Extra-Curricular Activities for a 12 year old optional??? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
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#61 of 70 Old 11-30-2010, 10:36 AM
 
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Oh I totally agree that there kids who aren't into extra curricular things or activities. My son was such a child for the most part. He pretty much played video games (some very involved) and watched a lot of TV. He does read a lot, though most of the time it's online when he's downloaded an e book. I think that's okay.

 

I apologize if my first post came across as condescending or disrespectful. I certainly wasn't trying to say that approach is the only right one. I was just giving my thoughts on the original question. I just don't believe that kids should be made to participate in an activity they don't want. :)

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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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#62 of 70 Old 11-30-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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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


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#63 of 70 Old 12-01-2010, 07:52 AM
 
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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.


As great as music is, I don't personally feel it should usurp schoolwork, unless a child is an absolute prodigy (and even then, education is important.).

 

My boy took piano lessons early on, then decided to drop them as he wasn't that into it. It was only when he got into HS, that his interest in music came back - with a passion. In the meantime, he tried a lot of different things - cross country & football, Scouts, drama, etc. Today? He's a Music Comp major at a Conservatory.

 

And - as a pp indicated, a lot of people who are forced to take music lessons as kids end up turning away from it later in life. I know I did. I played piano for 13 years. I have a Steinway here at home, and a Yamaha Clavinova at my parents. I don't touch either. I keep the Steinway tuned for my son, but I don't play it.


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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. 


This must be a typo - how is it she gets TO school in <15 minutes, but needs an hour to get home?

 

Extracurricular activities do more than teach kids skills or keep them busy... they also teach kids how to interact with others. Social skills are very important in life, and they are more easily developed when kids are young. Even if they're not particularly social/sociable, it's important to learn how to interact with others appropriately.

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#64 of 70 Old 12-01-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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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.

 



I regards to parents being busy being work they have taken on themselves...yes and no.  I don't really think the choices are all that different than the kids choices.  Some parents have jobs that require a lot of work from home, just like some kids have parents that require a lot of extracurriculars.  Really, I often wonder they are one in the same.

 

Anyway to your point #1.  I don't think teens MUST be kept busy to stay our of trouble.  I know that not all teens who don't have extra curriculars get into trouble and I do know that not all teens in extra curriculars stay out of trouble.  But I know that my 15 year old is the direct result of having nothing better to do that have sex.  And logically, it only makes sense that the less free time a teen has, the LESS LIKELY it is that the teen will get into trouble, just because they simply don't have the time.

 

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#65 of 70 Old 12-02-2010, 05:45 AM
 
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We have never required our kids to participate in any extracurricular activities. The only requirement we have is that they spend some time outside each day, weather permitting. We also don't limit screen time or otherwise require/restrict their downtime activities. Dd started going to dance once a week this school year because she wanted to try it out but getting there has sometimes been a challenge since the job I just left did require me to work late seasonally & dh works over an hour from home. One of my boys enjoys playing music & we have instruments & recording equipment at home but he does not take lessons and we don't require that he practice. The other ds is into computer stuff so he obviously spends more screen time than the other kids - I don't limit him because I think that's a great skill to have and enjoy - and he also mountain bikes with dh. I guess I just really want them to have the freedom to explore themselves & the world on their own so that they learn to value their own interests & not those of others or those that they think others want them to value. 

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#66 of 70 Old 12-02-2010, 06:46 AM
 
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I regards to parents being busy being work they have taken on themselves...yes and no.  I don't really think the choices are all that different than the kids choices.  Some parents have jobs that require a lot of work from home, just like some kids have parents that require a lot of extracurriculars.  Really, I often wonder they are one in the same.

 

Anyway to your point #1.  I don't think teens MUST be kept busy to stay our of trouble.  I know that not all teens who don't have extra curriculars get into trouble and I do know that not all teens in extra curriculars stay out of trouble.  But I know that my 15 year old is the direct result of having nothing better to do that have sex.  And logically, it only makes sense that the less free time a teen has, the LESS LIKELY it is that the teen will get into trouble, just because they simply don't have the time.

 



Hope I do not sound argumentative - this is a really interesting thread with lots to chew on!

 

In almost all work place situations - the employee is expected to perform certain activities - that is why they are there and being paid.  There are consequences for not doing the activities.  If you boss is not reasonable, you can often find a new job.  It is a control thing - the employer controls the environment at work, but the employee chooses whether or not to be there and to work for them.

 

Parenting is different. I do not see myself as the controller of actitivites for my children - particulalry for my teen.  When they are babies and toddlers the nvironement is controlled, somewhat heavily, and as they approach adulthood, they get to make more and more choices.  Including whether to participate in extra-curricular activites.  I do this because I think it is fair and reasonable for teens to experiment with choices before they launch themselves into adulthood. 

