What are the effects on children whose parents push them in sports?

Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

For many children, sports is an enjoyable and fun activity. It is enjoyable for them when they hear encouraging words from their parents. However, many children are pushed too hard by parents in competitive sports at a young age.

Being pressured at sports can be detrimental to the development of the child and his athletic performance.

Low Self-Esteem

A child can suffer severe self-esteem issues from being pushed too hard at sports. These children are held to high expectations on the field and over time this starts to become a part of the child's identity. Any failure or mistake during the game will cause him to feel that he is a failure. The child will then start to believe that he would not be any good for any other activities because he has defined himself by his accomplishments in that one activity.


The pressure and high expectations set by the child's parents will cause a lot of stress for the child. The child will become uptight and nervous about his performance in the game. She will even begin to try whatever she can to win the game, because the parents will not accept a loss. This will cause the child to get extremely upset at any mistake, and even argue about any calls that have been made in the game.

Impact on Physical Health

Children could suffer severe physical effects from being pushed. When a child plays sports from a young age and tries too hard, his body will not be able to handle it. It could cause his body to become warn out during the child's teen years. He may even be more vulnerable to be injured. As an adolescent he may also struggle with being too skinny or lightweight, which can cause him to abuse steroids as a result.

Loss of Interest in Sports

After being overly pushed by parents, the sport may no longer seem enjoyable to the child. As a result, she will lose interest in sports over time and eventually decide not to be involved in them anymore. According to the Be Well website, more than 70 per cent of children who have been playing sports from a young age have quit sports by the age of 13 due to parents pushing them too hard.