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15 y/o wants to give up swimming!

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

We have 5 children and 4 of them are on a swim team. My 15 y/o has been on a team swimming since 1st grade. He is not a wonder swimmer, but he is doing very well. He wants to give it up. He says that he does not want to do ANY sports. Now we are reasonable people. If perhaps he had a passion for something else then we would say fine, pursue your dream. Our DS only has a passion for watching T.V, (We have not game sets at our house, sp that is not a problem. ) and socializing with other kids. This is his favorite thing to do - GO out with friends!

 

Ds does not get awesome grades, they are B's and C's. He is not a scholar, nor do we ever expect him to be. He is GOOD at swimming. It gets him out of the house 5 nights a week. There are meets on some weekends, which is good, because then he is not hanging with friends all the time.

 

He says other kids don't do a sport, but in the small town we live in, there are not many sports TO do. Also the kids here are very poor and their parent just can't afford a sport.

 

What is he going to do if he does not have swim? As it is come March it is over. Then we will be faced with the difficult question every weekend, "Can I go over to ______'s house?"

 

We have to admit that we also want him to continue, because WE have spent so much money and time for the sport. But I think most of all we just worry that DS will have nothing after it is gone. Our DS does not have all the wires connected in his head and if he give it up, he may in 5 years say, "Why did you let me?"

 

Anyone have advice? BTW if he gives it up he won't change his mind in a year and come back to it.

post #2 of 41

Fundamentally, I think a fifteen year-old is plenty old enough to decide whether he wants to be involved in a sport or not.  I might insist that a kid that age remain involved in *some* extracurricular activity, but I think it's fine for him to pick which ones, and switch every year or every semester.

 

You describe really *intense* involvement in this sport.  Five times a week and meets on weekends is a huge chunk of time.  Maybe he wants more variety.  Maybe he would enjoy swimming more if he didn't do it so often.  It's possible that your son has identified that swimming is taking more of his energy than he wants, and that with the free time, he might feel less stressed, catch up on sleep, put more energy into his schoolwork, pick up some other hobby, or, yes, spend more time with his friends.  (You seem to have a really big objection to that - why shouldn't he hang out with friends?) 

post #3 of 41
I think if he's part of a team, he should stick it out for the season - it's only a few more weeks. After that, if he wants to drop it, he should be allowed to.
post #4 of 41

Certainly he should finish out the team commitment but after that, if he wants to drop, let it go. You don't know that he'll never come back to it. Even if he doesn't, it's not really something he could make a career at given you said he was good but not a wonder swimmer. He may find something else that he really loves. Maybe his grades will improve without the nightly time commitment elsewhere. Maybe he'll just hang out at home.

 

What's wrong with being with friends? He's 15 and it's normal for them to want that. Do you not like his friends? I can understand not wanting him out with friends 5 nights a week but surely it's not a problem on weekends and non school days. 

post #5 of 41

I agree with Meepy Cat.  Would you feel better if you sat down together and made a plan for life after swimming?  Like he would try A,B & C, go out with friends on Fri and Sat only, more time would be spent on grades.....

 

My ds is 14 and also plays a couple highly competitive sports that take up a lot of his/our time.If he were to give them up, I would be upset because it would seriously impact my  social life and world view.  After spending almost 8 years with most of the other families our social network would be gone.

post #6 of 41


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robin4kids View Post

There are meets on some weekends, which is good, because then he is not hanging with friends all the time.

 

He says other kids don't do a sport, but in the small town we live in, there are not many sports TO do.


My kids have swam competitively in past and part of what you are saying doesn't make sense to me,

 

Aren't there other kids on the team? Doesn't he have any friends on team? What about friends on other teams that he runs into at meets? Since meets are pretty much the same teams over and over, I'm not getting how a kid who has swam for 10 years has NO friends through swimming.

 

I think there's more to the story that you are saying. Are there social problems on the team? Have some of his old friends from swimming already quit? Did he like on girl on team and get shot down? What's really going on?

 

Second, what is wrong with him spending time with friends? That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I think that *part* of the problem is that you are trying to control him by keeping him busy and tired, and that he will rebel against that.

 

Last, unless he is part of a relay, it's an individual sport, and there's no reason to stay in once the current (paid for) month is over. Swimming is never really over, it just morphs from short course to long course, and it's not a team sport the way that other sports are team sports. 

 

If it was my child, I would talk to him and get to the bottom of what was really going on (because what you said doesn't make sense to me) but I wouldn't make a child of ANY age be on swim team if they didn't want to. I've watched parents do that, I don't think it's the best thing to do.

post #7 of 41

Look at it from a kid's perspective:

 

He's in school 7:30-2:30 (or something of the sort), and then on top of that he has to do homework, AND five nights a week he is committed to swimming, AND he gets no break on the weekend because of the meets? Sounds like he dedicates 8-10 hours a day to pre-determined scheduled things, and he doesn't even get a full weekend to regroup. To be honest, it sounds too much. Everyone deserves to have a little bit of time to unwind, even a 15 year old, yk?

