Dear Dr. Meeker,
Always enjoy and most often benefit from your Monday appearances on Teresa Tomeo. Your appearance this past Monday was especially on the mark and really hit a nerve.
I haven’t been able to put it into words, but your point that parents get their children over involved in various activities because they are filling a subconscious void they have, made so much sense. I have seen it so often, including among my own siblings. It’s like parents are on automatic pilot, which further validates your point about it being a subconscious occurrence.
And your point that young people should go play their games often without their parents being there is so right on. A while back I was walking on a track next to a youth baseball field. On the field was a girls youth organized baseball game going on. The girls looked to be around seven to eight years old. In the stands were what appeared to be mothers of the girls yelling all sorts of commands to the girls on how to play the game.
“Run,throw the ball,, swing level, keep your eye on the ball, etc.” Often the commands were given in a derogatory manner.
I have just one question, was anyone in this picture having any fun? What is the point of it all? It does seem like these parents were acting on subconscious promptings, because they weren’t acting logically.
When in high school and college I umpired and kept score for youth baseball games. Parents were often brutal. They even argued with me when I kept score if they thought I made an incorrect ruling on a hit or error related to their child.
I often drive by a sports complex with youth baseball games going on. Some of these kids couldn’t be more than four or five years old. And of course the stands are mostly full.
This is crazy. I once heard the head coach of a Major Soccer League team give a talk to a group of parents. He said that putting very young children into organized soccer leagues where they have to play on a large field is nothing short of child abuse. He suggested what you were saying, just let the kids kick a ball around the yard. They will have much more fun.
I played youth sports, including baseball. I don’t have many fond memories of playing in the organized league, but I do remember having fun playing a game called Indian Ball(probably politically incorrect to say now) where you could play a form of baseball with as few as two players. We would play for hours pretending to be Willie Mays or Roger Maris.(two of my favorite players)
You’re right, parents should ask themselves why they are involving their child in a certain activity. It should be about the child, but as you pointed out. But it is usually about the parents, and about the parents on so many different fronts.
I saw a memo in a large city where they were having a cheer leading clinic for girls age three to eighteen. Yes, you read that right, for just under $200.00 dollars you too can sign your three year old up for a cheer leading clinic.
It is ridiculous to have girls that young learning about cheer leading. And they will no doubt have dozens of three, four, five, six and seven year old girls being signed up. Those mothers who put their young daughters into beauty pageants should be arrested.
Dr. Meeker, I could go on and on. Just want to thank you again for lifting fog on what is actually happening when parents over involve their children in various activities. At the risk of sounding alarmist, this trend is an epidemic.
I am the Mark who called the Tomeo show to ask you what messages these parents were sending their children. Obviously there are millions of young people who think that their value as a human being is related to what they can do on a sports field or some other venue. That is very sad.
This doesn’t mean that I think that young people shouldn’t have discipline to study in school.(Although, from what I have been learning, young people have various learning styles and talents.) Obviously, you wouldn’t be a doctor without a lot of discipline. And I think that organizations such as the Boy Scouts can really add to a boy’s life, and a child learning the discipline it takes to play a musical instrument can also enrich their lives.
As you say though, it all gets back to the actual motive of the parents. Thanks again for alerting us and stating so clearly what is often going on when parents push their children into nonstop organized activities. Thanks also for pointing out that young people need to get away from their electronic gadgets for a while and go outside and play. Go outside and play, what a concept.