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Extra-Curricular Activities for a 12 year old optional??? - Page 3

post #41 of 70

 

I was ready to post a reply to the OP about whether her DS enjoyed the band once he was there and if the problem was transtions, when I noticed that the thread is a year old. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kim701 View Post

I agree.  I think it is important that they have some extracurricular activity especially when they get in the high school years.  But, it is so hard, I have a 10 year old, she has been in swimming for 2 years and is pretty good.  She thought maybe she wanted to try something else this year.  It seems kids start things pretty young.  She was discouraged because the other kids were so much more advanced.  I think she would rather be in nothing.  She just still wants to be a kid and play.  But, I am afraid if I let her do that she is not going to want to join something later because the others will have already been in it and they are better and she will be discouraged and not want to try.  I don't know what the answer is.  Any advice?  I would appreciate it.

 

 

I'd explore what kind of activities appeal to her. Instead of swimming, what about diving or water polo?

 

Maybe she'd like to try something in the arts or music for a change - dance, watercolours, choir or whatever she'd like to explore.

 

OTOH,  maybe an entirely different sporting activity will rejuvenate her interests - martial arts or perhaps a team sports like basketball or softball. There are lots of recreation-level activities for kids who just want to play and aren't interested in competing. I'd look into community sports organizations, house leagues or lessons for beginners. They are much less intimidating than trying to join a competitive team, and the other kids are likely to be at the same level (fairly new) or more tolerant of beginners. 

 

 

Oh, and OP - it would be great to hear an update, if you're inclined! 

post #42 of 70

I'm of the mind that kids should be doing "something" outside of school largely because I feel it's invaluable (especially in middle school) to have interest based social connections outside of school. It doesn't have to be much... just something. That said, your DS is doing something right? Taking drum lessons? If he doesn't like the Jazz Band, he doesn't need to continue (usually, I'd have the kids see out the commitment but in this case, there probably isn't a clear session end right?) I would encourage some sort of club or something though... again, social connection outside of school.

 

You can always say "no" to TV and video games. Could be without those options, going out an doing something will be more attractive.

 

post #43 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

 T he physical activity has become so important now that she's into some of the hormonal stuff.    We sill have downtime here, but at this age, too much downtime isn't very helpful, IME. 

 

I do see some of her friends with lots of downtime, and I don't think they are doing very well with it.  Lots of time on line, lots of texting....fine for a potion of the day, but there is a lot of time between when school gets out and bedtime.

 

 

 

I have not figured out how to quote yet on the new system!  Anyway...

 

I disagree with most of this post.  Downtime is essential for most people.  I find it kind of sad that kids in general are expected to go to school, do their homework and a slew of afterschool activities.  This is fine for the few kids who thrive in so much activity - but should not be a goal or expectation.

 

I think learning how to self entertain is really important - and that isn't going to happen if people are kept hyper busy. 

 

My DD goes to school and has about 6 hours after school before bedtime.  2 of these hours are spent eating/homework.  I really don't see where kids have oodles of time after school.  And if she spends a couple of hours online (she tries!) or testing (never) so what???

 

I think a double standard applies to kids - we do not expect people to get home from work, do an hour or so of work at home and then run off to 4 extra-curriculur activities a week.  At least I don't.

 

The area I do agree with is the physical activity.  My DD is hormonal and physical activity may help.  I do not think insisting on joining an activity is the way to go - offerring them, plus role/modelling encouraging family activity make more sense to me.  Lots of people stay reasonably active without setting foot in a class or on a team (myself included).

 

I also agree with previous posters that kids need a place outside of school where they find acceptance - but one activity might suffice, as might voluteering, hanging out at a youth centre, etc.

 

 

post #44 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?



