Daughters and Sports

Even before your children were born, you probably dreamed about your son as a star athlete. Well, you may have gotten it all wrong.

Here’s something that some dads rarely consider. Daughters can be athletes, too! As a matter of fact, girls need to learn about teamwork, good sportsmanship and the thrill of victory just as much as boys.

According to a recent article in the Kansas City Star, high school girls who play sports are significantly less likely to get pregnant or take drugs, and are more likely to get their diploma.

Here are some specific ways you can encourage your daughter’s interest in athletics:

First, teach her to appreciate an active lifestyle. I’m not saying push her to practice gymnastics all day to make the Olympic team, but you can at least get her away from the TV and go hiking or toss the softball.

Number two: Be active yourself. If you enjoy regular exercise it will keep you in shape, and your daughter will be much more likely to participate as well.

Third, be her biggest fan. Cheer her from the sidelines, support her goals and achievements, and help out at team functions.

Finally, point out positive role models. Just like boys watch David Robinson and Orel Hershiser, you can help your girls identify high-achieving female athletes. Especially those who claim faith in Christ: tennis star Gretchen Magers. Gymnast Joy Selig. Golfer Betsy King.

Dad, you’re a powerful influence on your daughter. Remember, at about age ten the peer pressure will kick in. That’s when many of her friends may start becoming what society often encourages women to be, complete with hair gel, make-up, talking on the phone, listening to music, and the other typical activities of young-womanhood. While seemingly inevitable – those things come at the expense of healthy activities that she needs.

Encourage her to play on basketball or softball teams. Or, if those aren’t the “cool” things to do, try introducing her to running, tennis or bicycling.

Hey, if you’re a golfer, cancel your next foursome and make it a twosome – just you and she.

Dad, you have much more to give your daughter than you may have thought. You know how exhilarating sports can be; don’t deprive your daughter of the same experience.

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