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#1 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I thought about posting this in discipline, but I don't think ds is really "acting up".
So we signed him up for soccer this year, he is 4.5 and this was his first time playing. He's a pretty quiet and reserved kid and has been staying home this past year because we had our second son (now 4 months). Without me working we just did not have the funds to send him to preschool although dh and I felt he really would have benefitted from it. He's been in daycare previously and the socialization was really good for him and he started opening up more. So to help out with this we sent him to swim lessons this winter and that has been going well, he made a friend and really responded positively to his teachers.

So all of this is just to frame the situation. Soccer was something he expressed interest in (although he really didn't have a concept of the game other than you kick a ball) and we hoped to give him more interaction with other kids. We also moved before this year and so he has had limited contact and opportunity to make friends.

Anyway he was excited to start and surprised us by not acting shy at all during the first to practices. Then they had their first game and no surprise to us he refused to play. We thought it was probably due to it being at a different park and more people there, ie the other team, parents, and other games going on. Well after that we've had 4 practices and 1 game and he has refused to participate in any of them. He doesn't argue with us against going to practice or games but when we get there he won't interact and just stands on the side lines with either dh or I trying to encourage him to play. Granted his coaches are not the most experienced with kids his age (they've coached older kids) and they don't really seem to be getting down on the level of these younger kids. Ds usually warms up to really friendly/warm/smiling people and although nice, these guys come across as kind of "tough" guys, kwim?

So I had thought maybe we would pull him from the team since we've tried for two weeks with no budging from him. But now I've scanned the registration policy I see that there are no refunds for the program. We are in a tight spot financially anyway and so this is a real bummer.

My question is do we keep sending him to practice and games and encouraging him (getting kind of frustrating for all of us). Or do we just drop the whole thing and not have him go and just let the coach know he won't be coming? On top of this we are having a lot of behavior issues at home and have been for some time now (unrelated), but it certainly would add to our stress of issues with him if we have one more thing to argue with him about, because now he's decided he won't even go to practice. I don't want to force him to do something he doesn't want too, but since we can't cancel, I don't know what to do. I also don't want his reserved nature to keep him from having a potentially good experience. When do you give up?

Sorry this is so long. If you have any insight or experience, btdt, I'd appreciate any input.
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#2 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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My DS1 started playing soccer in the fall, he was 5.5yo. The first few weeks he would be on the fiel for practice and kinda gently kick the ball around, but he didn't participate in the fun games the coach used to teach skills. The first few games we attended, he just ran around the field a little, refused to play a few times, participated a little bit, but was generally not very actively participating. We didn't really push at first, just encouraged. Pointed out how much fun everyone was having, etc. I'd say 4 weeks in I pulled him aside and gently pointed out that we didn't sign him up for soccer to sit around like a bump on a log. He didn't have to play, but if he chose not to, we wouldn't be coming every week. We pointed out it was frustrating for his team and his coach b/c they were working hard and having fun and he wasn't. It was frustrating for us b/c we lugged 3 other kids w/ us to practices and games, and it was time we were giving up for an activity he wasn't participating in. He chose to play and it got better every week. He's now in Spring soccer and he LOVES it. He's participating at every game and practice and really picking up the skills.

I should also point out that our U6 program (under 6yrs old) doesn't play games to keep score or even use proper soccer field positioning, it's just to get them comfortable with the ball, handling it, and interacting with their team as teammates.

My DD1 just started our Little Kickers program which is for 3yr olds- early 5. They only play 1x/ week for 1 hour for 8 weeks. They don't play "games", but instead use fun drills to teach skills. They want them to be comfortable w/ the ball and taking instruction from the coaches. They encourage the parents to get in there during practice and play, too.

DD1 REFUSED to participate the 1st practice. We expected it, didn't push at all, and just pointed out how much fun was being had. Saturday is her next time in, we'll see how she does. Eventually, if she chooses to continue to just sit and not participate, we'll give her the same choice. Keep up w/ soccer and participate or we'll stay home Saturday mornings. The coach made sure to point out to parents that at this age, it's normal for kids not to participate for a while. In the past, he had 1 child whose father played at every practice while the kid sat on the sidelines for the first 3 weeks. At week 4, the kid decided to play

I think you should give him a bit more time since this is normal for him. Eventually, let him decide. We were willing to accept if either our kids decided to stop mid season and just eat the fee we had paid.

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#3 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 04:24 PM
 
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Quiting in the middle of the season is not an option for our family. If our children sign up to play a sport, then they will finish the season. They may not ever play again and that is ok.

