Do you think kids should be made to compete in school sports? We were quite surprised by some responses to this mums question.

Mum shares, “My daughter was in tears a few days ago – it was her swimming carnival and she really didn’t want to take part (a combination of not being a strong swimmer and being self-conscious of wearing swimmers in front of her peers).

“My heart broke for her and I felt really angry that our kids are forced to participate in group sporting events (swimming, athletics etc).

“Kids aren’t forced to stand up in front of the school and do public speaking so why do they all have to take part in school sport competitions, whether they want to or not! It just doesn’t sit right with me. I’m sure there will be mums who disagree with me – I’m keen to hear your views….”

Mums argue for and against

Some parents believe we shouldn’t push our children to do something they are not comfortable with, while others say it is actually important to encourage them to participate.

Jade said, “I stayed home on swimming days for the exact same reason.”

Rachel said, “I agree.. My son wouldn’t come with a swimming carnival and at this stage has never been pushed to attend. If we place students out of their comfort zone, they will withdraw from other aspects of learning and it’s a harder battle right here.”

Ronnie Joy said, “I feel the same. Keep her home on those days.”

Danielle said, “Swim & athletics carnivals aren’t compulsory to participate in at a lot of schools, seems a bit unfair to force kids into it.”

While Kirby argued that it is good to push kids out of their comfort zone, “I think it’s great makes the kids go out of their comfort zone and grow a little more… my daughter had so much anxiety about swimming in a big pool she did it yesterday smashed it she did so well and she was so proud of her self for doing it… again making her self ready for the world.”

Rebecca said, “I’ve made mine participate it’s a lesson in life that there’s things we have to do that might make us nervous but we have to do them anyway.”

Jo agreed, “It’s a part of life to face things that are uncomfortable. I tell our boys that they can decide on the day if you want to swim or not (run or not, participate or not) but they are a part of the school and their sport house and they should be there to support and cheer on their peers.”

Nicole added, “It’s great to have kids participate. Life can’t always be fun and sometimes you need to do things you don’t like. to me this is the same as being made to do school sport or maths. It’s part of school.”

Tammy also said, “I disagree as well. I always say to my kids to try new things as it maybe their new favourite thing and how will they know if they don’t give it a good go. I don’t care if they come last the only aim for them is to do better than they did last time, not do better than the kids next to them. Once they get a job they don’t get to pick which tasks they want to do and which they don’t.”

Constance Hall Weighs Into The Debate

Constance Hall actually had some wise words to say about it herself recently.

She shared, “As I wiped the tears away from my daughters eyes who didn’t want to go to school yet again for yet another swimming race for her to entertain the school with her lack of skills I said to her, “and this is why you are such a beautiful fit with art. There is no winning and no losing and no pats on the back for at least giving it a shot.

“Publicly performing isn’t mandatory Everyone is fucking fabulous even if you just splashed a tin of paint all over a wall and rolled around in it while singing along to Queen.” I have nothing against competitive sports.. but I do think we place a little too much public importance on them. Every kid is so different.”


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There is this school in Melbourne that makes all of the kids draw a picture in front of the school. Even the ones who are really bad at art. One by one they have to stand up at assembly and draw a portrait. While the whole school including the parents watch. Some of the kids cry during it because they are so bad. Then they rank the kids from the best in the class, as the winner all the way down to the worsts drawer as the loser. One kid is the worst drawer and he comes last every year but they still make him do it, even though he often cries because his drawings look so ridiculous. Some of the kids are of course amazing drawers and they look forward to it every year, but some of them who have absolutely o creative talents or interest in Art find it humiliating year after year. Just kidding. That school doesn’t exist. I suppose getting a kid who has no interest in art to publicly paint over and over and over again, just to reinforce the fact that he’s crap at art seems…. Odd. As I wiped the tears away from my daughters eyes who didn’t want to go to school yet again for yet another swimming race for her to entertain the school with her lack of skills I said to her, “and this is why you are such a beautiful fit with art. There is no winning and no losing and no pats on the back for at least giving it a shot. Publicly performing isn’t mandatory Everyone is fucking fabulous even if you just splashed a tin of paint all over a wall and rolled around in it while singing along to Queen.” I have nothing against competitive sports.. but I do think we place a little too much public importance on them. Every kid is so different. And while she’s drying her eyes at the thought of another fucking race….. This year her class has skipped music altogether because they only do it every second year at her school ????????‍♀️