The teens we know actually want to work and the smart ones use their extracurriculars activities as a way of getting work they enjoy doing. My DD is 13 and already lined up work for next summer as a classroom aide at two youth theatre programs (they have to be 14 which she will turn before summer.) It's something she's been thinking of. She's spent this year taking all the required courses to qualify her. Many of her buddies do it so it's still fun and social. She has flexibility as to what classes and daycamps she works so that she still has lots of time off. She knows all the teachers. It's a subject she loves and it's more fun for her than flipping burgers. Will my kids HAVE to work at 16/17? No, but I suspect they will want too as they really enjoy getting paychecks and having money savings. I don't particularly want them working during the school year unless it's in this capacity where they may only work a few hours a week instead of like 20 at a fast food restaurant.

post #45 of 70

It's funny to see this thread pop back up again, because I'm feeling exactly the opposite. I won't make ds1 cut out any of his activities, but I wish he'd let one or two go. He currently has:

Monday: School, then choir, then acting lessons - home for dinner - then gymnastics practice. He has maybe an hour to squeeze in some homework.

Tuesday: School, then about 2.5 hours for homework and something to eat, then he usually works until 10:30 or 11:00 or so.

Wednesday: School, sometimes choir rehearsal, then home to catch up on homework/scene work (from acting), then gymnastics practice.

Thursday: School. Home to do his major chores (vaccuming or bathrooms). He usually doesn't have anything else on Thursdays, but sometimes has work.

Friday: School, then about 2.5 hours off, then work until late evening.

Saturday: Gymastics practice in the morning, then a 7 hours shift at work.

Sunday: Another 7-8 hour shift at work. Once the season gets rolling, he'll also have gymnastics practices, when he can fit them into his work schedule.

 

He's also got occasional weekend rehearsals for a drama project he's involved with (this is through his school drama class, not his private lessons). He's involved with the Interac (service) club, and has had two "field trips" during school hours in the last few weeks (one to attend an inspirational conference thing, and one to be the reindeer mascot for "Operation Red Nose" - safe ride home program for people who drink too much over the holidays). Choir involves after hours concerts. He's going to be a counselor at Outdoor School at least one week this year. The weekday gymnastics practices aren't required, but he's the team captain and he wants to compete a level higher than last year, which will require some extra effort.

 

He doesn't know he needs downtime...but he needs downtime. However, he does much better on this schedule than I would have. I'd have been having crying fits every day at this pace.


Edited by Storm Bride - 11/14/10 at 6:55pm
post #46 of 70

I don't have quoting figured out either!  But, I don't mean to suggest that my kid doesn't have downtime.  But she is passionate about her sport and it requires a commitment-she's working toward a goal, and I fully support that.  She is also very, very, passionate about community service, which is a strong value within our family.  She has gained skills and respect through this, and it's opened a few doors for her.  In the meantime she's managed to gain some experience with managing her time, which has carried over to school.  IDK-hard to see the downside here.  It's just not in me to feel ok about my kids coming home from a day inside at school and sitting in front of facebook or texting for a few hours each day.  I don't have an unschooling mentality about this.  We are an active, service oriented family.  The kids my dd aspires to be like share her sense of what's important in life-most of them are hard workers and are doing things.  We strive for balance in terms of activity and downtime,   

 

   

post #47 of 70

Just to clarify - I wasn't replying to you specifically. I just thought it was funny to see this thread pop back up after so long, when I'm concerned about the exact opposite issue as the OP.

post #48 of 70


 

 

Quote:
 

I think a double standard applies to kids - we do not expect people to get home from work, do an hour or so of work at home and then run off to 4 extra-curriculur activities a week.  At least I don't. 

 I disagree.  First because for the most part, it's us parents who are running the kids all over to all these activities.  But aside from that, parents come home from work, they get dinner ready, they go to the grocery store, they work out at the gym, they have various assorted appointments for doctors or kids or vets or whatever, they go to school after work, they do classes like gymboree with their kids, etc etc.  There are LOTS of parents who are just as scheduled as lots of kids, and lots of those parents bring their work home with them too.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

It's funny to see this thread pop back up again, because I'm feeling exactly the opposite. I won't make ds1 cut out any of his activities, but I wish he'd let one or two go. He currently has:

Monday: School, then choir, then acting lessons - home for dinner - then gymnastics practice. He has maybe an hour to squeeze in some homework.

