opposing team. This can teach them to be empathetic.
"Resilience requires self-discipline and perseverance through adversity. You could get hurt, lose the game or get a bad call against you, but you have to figure out how to channel that into a positive focus and move forward after these negative moments," concluded by professor Paul Caldarella, a co-author on the study.
What you should do
Resilience is something that can be learned and developed over time. What you can do is to encourage your kids to participate in whatever sports they like, and make sure they play them safely.