A post shared by constanceandtribe (@mrsconstancehall) on

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  • Children should not be forced to do sport at school if they have medical condition that makes sport difficult or dangerous for them. Some conditions are not visible all the time so people tend to not believe you…..until something happens.

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  • I really hated organised sports as a kid, so I’m not inclined to force my kids. Being forced to do them didn’t benefit me at all.

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  • I’m in two minds over this. I think it could help boost some kids self esteem to participate, especially if they thought they were hopeless at something and discover they’re actually quite good at it. However I also know the horror and shame and embarrassment of being hopeless at something, really not wanting to do it, but being forced to do it. I happily wagged swimming and sports carnival days for these reasons

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  • I don’t think they should be made to compete if they aren’t comfortable. I hated being forced to do swimming at school, and still to this day it makes me cringe

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  • No they don’t have to compete and can just join the novelty activities. My son did that for many years because he didn’t want to compete.

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  • I have a 13 & 15 year old they both don’t no how to swim nor do I. There school had a swimming carnival on yesterday and we decided to opt them out. For several reasons, one they don’t know how to swim,the other is way too many others kids one bump and they could end up in the pool.. if it makes my husband and I bad parents so be it. But our kids safety is number 1priority. Our kids were quite happy no going. It’s no like they had nothing to do..it gave them the opportunity to complete all school homework.. swimming classes is $250 per child per term. Being on 1 income doesn’t work for us..

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  • it can really break a child to make them do these things,,,not good

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  • I have to put a stance and agree they shouldn’t be forced.. when I was at school I couldn’t swim yet forced to participate in a swim race where I nearly drowned. Absolutely still remember the trauma and have had a fear of open water in pools and beaches since. It was so humiliating to sy the least.

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  • If your daughter has to wear swimmers under her swimsuit is she a “special needs” girl? If so they have NO right at all to force to compete at swimming carnival. I am sure she has other talents she excels with.
    Those who are not talented at all with things such as art should not be humiliated in front of other pupils or adults. In SA that would be classed as a type of harrassment.

    Reply


  • Honestly kind of torn. I remember carnivals and cross country, I hated the running events and always had to participate. Swimming I loved but I never won, pretty sure I came in last. Public speaking is the same, had to do it, but hated it.
    I do think we need to be pushed out of our comfort zone, but I also think we need to listen and address why we don’t want to do particular things. E.g. I hated running events because it caused me a lot of pain due to an actual condition not find until I was 19. Everyone assumed it was normal pain. I also hate public speaking because I naturally have a quiet voice and even when I shout, its not that loud.

    Reply


  • In primary school with school Aths, everyone was made to participate but you were put into groups with kids at the same level of fitness as you. Same with swimming. This I think was a great way for all to have a go without feeling like they weren’t good enough, compared to other better kids. I remember using a kick board for one swimming event, for not strong swimmers.
    High school, it was optional but we were encouraged to at least do one event in swimming and track and field. But the whole school had to be there participating either in an event or on the sidelines cheering everyone on. They did other fun activities for everyone to be included in.

    Now days though, without too much pressure I think kids need to have a go at it, too many kids are becoming over weight and lazy

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  • I don’t like at all the idea of being obliged to compete. Doesn’t matter if it’s in sport, drawing or whatever.

    Reply


  • I don’t think that you can force students to participate in sports competitions. Yes to general school sports lessons, but not to extra sporting commitments.

    Reply

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