How to handle 3 y.o.'s disinterest in soccer - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone,
My son, Carson, who turned 3 in July, is currently involved in a 10-week soccer class on Sat mornings. It's 45 mins long, involves about 10 kids his age, and focuses on play, rather than actual soccer training. The coach is very good with the kids and laid back.
Anyway, my problem is that my son has never shown much interest in the class. He follows almost none of the directions the coach gives, and he seems very disinterested in what is going on around him (including the other kids). He is the only one of all the kids who doesn't seem to be having fun and who really doesn't pay attention the whole time.
Last week was particularly bad, and he spent the whole time sitting on the sidelines with my husband watching the other kids.
There are only 2 weeks left, so my husband and I are torn as to whether to just not make him go the last 2 weeks, seeing as he doesn't seem to be enjoying it; or is it better to make him go (even if he doesn't participate) to show him that he has to follow through with his obligations. We certainly don't want him thinking that anytime he doesn't like something, he can just quit.
What are your thoughts?
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#2 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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He's only 3. If he's not enjoying the class, then don't take him. He's far too young to understand "I've made a commitment and I need to keep it." He's far more likely to learn "Soccer is hard and classes are boring, and I don't want to ever play soccer or sign up for any kind of class ever again."

Even with older children, I question the wisdom of "keep going because you committed to it." I think a lot of adults have trouble letting go or saying no when it's healthy or appropriate to do so, primarily because they've been pushed to continue things that weren't working, and taught to not trust their instints.

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#3 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:44 PM
 
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At that age I would let it go.

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#4 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:51 PM
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He's only 3. If he's not enjoying the class, then don't take him. He's far too young to understand "I've made a commitment and I need to keep it." He's far more likely to learn "Soccer is hard and classes are boring, and I don't want to ever play soccer or sign up for any kind of class ever again."

Even with older children, I question the wisdom of "keep going because you committed to it." I think a lot of adults have trouble letting go or saying no when it's healthy or appropriate to do so, primarily because they've been pushed to continue things that weren't working, and taught to not trust their instints.
Exactly this.
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#5 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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Three is awfully young for activities like this. I'd let it go and try again in a year or longer. And I agree that the "finish what you started" lesson is not a great one. Better to teach kids to evaluate what would happen if they quit and weigh pros and cons of their decision.
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#6 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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He's only 3. If he's not enjoying the class, then don't take him. He's far too young to understand "I've made a commitment and I need to keep it." He's far more likely to learn "Soccer is hard and classes are boring, and I don't want to ever play soccer or sign up for any kind of class ever again."

Even with older children, I question the wisdom of "keep going because you committed to it." I think a lot of adults have trouble letting go or saying no when it's healthy or appropriate to do so, primarily because they've been pushed to continue things that weren't working, and taught to not trust their instints.
I agree with this completely.
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#7 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 09:13 PM
 
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Seems like terrible way to spend a Saturday. It's one thing if he's having fun, but he's not. As for following through-- was it his commitment to start with? I don't know many 3 yo who can understand "every Saturday for ten weeks".

He is not benefitting in any way from this, go do something fun! Enjoy your family time together.

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#8 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 09:25 PM
 
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I wouldn't make him go if he doesn't enjoy it, BUT is he *not* enjoying it or is he just not particpating? Ds went to a dance class for a while where he would sit in the corner "because there are too many kids" but he like to watch and he would do all the stuff at home, just not in the class, and he always wanted to go back, he just didn't want to participate, just watch. We went until the session was over and might sign up again in the fall, because he did get something out of it, just not in the moment.
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#9 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 09:30 PM
 
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He's 3. Don't make him go.
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#10 of 27 Old 08-16-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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He's three, and it sounds like it wasn't his idea. Don't make him go.

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#11 of 27 Old 08-18-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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At that age I would say let it go.
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#12 of 27 Old 08-18-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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If he doesn't like it, I'd just let him stop going. Maybe ask him his thoughts about it? Maybe he does like it and just isn't sure how to get involved? He'll probably tell you if he'd be happier not going. Three year olds shouldn't really have obligations anyway.
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#13 of 27 Old 08-18-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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At 3 I would stop going. Maybe try again in a year?
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#14 of 27 Old 08-18-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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Three year olds can't make ten week commitments. At that age you are still working on helping them follow through with ten minute commitments!

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#15 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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I run a small family based soccer league. Most 5 year olds aren't ready to commit even when playing with parents and siblings. Three is VERY young. Have you asked him if he wants to keep going even to just watch? If not, send the coach a thank you note for his hard work (or drop it off if your son wants that closure) and then let it go.

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#16 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 12:14 AM
 
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He's 3.
A lack of committment to anything but the toy of the day is normal. If he doesn't like it, don't force it on him. My 4 year old loves her dance group but if she ever expressed a desire to stop dancing, she'd be out as soon as she wanted.

Don't punish him for it. Don't rag on him about it. Just let him know "Okay, you don't want to do this? Maybe there's something else you could try? Would you like to help find it?" kind of deal.
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#17 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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He JUST turned 3 in July. Drop the class and move on. When my son was almost 6 we did this w. kick ball and it was a disaster and we dropped it after 2 weeks.

