EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 21, 2012

Should I insist my son play sports?

Family Matters Dr. Larry Larsen
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Are athletes natural or made? We have a boy who does not really seem to like sports, and his brother loves them, the rougher the better. We have tried to encourage our first boy to enjoy sports because it will help him as he grows older. He doesn’t seem to mind, and we do not want to do harm by insisting.

If athletics are a joy, terrific. If not, don’t sweat it.

Your job, as a parent is to find the talent and gift in your child and help it grow. It is not to transplant what is not there.

For example, your first born may be interested in science, art, robotics, writing, and a host of other things. Pay attention, listen and watch.

You will see and hear that which you would be wise to encourage and help flourish. Psychologically we do not help when we insist our children do what we may have enjoyed, but no desire is within them.

As to your original question, athletes are born with talent and proclivity, but expertise and skill come with practice and hard work. No star athlete ever became a wonder by sitting on the couch watching TV.

The same may be said for children with other talents. There are numerous resources out there to enrich an inquisitive mind or to encourage creativity and invention. Find them and make it a rule that everyone in the house has to do something.

If time is not filled with challenge, it will be used in the seduction of the trivial, usually video games!

Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can e-mail Dr. Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.