Tuesday: School, then about 2.5 hours for homework and something to eat, then he usually works until 10:30 or 11:00 or so.

Wednesday: School, sometimes choir rehearsal, then home to catch up on homework/scene work (from acting), then gymnastics practice.

Thursday: School. Home to do his major chores (vaccuming or bathrooms). He usually doesn't have anything else on Thursdays, but sometimes has work.

Friday: School, then about 2.5 hours off, then work until late evening.

Saturday: Gymastics practice in the morning, then a 7 hours shift at work.

Sunday: Another 7-8 hour shift at work. Once the season gets rolling, he'll also have gymnastics practices, when he can fit them into his work schedule.

 

He's also got occasional weekend rehearsals for a drama project he's involved with (this is through his school drama class, not his private lessons). He's involved with the Interac (service) club, and has had two "field trips" during school hours in the last few weeks (one to attend an inspirational conference thing, and one to be the reindeer mascot for "Operation Red Nose" - safe ride home program for people who drink too much over the holidays). Choir involves after hours concerts. He's going to be a couselor at Outdoor School at least one week this year. The weekday gymnastics practices aren't required, but he's the team captain and he wants to compete a level higher than last year, which will require some extra effort.

 

He doesn't know he needs downtime...but he needs downtime. However, he does much better on this schedule than I would have. I'd have been having crying fits every day at this pace.



Choir, acting, gymnastics AND work?  Wow, that is kinda a lot.  I require that my dd does SOMETHING, but I would never dream of requiring that many.  I do agree that kids need SOME downtime, just like adults do. 

 

 

Quote:
 And if she spends a couple of hours online (she tries!) or testing (never) so what??? 

 As long as a couple of hours doesn't turn into oodles of hours or oodles and oodles of hours then that's fine.  But, I don't think I would blow off spending a couple of hours online because I think there IS a risk.  From being subject to online bullying, to being an online bully, to giving out too much info to whatever.  I don't restrict my teen's hours online, with the stuff she does do (sports, work etc) that regulates it for me (and another reason I like her participating in extra curriculars) but I think saying "so what" kinda ignores the risks of the internet to teens. 

post #49 of 70
Quote:

Choir, acting, gymnastics AND work?  Wow, that is kinda a lot.  I require that my dd does SOMETHING, but I would never dream of requiring that many.  I do agree that kids need SOME downtime, just like adults do.



Yeah. He just got home from work, ate dinner, and collapsed on the couch. He still has homework to do, and had been planning to go collect pledges (he's doing a vow of silence on Thursday, to raise awareness - and money - for child poverty), but he may not make it out to do that now. He also spent about 4-5 hours this weekend helping some of his classmates with their project for Civ (Civilizations - they're doing a video, and needed an ancient Roman). I definitely think he tends to overdo it, but acting is what he wants to do for a living, and gymnastics is his passion. So...I just keep reminding him that sleep is really, really, really, really important, and hope it takes.

post #50 of 70

Karne - if it works for your child, great!

 

Happysmiley....Many parents are busy after work - but this is work they take on themselves for the most part, not work someone is insisting they do.

 

As per the internet, I am not ignoring risks. The computer is a central area, she is not into social networking, etc, etc.  I am simply honouring her chosen downtime activity.  

 

There are some underlying messages to this thread that I question:

 

1.   Teens must be kept busy or they will get into trouble.

 

This is not true in my experience.  I was an adolescent who probably could have used more activities to thrive, but despite this I did not get into trouble.  I think the roots of trouble are far deeper than simply having free time.  

 

2.  Being a homebody is not OK.  This is simply untrue in my world.  Being a homebody works for some people, and being on the go works for others.  Moderation works for many.  Figuring out what works for your child and supporting that to the best of your ability is key.

 

post #51 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post
There are some underlying messages to this thread that I question:

 

1.   Teens must be kept busy or they will get into trouble.

 

This is not true in my experience.  I was an adolescent who probably could have used more activities to thrive, but despite this I did not get into trouble.  I think the roots of trouble are far deeper than simply having free time.  

