Just What Helicopter Parents Need: A Genetic Test To Determine Sports Ability

The Washington Post has a somewhat horrifying story about companies selling tests that claim to tell you what sports your little ones will play best. As if we didn’t have enough of a problem with treating children as consumer goods, these companies market their product as a way to help your kids determine which sports they can get scholarships to play.

Critics have lots to say. Basically they think there’s a lot of quackery in the promises of the genetic testers. And even so, these tests play into the hands of control freak parents who try to force their kids to do one sport over another — regardless of the child’s enjoyment of said activities. From the Post:

”This is really disturbing,” said Lainie Friedman Ross, a pediatrician and bioethicist at the University of Chicago. ”Sports and physical activity should be fun for kids. It shouldn’t be, ”˜You’re going to be the world’s greatest athlete’ or ”˜Give up now, kid, because you won’t have a chance’ because of your genes.”

Of course the FDA is stepping in to further regulate the whole thing. Anyway, the story gets the perspective of one Utah father who had tests done on his daughter Elizabeth. She excels at soccer and they wanted to find out why. He claims he’s not pushing his daughter to succeed and that he’s just trying to help his daughter have fun.

I have no problem believing that. But do we really need for helicopter parents to have more tools at their disposable? Can’t we just let kids have some fun and learn life skills through sports? Must it also become a means for further parental control or to achieve financial freedom?

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