There’s no shortage of stories today about bullying and body shaming – in fact, studies show that 20% of children will face bullying (or become a bully) at some point. And while you can’t control what other kids do, you can influence how your own child will act or, conversely, react should someone with less than positive intentions take aim at them. The solution is simple: confidence.
Bullies aren’t picking on people because they’re confident; they target others to build themselves up due to their own insecurity. And they don’t pray on the confident kids; they target those they see insecurity in, seeing them as easier targets who are less likely to rebuke them. So confidence is key.
There are so many factors that come into play when building confidence in young girls, but one thing that can universally contribute to that building is sports. From the physical side, active kids tend to be more fit which, on one hand prevents obesity, a common target for bullies and, on the other hand, helps provide a physical body that they are more comfortable with. However, even more important than the physical effect are the emotional effects.
In sports, children are exposed to a variety of people, skills and opportunities. They learn quickly that, in challenging themselves, they will not succeed every time; so to become successful, they build resiliency. That resiliency is incredibly important in building confidence. Not only does your child learn how to persist; they learn that it’s ok to not succeed at first – and that imperfection is not failure. They learn over and over to brush things off and try again.
And when they do succeed, they feel pride. Linking those two words (success and pride) is incredibly important. Unlike the Jenners’ Instagram feeds which teach girls that their looks are their most prized possessions, sports give girls the important knowledge and understanding that they are more than just a pretty face or body.
You’ll notice that in tumbling and cheer, we rarely discuss physical body elements. We don’t comment about thigh size or thinness or other physical descriptives. That’s because they don’t matter. What does matter is how hard someone works and giving it their best. Athletes learn that lesson early on through proof: By working hard, they succeed and that success brings pride which, in turn, translates to confidence.
Sports also offer social opportunities, with coaches, teammates and an audience. Athletes learn at a very young age to communicate with a variety of people and how to support and be supported. Being part of a team requires positivity – it’s just inherent to sports. And so, by being part of a team, young girls learn to interact positively and genuinely with others, not to mention choose to surround themselves with positive people.
Finally, sports provide an opportunity to be part of something. That feeling of belonging goes a long way toward knowing oneself and building confidence.
There are countless ways that sports help young girls to build confidence and, the younger they start, the younger they can start reaping those benefits.
If you have a young daughter who isn’t yet active, check us out. Our programs offer daily opportunity to grow socially, emotionally and physically – and build confidence as a whole.
Have a great one,
P.S. By the way, if you haven’t taken advantage of our amazing introductory offer, you can do so right here: join.ultimatecheer.myascs.com, Being and staying active is one of the most life-changing activities you’ll find.
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