 

2.  Being a homebody is not OK.  This is simply untrue in my world.  Being a homebody works for some people, and being on the go works for others.  Moderation works for many.  Figuring out what works for your child and supporting that to the best of your ability is key.

 

1. I have to agree. I got into trouble, but it wasn't because I had free time. There were a lot of factors involved, but they had to do with my manipulative and toxic grandmother, alcoholic father (and all the family tensions that come with that), major PMS issues, and social/emotional challenges. My free time wasn't an issue.

 

2. I also agree. Some people really are homebodies, and it's what we're comfortable with. I've found that people can be much more accepting of that in adults than in teens, though. (Actually, that was one of my social challenges...I was "weird", because I didn't want to go out with people all the time. Well, I was weird for a lot of reasons, but that was one of them.)
 

post #52 of 70

I find this thread very interesting, as we are currently going through this with our oldest ds (7). He keeps saying that he wants to get rid of all his extracurriculars and have "relaxment". I have a problem with this due to my own experiences as a child and teen.

 

I was very much like my ds when I was a child. Shy, a bit unconfident. My parents did not push me into anything at all. As a direct result (I know this, so don't challenge it please), I became more and more unconfident. I felt my world was very small- school/home, school/home, school/home. I felt lonely and depressed. It seemed that everyone had something they were good at (sports, music, art). In my extreme preteen vision, I felt I was worthless, talentless. I had trouble making friends. I didn't reach my potential in high school. I had nothing to fill in under "extra curriculars" for my post-secondary education. I felt it was futile to apply, so I didn't (for two years anyway). I know I would've liked Scouts, piano, swimming. I also know that I would've protested, saying "I can't do it, I'm no good". I wished  my parents saw that it's the low-self esteem talking and push me anyway. They never did.

 

Even though I got over most of my issues now at 30, I still feel inferior in some ways. I don't know how to do many things that other people my age do; I can't swim, skate, play any instruments, I never did gymnastics or ballet, i never played on any sports team, I wasn't in any school club. Believe it or not, it still comes up (like when our school hosts an annual skate party and I can't take my kids). So no, tooth and nail I will fight for my son to have a bigger world than I did. Not to be a super athlete or a concert pianist. Just so he never feels "I'm worthless, all I do is sit around my room and stare at my walls." Just so he sees other kids than the ones he sees every day at school. Really, just so he knows there is a "real world" outside of school and home. And yes, he WILL get a job when he is 16. I did and it just about saved my life. (but that's a long story pinktongue.gif).

 

post #53 of 70

I can see where you're coming from, but your ds is already in extracurrculars, and he's telling you he wants a break from it. And, while that may have been how things played out for you, there's no guarantee it will be the same for your son. I was also shy and lacking in self-confidence. I did Guides (we don't have Girl Scouts in Canada - we have Girl Guides). I did swimming lessons. I did trampoline. I took disco lessons (yeah - I'm old). I studied accordion for two years. And, I'm just barely starting to get over my lack of self-confidence at 42. Being involved in extracurriculars (which my parents actually didn't push, but my sister was gung ho to do them, and I joined her) didn't help at all. The social side of extracurriculars was even worse than the social side of school.

 

Being pushed to do extracurriculars may have been good for you, but it doesn't necessarily follow that it would be good for your son. Even people who share traits (eg. shyness, and lack of self-confidence) aren't necessarily going to handle things the same way.

post #54 of 70

we've had some issues with this topic too.  my dd is 12.5.  She is just more than 1/2 way to black belt in aikido, which she's been taking for 3.5 yrs.  She's been told she HAS to make black belt, by me, or take it till she's 18.  For me there are several issues at stake, which may not be true for every kid, but they are true for her.  1.  perseverance.  she needs to take it because this doesn't come naturally to her.  she gives up on a lot of stuff, and this is something that she's good at, but would give up on because it's 'boring'.  2. personal safety.  aikido is ONLY self defense, and she's a cute, kinda silly girl who is easily led and doesn't say no.  nuff said.  3. she meets other kids through this course that are in the community.  she goes to a Montessori school about 20 mi away, so I think it's important for her to connect into the community.  4.  It's not a lot of time, but she gets a lot out of it!