 

Now, I love love love horseback riding, but even I wouldn't want to continue it if it meant five days a week and a weekend on top of regular day job. It sounds absolutely draining. Two nights a week towards scheduled activities sounds like plenty to me. I would ask him to join an afterschool club to cover one or two nights a week, and leave it at that. 

post #8 of 41

I don't think he should have to be on swim team if he's not into it anymore. I also don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to socialize and spend time with friends. If he's going to school all week, swimming 5 nights a week and some weekends, and still trying to hang out with friends, I'm not sure how much down time he really has to even think about other interests. I don't think sports are necessary and I don't think structured extracurricular activities are necessary. I do think down time and self exploration are necessary though.

post #9 of 41

5 days a week AND weekends? No wonder he wants to drop it. I'd let him. Everyone needs downtime.

post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by choli View Post

5 days a week AND weekends? No wonder he wants to drop it. I'd let him. Everyone needs downtime.



Agree!  You'd want to be obsessed with a sport to enjoy that level of commitment. Totally normal that he's done, IMO.

post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by robin4kids View Post
, (We have not game sets at our house, sp that is not a problem. ) and socializing with other kids. This is his favorite thing to do - GO out with friends!

 

 


Wanted to add that I think this is a reasonable want at any age. innocent.gif

post #12 of 41

Quote:

Originally Posted by choli View Post

5 days a week AND weekends? No wonder he wants to drop it. I'd let him. Everyone needs downtime.


 

When we were in swimming, the meets were usually once a month. All the kids on the team were friends. Older kids brought their home work and did it together while they younger kid events where happening. Families would go out for pizza together for dinner, or if some of the kids have blocks of time with no events (and their home work was done) one of the parents would take them to play minature golf or something. It was a blast. But it was VERY social -- whole family social.

 

Five nights a week was the max (usually 2 hour practices) but many kids opted to just come 2 or 3 nights a week. Homework came first and kids often took breaks for other activities -- such as dropping for a couple of months to be in the school play or play on a baseball team or something. 

 

In many swim families, down time is considered over-rated. In some families with a broad age range in kids, ALL the kids are in swimming, so they are all practicing and competing at about the same time.

 

I think swimming is a GREAT sport, and we were a family that practiced 10 hours a week and traveled for meets once a month -- while we were homeschooling. After my kids started school, they decided to drop. We meet some really wonderful families through swimming, and a few crazy ones. dizzy.gif

post #13 of 41

I'm not understanding why wanting to spend time with friends is apparently such a terrible thing for your son to want. It's really quite normal at his age.

post #14 of 41

I was going to suggest finishing this season and then coming up with a plan.

 

Erin

post #15 of 41



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

In many swim families, down time is considered over-rated.

Not by the OP's son, apparently. Though his mother seems to think it's over-rated. 

post #16 of 41

I don't want to sound harsh, but your son is not 5, he is 15 - and he needs to be able to start to break away from the family and what you want from time to time.  I am curious why you don't want him going out with his friends.  Do you not like them?  Do you not know them?  Friends are very important to kids in their teen years, and having no time to spend with them is bound to build resentment.

 

When the season is over, I would give him a breather and then ask him what he really wants.  It's possible that after such a huge time commitment that he just wants to do nothing for a while!  Maybe there are clubs or sports at school that he would like to try that he doesn't have time for now.  He needs to have some say in his own life.

post #17 of 41

When will he be 16? Tell him he can use his extra time to find a job. It sounds like he is "done" with all this. Your attempts to control him here are going to be ugly for all of you. It is natural for teens to want to break away from family as they figure out who they are.

post #18 of 41

I would NOT wait until the end of the season. This isn't a true team sport, and it goes on far longer than any other sport I know of.  No child should be forced to practice a sport he doesn't want to be in for 10 hours a week.

 

If he is on a relay team with qualifying times, then he needs to stick out until whatever the big meet is -- JOs or whatever. Even if that is the case, he should be allowed to cut back his practices to just enough to maintain his current time in that event (2 or 3 times a week). 

 

If that isn't the case, then there is no reason for him to continue.

 

There are so many things that are worth taking on stand on with our teens. Swim team just ain't one of them.

post #19 of 41

the season is over in March.  if it was my kid they'd be finishing the season & then if they wanted to quit when it was time to sign up again they could.

post #20 of 41

I would let him quit if he wants to.  For the most part it is an individual sport, so I would probably let him quit right now if need be.

 

I would also suggest some alternatives:

Is there a swim team that is less competitive that he might like to join?  His scheduel is intense - maybe he does not want to quit so much as slow down?

Would he like to morph into something else?  He is close to lifegaurding age - his interest could lead to a future job.

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