In the meantime, I would remove all negativity and frustration. Point out all the fun the other children are having and then let it go. If he chooses to join in great, if not then just let him sit on the sidelines. When he sees that you and dh could careless if he actually plays or not, he may just surprise you.

Have you asked him why he doesn't play?

Others may not agree with me, but in our family we stress honoring our commitments and following through when we say we are going to do something. It is an important lesson to learm IMHO.

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#4 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 04:29 PM
 
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I would let him quit. He's four. With a seven or eight year old I might insist that they finish the season, but not a child this young. I think outside-of-home activities are entirely optional at such a tender age.
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#5 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well we've decided to keep him going. Although like today he is pretty much refusing to go to practice and we're not fighting him about it. This is partly our fault for discussing whether we were going to pull him out yesterday, before I realized our fee was non-refundable. But we're going to start talking about practice and soccer as usual and continue going. I'm glad to hear he is not the only one, although he's not doing anything at practice anymore not even kicking the ball with us if we offer. He did run around with me at the last practice with the ball, but then stopped when everyone else showed up.

FillingMyquiver, I think we could try having dh go out and play at practice and see what ds does. Dh would love to run around and play with the other kids anyway (he's a first grade teacher). But I don't think either dh or I are willing to fight him about it and we haven't had to about soccer yet, but we have plenty of other fights/behavior issues going on right now.

I do want him to understand having a comittment to something. Because for him if he can get out of something he doesn't feel comfortable doing, then his reserved nature would keep him home and he'd lose a lot of opportunities for meeting other people.

I think dh and I will have to gear ourselves up for not getting frustrated when he doesn't participate. We're certainly not pushy about him "actively" playing. I just wish he'd go out and kick the ball around.

I wish they had a Little Kickers program, because the games seem a bit pointless with these kids. Like I mentioned in the first post the coach seems at a bit of a loss on how to work with these little one's. Maybe dh should just jump out there and participate, he's been a kindy teacher and currently teaches 1st grade and is great with that age.

Thanks for all the replies.
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#6 of 23 Old 04-15-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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Well we've decided to keep him going. ....This is partly our fault for discussing whether we were going to pull him out yesterday, before I realized our fee was non-refundable. But we're going to start talking about practice and soccer as usual and continue going.
I think you are doing the right thing. Keep going, keep it mellow. He may decide to join back in, or not.

Different kids like different things and some kids really don't like soccer. At the same time, if you guys are there and it's no big deal, he might give it another try.

My kids are older (11 and 13) and I've had them finish everything they started, but I try to make sure that things they start are a reasonable committment. Things that are on-going and we pay for monthly, they need to finish out the month. This has been my policy since they were 3 and started activities and I think it's served them well.

I agree with you that the reason he made an issue about going was because you guys were going back and forth. My kids totally pick up on what is going on with him and generally do much better when I'm clear.

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#7 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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Eh, there's a time and a place and all that. We went through something similar with our ds around the exact same age, only it was t-ball. He loved the practices, did great (far better than we ever expected our cautious and shy guy at that age to do!), then had the first game and FREAKED OUT at all the people there. Wouldn't play of course. After that, he was totally done with it and that was pretty much the bottom line. Sure we could still take him to practices, etc. but he wouldn't do anything. He knew that more games would come along and he absolutely was too nervous to participate with that many people (the place they had the games would have 4-5 going on in fields right next to each other, so it really was a LOT of people!).

For us, we let him drop and instead worked hard on helping him overcome those issues so that when he was older he could actually feel comfortable participating and now at age 7 he's a different kid with stuff like that (though he really doesn't have any interest in baseball at all now). At this age we absolutely expect him to honor any team commitment he makes, but at that age? Not so much.

If you do want to encourage him to continue with it, maybe see about inviting the coach(es) over for a couple hours so your son can interact with them more one on one. If he feels they are more of a "friend" he may be more willing to participate.
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#8 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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OP, I think you have come up with a great solution for your family. The coaches probably have no idea how to encourage your son. It is great that his father can bring his experience as a teacher to the team.

