Athletic, sporty teens are often stereotyped as ‘having it all’ – the so-called popular kids with countless friends and admirers. However, the true reality often looks a lot different. Most teens who are serious about sport have an immense amount of pressure on them to perform – not only on the sports field but also in the classroom. This can take a huge toll on their mental health, especially if they do not have the support they require to remain strong and focused on their goals. Here are just four ways that you, as a parent, can better support your athletic teen.
Help them live a balanced life
It is important to remind your teen that while sport is wonderful and the idea of landing athletics scholarships is fantastic, it is not the only part of their life that has worth. Teach them time management skills and prioritize sporting commitments and academic requirements, all while setting some time aside for themselves and bonding with the rest of the family.
Make yourself available
Some teenagers will find it difficult to approach their parents with a problem or to chat about their emotions. This is why it is wise to regularly ask them outright how they are coping and how they are feeling. Don’t push the issue if they seem hesitant about opening up. Instead, set a good example by talking about your own emotions and daily struggles with honesty and without shame. They are sure to follow suit eventually!
Ensure that they are taking proper care of themselves
Is your teen getting at least eight hours’ worth of sleep every night? Is he or she eating a healthy diet full of protein and fruits and vegetables, rather than snacking on processed and packaged foods day in and day out? Is he or she taking enough time out to rest and enjoy his or her other interests outside of sport? All of this is crucial to keeping your child healthy, both from a mental and a physical perspective. If they seem to be falling short in any of the areas mentioned above, like pulling all-nighters just to get through their schoolwork, try to take action to help get them back on the right track.
Teach stress management techniques
Athletic teens are faced with plenty of stress on a daily basis, so it is vital that they learn how to cope with this in healthy ways. For example, you could teach your teen the art of meditation or how to breathe deeply when they are feeling overwhelmed. If you also happen to be someone who battles to deal with stress, why not seek help for both of you? Perhaps you could join a yoga class together or take a leisurely walk around the block every day? It’s a chance to spend some extra time together, chat, and de-stress all at once.
Ultimately, maintaining a strong relationship with your teen and guiding them through the challenges that they may face is the best way to support them as they attempt to attain their goals. Good luck!