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#18 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 01:47 AM
 
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I'm chuckling a bit over this thread. Sorry.

Why not spend a Saturday morning kicking a ball around the park or back yard instead of soccer practice? Like everyone else said, he's three. Three is an awfully young age to introduce organized sports. Free-choice play would be a much better alternative.

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#19 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 02:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
He's only 3. If he's not enjoying the class, then don't take him. He's far too young to understand "I've made a commitment and I need to keep it." He's far more likely to learn "Soccer is hard and classes are boring, and I don't want to ever play soccer or sign up for any kind of class ever again."

Even with older children, I question the wisdom of "keep going because you committed to it." I think a lot of adults have trouble letting go or saying no when it's healthy or appropriate to do so, primarily because they've been pushed to continue things that weren't working, and taught to not trust their instints.
I agree with this. Three is young to be in formal activities like that! And though it's laid back and play, it's still scheduled and he's just a little kid. Let him be a little kid and hold off on that stuff .

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#20 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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I'm chuckling a bit over this thread. Sorry.

Why not spend a Saturday morning kicking a ball around the park or back yard instead of soccer practice? Like everyone else said, he's three. Three is an awfully young age to introduce organized sports. Free-choice play would be a much better alternative.
Me too.
Just quit. Big whoop. He's 3.
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#21 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 02:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
He's only 3. If he's not enjoying the class, then don't take him. He's far too young to understand "I've made a commitment and I need to keep it." He's far more likely to learn "Soccer is hard and classes are boring, and I don't want to ever play soccer or sign up for any kind of class ever again."

Even with older children, I question the wisdom of "keep going because you committed to it." I think a lot of adults have trouble letting go or saying no when it's healthy or appropriate to do so, primarily because they've been pushed to continue things that weren't working, and taught to not trust their instints.
What she said, 'cause she's generally a very smart person.

I really don't get the "keep going" attitude. Ok, I understand that finishing something is important, but I have personally been very conflicted over backing out of something I knew wouldn't end well because of the "keep going" attitude. In the end I decided that other peoples opinions were less important than my academic success and withdrew from the class in question, but I still felt horrible guilt over not following through. Even thinking about it now gives me a nasty feeling over it.

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#22 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 02:54 AM
 
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I'm really surprised that your son was the only one not following directions! Dd started a similar program when she was about 4.5 and the majority of her team could be found picking flowers in the next field over or playing with each other at any given time. Most of them seemed to have fun, but it looked like trying to herd cats most of the time.

At 3 any lesson is just for fun, so I would totally skip it if he's not into it.
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#23 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 02:59 AM
 
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Your situation sounds like exactly where we were at last year when my son was three, except it was golf. DS begged us to start with golf classes, we did, and all he wanted to do was hit the ball as far and as often as he could. He wouldn't listen very long to the coach about how to hold the club or about taking turns he just wanted to swing swing and swing. Needless to say, we quit going to class after about three or four times. I'd stop going...and maybe wait a year ot two or try another sport.

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#24 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 03:55 AM
 
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i think it is personality as well. maybe he just isn't into it? and he'd like some other activity better? i think at just over 1 yr my ds would love soccer at that age, but he will dribble a ball across our living room! and at 3.5 my dd will not even kick a ball around the house/yard. she is just not interested, but she will read in her room for hours.

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#25 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your responses! It seems unanimous that we shouldn't push the issue with Carson, and that is what we intend to do. I especially appreciate those of you who suggested that he is too young to be held to a commitment - makes sense. It will take the pressure off of all of us to just not go if he doesn't want to, and, like a lot of you suggested, we can spend the time doing something we all enjoy as a family
However, I do wish everyone could just be *nice* like most of you were. In particular, Sparkletts, why post a reply at all if you are just going to be rude?
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#26 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 12:31 PM
 
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My intent was not be be rude. I DID chuckle a bit over this thread- we so often forget that our kids are three. Their outlook on life is based on exactly 3 years of life experience, and yet so often we let ourselves become concerned over teaching them values like commitment and the ideals associated with organized sports. If you just step back and look at it, just recognizing that these kids are three is often the best solution to many problems.

On MDC you will find that people often have opinions that differ from yours and have different ways of expressing those opinions. Personally, the very idea of forcing a very young child to take lessons in organized sports is totally outside my parenting philosophy, which is why I reacted as I did. You can take it or leave it. My apologies if I offended you- that was certainly not my intent.

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#27 of 27 Old 08-19-2010, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Sparklett for your explanation and apology. I really DO care about doing what is best, and what is most important for my son's self-esteem, which is why I posted this thread in a gentle discipline forum. It is not my intention and never was, to force this on my child. From the start, he loved the idea, and at first, he enjoyed going. Like I said, it's very unstructured, and no actual soccer games are going on - just fun games and skill learning. The coach never forces anyone to participate in any of it if they don't want to. I wanted it to be fun, which is why it makes sense to stop going if it's no longer fun. I needed the gentle reminder of that, and appreciate you and everyone else taking the time to respond.
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