Playing it smart and safe

An injured child should be comforted and dealt with sympathetically

Your child got injured while playing football or cricket. It isn't a small bump on the forehead we are talking about. Maybe it is a cracked bone. How do you react as a parent? Do you forbid the child from playing that game? For most parents, even a middling serious injury is a frightening thing, and it often leads to a phase of over-protective behaviour that effectively ends the child's involvement in sport. Some parents go the other way. They belittle their children for crying over bumps and bruises. For such parents, their behaviour is all about toughening their kid up for sports and for life itself.From a child's point of view, how a parent reacts is very important. If a parent is not supportive when he is injured, it can affect the child's self esteem and his enjoyment of the sport in future. Children are poor judges of their own injuries' severity, and a child of parents with "tough" attitude will play on with a serious injury instead of seeking medical attention.Parents should always be caring and protective; they should always acknowledge the child's fears and anxieties and provide emotional support. This will help the child feel comfortable in attempting the sport again. Children have hidden fears, and a sympathetic attitude is more likely to bring them out.For parents, their child's safety should always be more important than building up a tough-guy mindset. Children who learn to play safely will eventually learn to take acceptable physical risks, and that will ensure a long and productive career in sports. Tough guys are not fools, and playing smart is playing safe. RAJIV. M

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