How Sports Are Perfect For Helping Non-Traditional Families
There are as many different types of sports as there are types of families, it seems. However, foster families count as perhaps the one family type that people hear about the least. And truth be told, foster parents have unique challenges with their children that sports can help with. These are kids who may be missing out on a sense of family, community, and acceptance. Organized sports and a kind foster family can help fill in the gaps that some foster kids experience. Here are five ways that sports are perfect for assisting non-traditional families like foster families cope with the situation.
A Built-In Support Group
One of the critical advantages of belonging to a sports team is the built-in support group that comes with it. Many kids who play sports feel like they have a team full of best friends. For a foster kid, who may not feel supported or who feels lonely due to his or her circumstances, this community can be very welcome, indeed. The world of sports is a place for children to learn and test their social skills.
It’s also important to note that sports can be a big help when it comes to dealing with stress. Foster kids tend to be under a lot of stress due to their circumstances. Aside from the emotional support that sports provide, the act of getting physical can help blow off steam and offer physical support. The release of endorphins that comes along with playing sports can make a big difference to a foster kid who is suffering from all the things that come from being a foster kid.
Self-respect is developed when you have a well-deserved positive view of your abilities and your character. Unfortunately, many foster kids don’t grow up in an environment that encourages self-respect. Building skills and developing character can help to build self-respect. Few activities are so well-calibrated for that purpose than youth sports. Athletes must spend many hours in preparation for games, practicing, building up their physical fitness levels, and pushing themselves to the limits. This practice and discipline can feel very empowering to someone who has never had much personal power before.
Playing sports pushes the player to move past injuries, set goals, and to take risks. All of these elements can help build self-respect. It also helps that sports take place in a social setting. Foster parents can take an active role in their foster kids’ life by attending games, practicing the sport with them, and doing other related activities. In so doing, foster parents are mirroring back the positive feelings that their foster kids may feel as a result of playing sports.
Life Skills Development
It’s fair to say that the lives of foster kids are often filled with disappointment and pain. As a result of the constant disappointment that some of them feel, it’s difficult to learn to balance other feelings with those feelings. Sports can help with that.
Sports teach kids how to emotionally cope with loss, as well as how to win with class and how to channel negative emotions in a much more healthy way. They learn patience, perseverance, and even joy and happiness from playing sports. As a rule, sports can help kids regulate their emotions in a way that few other activities can. And the shot of positive endorphins that come from being physically active can help retrain the brain, which allows these kids to better cope with feelings of depression that can come with being a foster kid.
It is unfortunate that many foster kids remain in foster care until they graduate from high school. Unlike many kids their age, they will not likely have a set of parents who will help them pay for college tuition, books, and incidentals. Even if they remain in contact with a beloved foster family, the cost of college can be enormous. Granted, many emancipated foster kids get some support from their state to attend school. However, whatever financial support they lack can often be made up of becoming good at a sport. Many students who get selected to play a sport in school will also get a scholarship that covers some or all of their tuition, their books, and even room and board. Sports provide another option for foster parents trying to help the kids in their charge transition from childhood to adulthood.
Responsibility and Leadership
According to this article, playing sports can help people learn both responsibility and leadership. Both of these qualities need to be developed. No one is born with them. While this is true in general, it can be especially true with foster kids, who often spend their lives bouncing from home to home.
Playing sports teaches kids to be on time, to keep their word, and to support their teammates. These physical exercises are the building blocks of responsibility. Leadership requires courage, and playing sports builds courage. And for kids who become very good at sports, there is an opportunity to lead a team. This act again reinforces both leadership skills and responsibility. In this respect, playing sports genuinely is training for life.
Foster families have a number of challenges that other types of families don’t, as this website explains. Foster kids deal with abandonment and poor self-respect. They often feel like they have no sense of community and making friends can be difficult. However, foster parents who encourage their foster kids to play sports can alleviate many of the issues that come with the territory. Playing sports helps build a sense of community and character.
Additionally, playing sports encourages kids to develop leadership skills, and sense of responsibility. These are life skills that everyone needs. However, foster kids need them in particular, given their life circumstances. Finally, sports can also provide many of these kids with educational opportunities that will help them transition into adulthood.