An investigation into the roles parents play in the lives of their physically active children
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The creation of effective pathways in order to retain children in sport and physical activity is a current issue within the sporting sector (Sport England, 2003b). This paper intends to unite the existing research with the most pertinent literature in order to further understand the issues involved with children, their parents and physical activity. Considerable evidence suggests that if parents are actively engaged in sport, this has an effect on children who portray this behaviour and interest (Ornelas, 2007, Sallis et al, 2000). The purpose of the study was to investigate the values, knowledge and understanding of parents in relation to physical activity/sport. The aim was to identify parental roles and how these could influence their children to take up and continue in the sector. The research study was undertaken using survey questionnaires with a mixture of closed and open ended questions. The participants consisted of 100 parents of children aged 5-16 who were already participating in Trampolining and Skiing. Based upon findings of the research it is immediately evident that a large proportion of parents had very little understanding of the government guidelines put in place to keep themselves and their children active. Children were seen as the main source of socialisation into the chosen sport, closely followed by their parents. In essence the majority of the parents questioned were not only presently active, but active as children, and regarded themselves as role models for their children. To conclude it is suggested there is a greater need to promote parental engagement in physical activity, as this role could increase the likelihood that children will remain in sport/physical activity if provided with model behaviour. Based on the need for further research, is the creation of new partnerships promoting an increase in parent/child activities whilst developing physical activity and sport for lifelong engagement.
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