 

Of course, if your paradigm is that parents do control the environment up until 18, then that is different. In some ways it is worse - because kids do not get to choose their families (unlike in employment situations) and in some ways it is better - one hopes most parents set their expectations out of love and a desire to see their kid thrive.  In both cases, yes, someone else is controlling the environment.

 

As per your last paragraph - I was researching why kids make poor choices for another thread - and many articles argued opportunity as a major issue.  Kids whose parents both work and have a lot of time alone at home.  Good time to have sex or do drugs.  I do get that not all kids will make poor choices - but I do not want to be naive and ignore the stats, either.  I do think parents should minimize opportunity.  If possible, I think there should be an adult home most of the time when teens are home.  If that is not possible, I think you have to look at your kid and decide whether or not planned activities may be a way to help keep them out of trouble.  I am not sure I would impose it on a teen  (unless they have earned your distrust), but I would strongly encourage it in some circumstances.

 

 

 

 

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#67 of 70 Old 12-03-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Extracurricular activities do more than teach kids skills or keep them busy... they also teach kids how to interact with others. Social skills are very important in life, and they are more easily developed when kids are young. Even if they're not particularly social/sociable, it's important to learn how to interact with others appropriately.



I've heard this before. If they learn so many social skills, then why were (and maybe still are) so many of the kids who were doing lots of extracurriculars also the kids who went around bullying people?


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#68 of 70 Old 12-07-2010, 10:04 AM
 
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I've seen this with my own kids.  They were both struggling in certain areas--my son w/reading and my daughter w/math.  Once they both started taking violin and piano, that has totally changed!  My son is now speeding thru the lower grade levels of language arts to 'catch up', and his sister is speeding thru the lower levels of her math lessons.  It's fantastic!

 

To the OP, I agree that he should not stop the jazz band until a logical stopping point--end of semester, end of school year, or at the very least, end of the next concert.  It's not fair to the other kids if he just quits in the middle.  Before my kids started their music lessons we had a long talk about what commitment they were willing to give.  After all, we were willing to give up things for ourselves to pay for their lessons.  They both decided that a year is reasonable.
 

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yes, and since more people drown when ice cream sales are high, eating ice cream causes drowning!

Kids who are more invovled tend to be the kids who naturally push themselves more and have more organized, supportive families. So of course they are tend to also do well at schol. I'm not convinced that making your kids stick with something they don't like will help them in school.
For music, anyway, it may be a bit more than that. There is some research that shows that music does help teach kids the importance of commitment, persistence and practice, because your perfomance doesn't improve without it. There is also a strong correlation between participation in music and mathematics, and some studies have shown academic achievement improves when kids are given music education.

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#69 of 70 Old 12-08-2010, 09:43 AM
 
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I agree with StormBride.  My memory of what this was like as a kid was that the kids who did the sports, in particular, tended to be the popular crowd, tended to be cliqueish and often were mean. Not that all kids doing extra-curriculars are mean but I think we have to unpack what we mean by social skills.  Kids on teams and in sports may learn to navigate different people, learn to fit in, learn to get along.  They do not necessarily learn (though surely many do) how to be their own authentic selves, figure out what matters to them and how to have integrity, learn to be empathetic and caring to others who do not share their interests or abilities, etc.  There are many ways to learn social skills and extracurriculars is not a pre-requisite.  
 

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Extracurricular activities do more than teach kids skills or keep them busy... they also teach kids how to interact with others. Social skills are very important in life, and they are more easily developed when kids are young. Even if they're not particularly social/sociable, it's important to learn how to interact with others appropriately.



I've heard this before. If they learn so many social skills, then why were (and maybe still are) so many of the kids who were doing lots of extracurriculars also the kids who went around bullying people?



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#70 of 70 Old 12-09-2010, 11:29 AM
 
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Maybe we should also unpack what we mean by "extra-curricular activities." Could be a one-day art workshop. Could be a six-week dance class at the local YMCA. Could be a season of soccer or a year of jazz band. Could be a life-long commitment to martial arts, music, ballet, or a particular sport. Or a synagogue or church youth group. Or some type of community service. Each of these extra-curricular activities require quite different levels of commitment, not to mention parental involvement. And each brings different rewards.

 

Furthermore, even within one type of activity not all programs are created equal. Just to take the example of music, which I am personally most familiar with, I have seen programs run by the most wonderful loving teachers who do nothing but foster cooperation, patience, perseverance, integrity and empathy. I have also seen programs that are the opposite, where all that matters are auditions and competitions and being "first chair."

 

I think it may be a mistake to talk in such general terms about whether or not we would "require" our kids to participate in "an extra-curricular activity." Every kid is different, every parent is different, and every activity is different.


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