I've wanted to post this for quite a while, but I'm having trouble articulating exactly what I want to say. So I'll just jump in - sorry if I'm disjointed.
My 7-year-old DD refuses to do any organized extracurricular activities. My background is so different from her childhood that I'm having trouble figuring out my reasons for wanting her to do extra activities. I grew up on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. We didn't have any sports available, other than working on the ranch.
If we wanted to swim for fun, my mom could drive us 20 miles each way to a city pool, which she did every week or so. Starting when I was nine, Mom drove me 20 miles each way for piano lessons, all the way through high school. And my parents paid for my B.S. in music, and helped me get my master's in opera. So they were very supportive of what I wanted to do - we just didn't have *any* resources in my town.
My DH, on the other hand, grew up in NYC, was in a youth orchestra, went to the performing arts high school, and did international piano competitions when he was in high school. And he hated it. He feels to this day like he had no childhood.
So here we are. Since we live in the suburbs, I want my DD to take advantage of the resources I didn't have. And DH, having been forced to be so concentrated, wants her to be free to sit around and watch TV/play video games all day. We don't argue about it - DH really leaves most educational decisions up to me.
But DD says "no" to every extra-curricular I offer her. She says, "I don't want people telling me what do to." (Ugh, I cringe at how that sounds.) I have friends who force their 7 year-olds to do *something* - the kid chooses, but they have to participate in one thing at all times. I've been afraid that if I force DD, it will just turn her off that activity forever. She has a knack for swimming, so we keep a pool pass year-round so she can fool around in the pool. She has a knack for music, but does nothing with it outside school and making up her own compositions at home. I don't even know if there are other things she'd be good at, because she won't try. And she's *such* a perfectionist, which is why I'm posting this on the Gifted board.
So far, I've just been waiting for her to express an interest in something. But meanwhile, her friends have been doing dancing, gymnastics, soccer, swimming, etc, for years. I'm afraid that if she decides to join when she's older, she'll be so behind that it will be discouraging. (I know she's competitive like me - if she can't be good at something, she will drop it immediately.)
OK, so after all the background (sorry again to get so long,) a) do you encourage your kids to do extra-curriculars, and b) if they're not interested, do you let it go, or *strongly* encourage them to choose something anyway? I read all the statistics on girls in sports, so I'd love her to do something sporty. But am I being a Mama Rose - wanting her do something I couldn't, or will the benefits to her outweigh her initial reluctance?
I'd really appreciate any insights/advice you can give me! Thanks in advance!