As a side note, I understand what other posters are saying about the age and allowing a young child to quit. But there is a major problem with quiting an organized team sport in the middle of the season. I will use my son's t-ball team as an example. He plays 5 yo t-ball. Somedays he wants to go and somedays he doesn't, however, we always make him go. The problem is that the teams are required to have 9 players or they have to forfeit the game. DS's team has 10 players on the roster. (They have only 10 on each team to ensure everyone on the team gets a chance to play in every game.) If I allow ds to drop out in the middle of the season, then no one else can get sick, go on vacation, or have another commitment on the night of a game or the whole team suffers. Our city has 6 teams for 5 year olds, each team has the same amount of players so they can't just move a few players around to other teams to account for children who quit. When you make a commitment to a team sport, you have an obligation to honor the commitment because it's not only about your child. It's about the impact quiting would have on the entire team.

That's my 2 cents worth.

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#9 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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OP, I think you have come up with a great solution for your family. The coaches probably have no idea how to encourage your son. It is great that his father can bring his experience as a teacher to the team.

As a side note, I understand what other posters are saying about the age and allowing a young child to quit. But there is a major problem with quiting an organized team sport in the middle of the season. I will use my son's t-ball team as an example. He plays 5 yo t-ball. Somedays he wants to go and somedays he doesn't, however, we always make him go. The problem is that the teams are required to have 9 players or they have to forfeit the game. DS's team has 10 players on the roster. (They have only 10 on each team to ensure everyone on the team gets a chance to play in every game.) If I allow ds to drop out in the middle of the season, then no one else can get sick, go on vacation, or have another commitment on the night of a game or the whole team suffers. Our city has 6 teams for 5 year olds, each team has the same amount of players so they can't just move a few players around to other teams to account for children who quit. When you make a commitment to a team sport, you have an obligation to honor the commitment because it's not only about your child. It's about the impact quiting would have on the entire team.

That's my 2 cents worth.
Honestly that sounds like one of those "varies by region" things. When DS was in t-ball they had something like 15 kids per team to account for absences. If everyone was there, then they all played, but as long as I do think it was 8-9 kids were there then it was all good. Where we lived at the time, they expected kids not to show up or stick with it at that age. Now, once you get into sports for the elementary set it was a whole different world! I totally agree with where you're coming from on that, if my child doesn't like it and decides he wants to bail mid-season, then he's just adversely affected the entire team which is unacceptable to us barring a really good reason (injury, etc.).
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#10 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Good point about the team numbers. They only have 3 players in a game at a time and I don't see on the policy for his age division the # of players to make them forfeit. I think for his age they just need enough to play. But dh has mentioned how one child has not shown up at games, so losing ds would take them down to 4 players.
We've talked to ds about how he needs to support his team even if he doesn't want to play. We signed him up and he's been assigned to a team that is counting on him. If he doesn't want to play that is fine but he needs to show up to support them and take his turn bringing beverages after the game (which we are signed up to do at least once.)

SunshineJ, Yes, I think that is exactly what happened with him. Unfortunately they only had two practices prior to a game (because of weather the first week of practic was cancelled. On top of that the coach's skill with this age didn't really engage ds very well and the practices are all over the place, confusing directions, no clear communication that the kids can understand, etc.

Hopefully now that we will be maintaining clear lines with ds about what we expect ,we can get him re-engaged to GO to practice. As a sidenote it was only one evening of discussing the idea of pulling him out that has made him not even want to go. So I do think we have plenty of time to turn that around. We missed yesterdays practice because he was refusing pretty adamantly, but we've talked about how he needs to be at tomorrows game to support his team.

Wish us luck.
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#11 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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I think this must be really common around this age. I thought it was just my kid; all the others on his team have no problem getting out and playing.

We are another "honor your comittment" family. We told ds he doesn't have to continue after this season, but he does have to attend games and practices until the season is over. His participation level varies, but we do strongly encourage participation and listening to the coach.

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#12 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 12:23 PM
 
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Our general rule is that you have to go to the class/practice/whatever at the start of it and explain to your teacher why it is you are not planning to go that week.

Usually just getting there is enough.

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#13 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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Good point about the team numbers. They only have 3 players in a game at a time and I don't see on the policy for his age division the # of players to make them forfeit. I think for his age they just need enough to play. But dh has mentioned how one child has not shown up at games, so losing ds would take them down to 4 players.
We've talked to ds about how he needs to support his team even if he doesn't want to play. We signed him up and he's been assigned to a team that is counting on him. If he doesn't want to play that is fine but he needs to show up to support them and take his turn bringing beverages after the game (which we are signed up to do at least once.)

SunshineJ, Yes, I think that is exactly what happened with him. Unfortunately they only had two practices prior to a game (because of weather the first week of practic was cancelled. On top of that the coach's skill with this age didn't really engage ds very well and the practices are all over the place, confusing directions, no clear communication that the kids can understand, etc.

