Coparenting involves many challenges, particularly when the parents are divorced. One source of potential conflict is the role that sports play in the children’s lives and the potential choices of which sports kids want to play. As a rule, sports are great for children’s development but the viewpoint of the parents may differ widely. Some parents come from families place a high emphasis on participating in sports, while others may have emphasized other activities.
Coparenting you’re your way through the decision
If the two parents come from different backgrounds, it’s advisable for them to have a discussion between themselves without the child present about all the important issues and concerns that are involved playing sports. These generally fall into three main categories:
- The cost: Some sports cost more than others with some requiring a lot of specialized gear that can be quite expensive. As the level of the competition goes up, there will likely be travel locally or even regionally, which includes expenses for both kids and possibly other family members who accompany them.
- The commitment: The aforementioned travel and level of competition can lead to a serious time commitment by the child as well as parents. Parents may not have the time or interesting in spending several days a week ferrying children to different locations. They must also be mindful of overenthusiastic children who commit to too many activities, which can cause schoolwork to suffer.
- Dangerous sports: The potential long-lasting impact to those who play contact sports or engage dangerous hobbies is a very real concern that should be addressed. Research on the impact to brains suffering blows while playing football, hockey or even soccer is still emerging, but most agree that news is not good. Head injuries as well as orthopedic injuries and other injuries can lead to lifelong problems. If you are a parent who is concerned, it is important to do your research to evaluate potential for injuries (perhaps lacrosse isn’t as dangerous as it looks) and talk about those concerns with your spouse and child.
What if you can’t agree?
As with some family law issues, it may be necessary for the parents to work with a mediator to facilitate a decision. The focus should be on the happiness and well-being of the child, but fresh perspective by a neutral third party may help resolve the issue.