 

Over the years, we've tried, and she's dropped: drama, art, guitar, piano, newspaper, and after this year, Hebrew/religion.  In all honesty, some of these I just stopped paying for because she never practiced.  No practice, no pay is the policy.  Aikido she doesn't really need to practice (though she would move along faster if she chose to practice).

 

She's continued to participate in Spring softball (though she's hesitating this year, and I'm not pushing), girl scouts, and this year she picked up 2 after school clubs Latin (my push, but she likes it!) and Water Club which is an amazing project that links her school with a school in Tanzania to produce kinetic playground equipment to pump water for the school, her choice.

 

She's doing ok in school (B's and C's), and is finally getting into reading, though she's been a reluctant reader for years.

 

She's been asking for 1.5 yrs to quit aikido and I keep saying no.  I feel like with THIS kid, I need to push her a little so that she gets some accomplishments under her belt.  Someone previously posted about wishing her parents had pushed her harder, and I do think there are SOME kids that you need to do this.  Finding the right activity to push them in is hard!  We needed to find something somewhat social that didn't require too much thinking, and would help her burn off some energy.  Aikido seemed (and still feels) like the right fit.  Her censei is amazing, a really sweet guy who is willing to talk about the kids w/parents, and help with areas he can help with.  For example, she was dealing with some bullying issues at school last year, and he was able to help her through that a little. 

 

I must say that the list of things for kids to do today is outrageous.  From tech to tennis, there has GOT to be something for every kid out there, even if what they do is get together and crab about parents!  Light to all,  andy

post #55 of 70

Funny, I went through 180 degrees reading this thread. On the one hand I am very much in favor of giving kids down time and leaving them to their own devices. My three have a LOT of time during the week when they have no structured activities, and no screen time allowed. Benign neglect is pretty much my parenting motto.

 

On the other hand, all three play musical instruments and we spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on private lessons, group lessons, orchestra, summer programs, etc. This isn't even optional for them. They practice every day just like they brush their teeth every day. In fact practicing actually takes precedence over schoolwork. That's how important I think it is. I probably sound like a horrendous stage mom, but the fact is, music does build character. It teaches perseverance, self-discipline, teamwork, humility, leadership skills, patience... oh and incidentally you learn to play an instrument.

 

So... I guess it depends on the activity in question. I don't see a lot of value in pushing kids to participate in an activity just for the sake of "keeping them busy." But if it's something you find personally meaningful, something that you yourself are prepared to invest time and money in, something that has lifelong benefits, then yes I think it is not wrong to require your kids to do it.

post #56 of 70

I think teens should be in a position to decide their activities.  I also think that there is a lot of personal development and enrichment that is not about "activities". - e.g., my daughter is a writer and has written dozens of long stories.  She has no interest - at this point in her life - in writers' camp.  But it's still an activity - she just does it at home on her own time.  I also agree with the idea that kids deserve downtime and actually work harder/longer hours in some instances than adults.   I'm also not sure where people get the time.

 

My daughter (11 - 6th grade) gets up at 6:15am, leaves the house at 7:45am to be at school at 8.  She's at school for almost 8 hours (8am - 3:40pm) then commutes over an hour home to get home by 5.  She basically does homework from the time she gets home til she has to get ready for bed at 9.  In there she intersperses telling me about her day, talking to me and playing with her brother, but basically it's homework.  I would kill for her to have some downtime. I can't even imagine how she'd fit in extracurriculars.  School is her life.  Luckily she loves it and that's the pay off. But she's essentially working the equivalent of a 50+ hour/week job.  In general, I think all the emphasis on activities for kids is part of an American mindset that overvalues "productivity" and sees leisure as wasteful.  I think we could all use some more leisure.

post #57 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juuulie View Post

Funny, I went through 180 degrees reading this thread. On the one hand I am very much in favor of giving kids down time and leaving them to their own devices. My three have a LOT of time during the week when they have no structured activities, and no screen time allowed. Benign neglect is pretty much my parenting motto.