Hopefully now that we will be maintaining clear lines with ds about what we expect ,we can get him re-engaged to GO to practice. As a sidenote it was only one evening of discussing the idea of pulling him out that has made him not even want to go. So I do think we have plenty of time to turn that around. We missed yesterdays practice because he was refusing pretty adamantly, but we've talked about how he needs to be at tomorrows game to support his team.

Wish us luck.
Sounds like you are doing everything right, it's just up to him to engage. Crossing my fingers for you.

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#14 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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Quiting in the middle of the season is not an option for our family. If our children sign up to play a sport, then they will finish the season. They may not ever play again and that is ok.

In the meantime, I would remove all negativity and frustration. Point out all the fun the other children are having and then let it go. If he chooses to join in great, if not then just let him sit on the sidelines. When he sees that you and dh could careless if he actually plays or not, he may just surprise you.

Have you asked him why he doesn't play?

Others may not agree with me, but in our family we stress honoring our commitments and following through when we say we are going to do something. It is an important lesson to learm IMHO.
I agree with this. I'd take him to the practices/games & if he chooses to sit on the side let him. I wouldn't continue to try & get him to go onto the field during this time. Taking that pressure off of him may get him to want to go onto the field.
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#15 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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One of the reasons that I think that it is good to keep going through the motions, even with a young child, rather than letting them just quit altogether is that there isn't a magic age when it suddenly makes sense to make them stick with something. Instead, the amount of time and effort expected of the child continue to rise.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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It may be that team sports aren't his thing, but I think you should help him stick to it for one session to find out. As he gains more experience and feels more comfortable with his peers he may come to enjoy it more. If he keeps hating the games then maybe you could just have him go to practice.
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#17 of 23 Old 04-16-2010, 11:31 PM
 
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We've been going through the exact same thing with our dd, she's 5.5 and has always been really reluctant to try new activities, like kicking and screaming, but once she tries them, she usually likes them alright.

We joined the Y, and each dd gets to pick one activity per session. Last session, they each did the same thing, and I was there and could kind of participate with them. This time, dd picked soccer, and sounded excited, but once it came time to actually do it she started saying that she wasn't going to do it, that she wanted to change her mind.

I tried to be patient, but didn't have much luck The first practice, she kept saying she wanted me to go out onto the field with her. I kind of did, but I also have a 3 and 1 yr. old to keep track of. She ended up participating in that practice.

Last saturday was the first "game", but really just a practice. She pouted and said she wasn't going to do it, and my husband was there, and we all just left, and dh said she wasn't going to be allowed any activity until she was older and also said that she was going to have to pay the fee with her allowance.

Now, that might have been harsh, but it gets tiring when she won't even try new things to see if she likes them. Dh and dd had a talk later, and she said she was going to do soccer after all. She went to the last practice, and participated fully with a positive attitude, and I was really proud of her for giving it a chance.

I totally understand that she's young and reserved, and I want to respect that. But we get tired of the battle over ever little activity. We are also homeschooling and think she should be able to do one activity with other kids.

So I understand what you are going through. Good luck with the upcoming games and practices!

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#18 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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Mine are quite a bit older, so it's different now. But when they were little, I also required them to stick through the session of whatever it was. (* with one exception - see below.) It was always an activity they had asked to try, and therefore they were expected to give it an honest chance. And yes - that included actually participating in some way, shape or form.

It also helps if you practice with them in between. You don't have to actually play soccer, but kick the ball around, try to dribble, have him try to keep the ball away from you/Dad (who are naturally going to be *terrible* at stealing it from him, and completely useless at keeping him from stealing from them!), etc. Give him a chance to build his skills on his own, so he doesn't feel that he's inept at practice (whether he is or not).

(*) When my son was in 6th grade, we got to talking about wrestling and how it could be a good sport for him with his build and strategic mind. Signed him up for Rec, went to a few practices. Come to find out that they used the new kids as "practice dummies" for the more experienced kids. He wasn't learning anything except how to have his face and body ground into the mat by kids outweighing him by a good 20-30 pounds. THAT, I considered a safety issue and I pulled him from the program - and complained to the folks running the program. Fell on deaf ears, but at least he was safe.
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#19 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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Our general rule is that you have to go to the class/practice/whatever at the start of it and explain to your teacher why it is you are not planning to go that week.

Usually just getting there is enough.
It can be sooo easy for inertia to make me feel like I don't actually want to do something.

