Magazine | The Expert Advices
Parents: the right approach to take in regard to their kart driving offspring0%

DAD, I WAT TO BE
A KART DRIVER.
THE ADVICE OF
PSYCHIATRICS TO PARENTS

In few sports can the relationship between parents and their children be as close as kart driving: because the father is often the son's first mechanic and the organiser of trips; because there are many costs to cover and without the support of parents you cannot go far; because this passion is often handed down the generations and the children have to deal with the awkward past of a father who was a driver ... For these and many other reasons there are many difficulties for both the children and parents, and although parents always act out of love and for the good of their children, the possibility of making mistakes is just around the corner. Given that there is no method that works for everyone, we asked Alessandra Papasogli, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa, involved in Formula Medicine, for advice on what the right approach for parents in regard to their children's passion for kart driving should be.

1 Let's start with one of the most obvious attitudes in the paddock: the rather intrusive involvement (particularly by dads) on technical and sporting issues

Even if karting is an individual sport, practicing it means interacting with the complex dynamics of a team. A too intrusive dad, who criticizes or complains about the decisions being taken, can alter these delicate balances, particularly on the starting grid of a race. At this point, it is better for the parent who financially supports the child not to intervene directly in the sport’s dynamics.

FATHER AND SON: A DUO OFTEN SEEN IN MOTORING, THAT HIDES QUITE A FEW DANGERS
Psychiatrist Alessandra Papasogli, who is responsible for the mental preparation of drivers in Formula Medicine

Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance (below), now in F1. An example of a father who has made significant investments in his son’s career as a driver

read more

2 However, can dads who merely put up the money be just as "awkward" for their offspring?

It is certainly necessary for fathers, and families in general, to pay attention not to fall into this temptation: expecting more from their children just because they realise they have made a heavy investment. It must always be remembered that racing is not compulsory: karting can be just as much fun if you just race with friends.

3 In short, it's complicated ... How can a balance be found?

The presence of a dad at the beginning of a sporting activity is useful to encourage his child, who could otherwise become demotivated or lose enthusiasm. Accompanying the child in these early stages has an educational value. The presence of the father is almost fundamental in kart driving, since it is a sport that is difficult to practice if there is not someone already passionate who gets you involved in it. However, over time, the heavy involvement of the father can become harmful, because it does not allow the child to develop awareness and understand whether the sport he/she is practicing really excites him/her or if it is just a way of pleasing the parent. A more detached approach is necessary after the initial push.

4 Does the presence of the parent therefore have a value at the beginning?

I think karting is a good opportunity for having fun and being together! The track can be used to spend more time with your child; with the awareness that sharing the passion and work in the tent can be a way of transmitting healthy values.

5 But also knowing when to say "enough" when it's time to do so...

When the child has grown up, it is good for the same to learn by himself/herself: even if it is just fun, it is much more natural for a child to share it with friends than with dad and mum.

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