is it all too much?

This Mom Says Youth Sports Are Harmful To Marriages: “We Never Had Actual Time To Connect”

“I never saw my husband. We never had any good intimate, connected family time.”

This mom thinks youth sports are harmful to families and marriages.
@abbyeckel / TikTok

After experiencing her son’s youth sports program, one mom is venting about how she believes youth sports and their ultra-competitive nature have become detrimental to families — and marriages in particular.

TikTok content creator and mom Abby Eckel shared her hot take about kids and sports, sharing that she believes youth sports are “ruining families, marriages, and kids themselves.” So much so that she has decided to quit youth competitive sports altogether.

Eckel begins her video fully aware that she is going to catch some heat for her hot take.

“I think kids sports are ruining families, marriages, and kids themselves. Calm down, I can already feel the heat coming through the phone. You don’t like that. I get it,” she said.

“My son was in two sports in the spring, and we had something every single night of the week in terms of a practice, and then we had a practice or a game, and then we had games on the weekends as well, and we were exhausted. Everybody was exhausted.”

She continued, “I never saw my husband. We never had actual time to connect. We never had any good intimate, connected family time. Everybody was tired. We were at each other’s throats. We were just going and going and going and going, and I won’t do it. I won’t do it.”

Eckel recognizes the importance of sports and team building and the concept of kids playing and working together, learning responsibility, and building sense of worth. However, it’s not enough to convince her that the madness of youth sports is worth it for her family’s well-being.

“I know that kids sports, recreational sports, team sports are very important. I know there’s a lot of lessons that come out of that. I played sports when I was a kid, but this has gotten insane,” she said.

“My kids are 6 and 9, and at this level, this level of competition, the expectation that we have of kids at this age, I think it’s detrimental. I think it’s harming more than it’s helping, and I sure as sh*t don’t think it’s helping marriages which are already struggling.”

“Marriages aren’t, like, on the up and up. I don’t know if you know this, but, like, half of them end in divorce, and I don’t think burning yourselves to the ground, running kids around every single night and every single weekend is the answer.”

In Eckel’s caption, she explained her reasoning further, writing that her experience was so overwhelming and that was with just one child. She declared that she would never force her kids into sports.

“I think we are forcing kids to grow up too fast. Competitive sports at 7 years old?! Are you kidding me? No wonder parents are burnt out, exhausted, and marriages are suffering,” she wrote.

“I don’t think kids sports are the only reason for failing relationships, but they’re certainly not helping. At what point is running kids around every night and every weekend doing more good than harm? I’m not going to force myself or my kids into that. There are plenty of other ways to learn about teamwork that doesn’t consist of burning yourself out at the ripe age of 10.”

After Eckel’s video went viral, several parents commented on her video. Some completely aligned with her point of view, while others challenged her take.

“Actually agree 100%. It’s like slow down Linda, your kids not going pro,” one user wrote.

“I think it also teaches kids that they are the center of the family. And that can’t be healthy,” one user pointed out.

Another wrote, “It’s also SO EXPENSIVE!! we can’t afford it.”

One user pointed out that rec sports are also becoming unhinged, and said, “Travel sports are the worst. Rec is starting to push the limits. Plus all the lessons.”

One mom took a different approach, noting that youth sports work for her family.

“We love it. 🤷‍♀️Most don’t get it. My kids hate when we are just sitting at home. Select Baseball, football, softball & dance. But also we have been lucky to make practice together as a couple,” she said.

Another mom suggested setting healthy boundaries when it comes to youth sports.

“Our rule was 1 sport per kid in a season. prior to high school it was fall and spring only. we took winter & summer off,” she said.

Youth sports have gotten more intense than ever. That’s not the debate here, right?

What Eckel argues has more to do with families getting caught up in the ever-increasing speed and whirlwind of practices, games, tryouts, banquets, conditioning camps, and everything in between.

Before diving into the wild world of youth sports, families need to sit down, create healthy boundaries and benchmarks, and promise to keep an open line of communication when things become overwhelming to catch the burnout before it can even be a lit match.