‘It’s alpha omega for succeeding and thriving’: parents, children and sporting cultivation in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSport, Education and Society. 2017, . 10.1080/13573322.2017.1401991
It has become increasingly apparent, internationally, that childhood is a crucial life-stage in the formation of predispositions towards sports participation and that parents are increasingly investing in the sporting capital of their children via a process of ‘concerted cultivation’. It is surprising, therefore, that parents’ involvement in the development of their children's sporting interests has received so little attention in Norway, given that sport is a significant pastime for Norwegians and participation has been steadily increasing – among youngsters, in particular – over the past several decades. Through a qualitative case study of a combined primary and secondary school in a small Norwegian city, this study sought to add to recent explorations of the role of parents in children's sporting involvement in Norway. As expected, it was evident that sport becomes taken for granted and internalised very early on in Norwegian children's lives. Less expected was the recognition that children's nascent sporting interests were often generated by sports clubs via early years schooling and, therefore, that parents played only one (albeit very important) part in the formation of their youngsters’ early sporting habits. Thus, parents, sports clubs and early years schooling appeared to form something akin to a ‘sporting trinity’ in youngsters’ nascent sporting careers. These findings may have implications for policy-makers looking towards Norway for a ‘recipe’ for sports participation.