When Your Child’s Friends Don’t Play Sports…

Asia Mape
In Ask Our Experts
By Asia Mape | December 17, 2018
My daughter is in her first year of middle school and has made friends with a group of girls that I feel are not the right fit for her. She’s a swimmer and her times are very competitive for her age. None of the girls in this group play sports. They mock her when she can’t spend time with them because she has practice or a meet. She recently wanted to miss a swim meet because one of the girls was having a get-together. She admitted she was afraid to miss the party because the girls might cut her out of the group. My daughter doesn’t make friends easily and is rather insecure. I’m worried she’s going to quit swim altogether just to fit in with the crowd.
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Raising Kids to Compete and Win

This is what forces most girls out of sports and into teenage pregnancy, drugs and an unhealthy lifestyle: PEER PRESSURE. We as parents bleed every time our child is teased or feel they don’t fit in, but it’s up to us to see the bigger picture. The best thing for your daughter is to develop friendships with young ladies who share her passion and drive. Call some moms on her swim team and plan events; be proactive! Keep her busy with kids who have the same goals or values that you want your daughter to have. Give her examples of people you grew up with who chose the right or wrong path, but don’t lecture. Stories are a wonderful tool to teach lessons rather than you being the voice of judgement. Help her build up the confidence to be her own person and stick to her guns, even if it means being on her own.

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Profile picture of Kirsten Jones.

Peak Performance Coach

Middle school can be tricky time, adjusting to a new school and as well as now being the youngest there. In addition, it can take time to find “your people”. Give her some time to adjust and adapt to the new environment and as best as you can, don’t share opinions about her friends directly with her. Let her figure them out. 
Instead, ask her some questions about the friends and their values, “What interests do your new friends have? What activities are they involved in? If they have other activities, choir, art, music, etc, ask her how much time they spend working on their “craft”?” Perhaps share a story of a friend you have, what she’s committed to, and what you admire about her.
Ask her to write down some I am” statements. I.e, who is the person she sees in the mirror each morning.
– I am a strong athlete.
– I am using my body for good.-I am a competitor.
– I am capable of competing against the best in my age group.
– I am worthy of friends who love my gifts.-I am a friend who admires my girlfriends talents and skills.
– I am …..
We are always strongest when we are surrounded by those who support us. Help her to see the benefits of choosing friends who support her and love her for who she is and you will find that these become the friends who she will take with her on her journey.

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  1. How much $ does a professional swimmer make annually? Are you 100% sure that swimming will pay for college? Is the parent objective and informed enough to really understand where their swimmer is when compared to other top athletes? I find most parents are often not prepared to answer any of these questions objectively and that’s where the parents fail at parenting essentially. If your athlete is not in the top 25% of the region you live in then realistically – they are going to be high school athletes who may be able to walk on to a D2 team. So why in the world deprive them of other activities with other friends?


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