 

On the other hand, all three play musical instruments and we spend a ridiculous amount of time and money on private lessons, group lessons, orchestra, summer programs, etc. This isn't even optional for them. They practice every day just like they brush their teeth every day. In fact practicing actually takes precedence over schoolwork. That's how important I think it is. I probably sound like a horrendous stage mom, but the fact is, music does build character. It teaches perseverance, self-discipline, teamwork, humility, leadership skills, patience... oh and incidentally you learn to play an instrument.

 

So... I guess it depends on the activity in question. I don't see a lot of value in pushing kids to participate in an activity just for the sake of "keeping them busy." But if it's something you find personally meaningful, something that you yourself are prepared to invest time and money in, something that has lifelong benefits, then yes I think it is not wrong to require your kids to do it.


All this also depends on how your children respond to it. I know people (mostly older) who were required to learn to play an instrument when they were younger, and they still love that instrument. I know others who hate it and won't play. I currently know a guy whose entire relationship with his mother has been badly damaged by her insistence on him learning to play, because he didnt' like it, didn't feel he had any talent for it, and felt like a failure, because it was that important to her. (He's 40 and I really don't see them every patching it up.)

 

And, fwiw, I started to learn to play an instrument and quit, because I basically refused to give up that much reading time to practice. My sister persisted for years and learned her instrument better than mine. There is nobody who knows us who would claim that she has more perserverance, self-discipline, patience, etc. than I do. (I could certainly be more humble, but she's even worse than me on that one!) I don't believe that people learn perserverance and self-discipline by being required to do something that someone else wants them to do. I also don't believe music has a monopoly on those things.

 

If this works for you and your kids, that's great. But, there's not a lot of value in pushing kids to participate in an activity that you "find personally meaningful, something that you yourself are prepared to invest time and money in, something that has lifelong benefits", if the kids simply get nothing from it. It sounds as though your kids do, so it works. But, that's not always going to happen.

post #58 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

But, there's not a lot of value in pushing kids to participate in an activity that you "find personally meaningful, something that you yourself are prepared to invest time and money in, something that has lifelong benefits", if the kids simply get nothing from it. It sounds as though your kids do, so it works. But, that's not always going to happen.


Of course it's not always going to happen. Every family is different, and every kid is different. However, I'd bet that most kids will not "simply get nothing" out of participation in an activity that the parent truly finds personally meaningful, etc. How else do we pass along our values? I firmly believe that my kids are doing well with their music not because they have some God-given special talent, but because they have been exposed to music since the day they were born, because it's something they get to do with mama, because they take pride in their accomplishments, and because music is beautiful. Yes, I require them to practice every day, but I also look forward to their practice hour every day (truly I do). And they pick up on that. No, they don't always want to practice, but even my 7yo sees the connection between the hard work and the rewards it brings.

post #59 of 70

I think it should be entirely up to him. Let him know that you're more than willing to help him get into a sport or class if that's what he wants, but then just let it be. IMO, we take part in those activities because we enjoy them, have an interest in them, or get something out of them. If that isn't happening, why would he care?

 

:)  Un

post #60 of 70

Un - that works awesome for kids who get jazzed about something, but there ARE kids who would seriously do NOTHING, or just play video games and watch TV.  Not read.  Not play outside, swim, not even learn a card trick.  I know it's hard to think that pushing someone else into something could ever be good for them, but sometimes it is.  I think we need to respect that parents make the choices they do w/the best interests of their kids at heart.  Those who don't should self-condemn and self-correct, of course, and there are those who need to learn that lesson (possibly me!), but in general one philosophy is unlikely to solve everyone's needs/problems.  Respectfully submitted.

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