That said, even with the fee, dropping it is still an option. There just wouldn't be money for a new activity until the soccer season ended.
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#20 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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One of the reasons that I think that it is good to keep going through the motions, even with a young child, rather than letting them just quit altogether is that there isn't a magic age when it suddenly makes sense to make them stick with something. Instead, the amount of time and effort expected of the child continue to rise.
Maybe not a magic age, but it certainly makes sense to them when they've chosen the activity and enjoy it. If they have to be made to go then maybe it's just a bad fit. A kid who doesn't want to play isn't going to benefit being made to sit and watch week after week. However, if the OP suspects her DS does want to play and he's not resisting just going and watching, then why not? I agree with the PP(s) who said not to try to encourage him to go play. Better to keep the pressure off.

I also think that 4 and 5 year-olds are awfully young to be on competitive teams. I don't see how that's developmentally approriate. There should just be fun classes to learn more about playing the game at that age.
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#21 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 12:19 PM
 
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When my son was in 6th grade, we got to talking about wrestling and how it could be a good sport for him with his build and strategic mind. Signed him up for Rec, went to a few practices. Come to find out that they used the new kids as "practice dummies" for the more experienced kids. He wasn't learning anything except how to have his face and body ground into the mat by kids outweighing him by a good 20-30 pounds. THAT, I considered a safety issue and I pulled him from the program - and complained to the folks running the program. Fell on deaf ears, but at least he was safe.
wow. My oldest is in Grade 6 & had been in Judo for 2 years now. When they have practices they're supposed to partner with someone who is roughly the same size as they are(whether they're at the same level or not). the odd time they'd end up with someone alot smaller/bigger due to who is & isn't there, but they tend to hold back becuase they know they can get hurt. when they have tournaments they're into age & specific weight categories. They can move up 1 age category & they will combine some weight divisions. Injuries can happen quite easily when you're fighting against someone your own age/weight category.

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I also think that 4 and 5 year-olds are awfully young to be on competitive teams. I don't see how that's developmentally approriate. There should just be fun classes to learn more about playing the game at that age.
having games doens't mean it is competitive. At that age here all the games are for fun & nobody is keeping score/track of who won, scored, etc. It's about getting out & kicking the ball.
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#22 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
Maybe not a magic age, but it certainly makes sense to them when they've chosen the activity and enjoy it. If they have to be made to go then maybe it's just a bad fit. A kid who doesn't want to play isn't going to benefit being made to sit and watch week after week.
One of my kids wanted to quit everything when she found out that effort was involved. Learning that she needed to stick with these for a certain amount of time meant that she worked past that and now has lots of things that she can do well enough to enjoy them.

My other child takes a while to warm up to things. Sometimes being on the sidelines is a GREAT way to get used to an acitivity.

This is a funny issue to me because I started out feeling the same as you, but it was a huge deal to my DH because he has two neices who were allowed to quit everything. They are in the 20's now and still quit everything when they find out it takes work.

Seeing how it's played out over the years for our kids (who are now in middle school) and I'm glad I let him win this one.

We are very mellow about what they start and very clear about how long is a fair try, but you can't just go once and then quit in our family.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#23 of 23 Old 04-17-2010, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
Maybe not a magic age, but it certainly makes sense to them when they've chosen the activity and enjoy it. If they have to be made to go then maybe it's just a bad fit. A kid who doesn't want to play isn't going to benefit being made to sit and watch week after week. However, if the OP suspects her DS does want to play and he's not resisting just going and watching, then why not? I agree with the PP(s) who said not to try to encourage him to go play. Better to keep the pressure off.

I also think that 4 and 5 year-olds are awfully young to be on competitive teams. I don't see how that's developmentally approriate. There should just be fun classes to learn more about playing the game at that age.
I do think he might like it. I don't think he's very competitive at this age, but he loves running and playing with the ball. I think he was initially very excited about soccer because of all the running involved. But for him it seems that he'll only do things when "all the stars are aligned" and I'm sure the coach situation and the games cinched the deal for him.

Well we went to the game today and told him we were at least going to support his team. I stashed his gear in a bag without him knowing, just in case he changed his mind. He didn't really want to go but he was pretty cooperative and was most excited about the snack at the end.....they really are so young aren't they. His poor team was getting hammered and only 3 kids played and so they were playing the whole game. I really wish they wouldn't have games. I do need to talk to dh about being a little less negative about ds not playing though. Dh is extremely extroverted and gets more discouraged with ds's reserved nature.
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