Extra-Curricular Activities for a 12 year old optional??? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 70 Old 11-30-2009, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have not posted on this board since my nursing days. Oh, those were the days.

My DS is 12 and in 6th grade. We live in a suburban community where most kids are over scheduled and do a lot of extra-curricular stuff. I try not to over-schedule and let my kids pursue their own interests. My 12 year-old has never been into sports. He plays the drums. He takes one drum lesson per week (it's a 30 minute lesson). That's it. Nothing else. At the beginning of the school year, DH told him he has to pick ONE extra-curricular activity. There is a jazz band at school and he started Jazz Band, playing the drums.

Now he says he wants to quit. He complains every week that he doesn't want to go. "Why do I have to?" He carries on and on.

I am at a loss. I do not know if I "force" him to continue because we told him he has to do something. It seems sort of arbitrary to force him to continue doing something he really doesn't want to do. On the other hand, it seems like he doesn't want to do ANYTHING in his adolescent state. It is not acceptable to me for him to sit around and watch TV every single day after school. (Given a choice, that is what he would do). This is totally against my AP parenting style, but now that he is entering the teenage years, I am much less clear than I used to be.

BTW, he is not doing well in school. Doesn't complete homework, bad grades, very unorganized.............I think I would feel better if he was more successful right now and let it go, but I really don't know what to do.

ANY thoughts would be so appreciated.
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#2 of 70 Old 11-30-2009, 10:08 PM
 
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I've got the opposite situation. My 12 year old wants to do everything, and she gets frustrated that there are so many conflicts. Her love is music--playing the violin and chorus, but she'd also like to join swim team and do track and field.

TV and other non-homework related screen time isn't an option for my kids on weeknights, so if they wanted to do nothing, they'd have to entertain themselves.

Personally, I'd insist he did at least one activity besides taking drum lessons. If he joined the jazz band, I'd insist he finish out the season, particularly if it's competitive (requires an audition) because he kept another kid out. If he didn't want to sign on for another season, I'd make sure he did something else.

Dh is a high school teacher, and in his experience (and there's research to back this up) the kids who are more involved tend to do better in school. Now that might be because more academically oriented kids are drawn to activities, but it also might be that being involved teaches them the value of organization and practice.
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#3 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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So... what DOES he do except for his 30 minute drum lesson each week?
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#4 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 02:28 AM
 
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Now he says he wants to quit. He complains every week that he doesn't want to go. "Why do I have to?" He carries on and on.
Ask him what he wants to do instead.

I feel that teens need to be involved in something that is fun for them, but I'm really flexiable with my kids on what that is. May be Jazz band just isn't his thing. He's done it for a few months, he's given it a try. What would he like to do instead? If the point is to do something fun and interesting and this isn't it for him, what would be?

<<Dh is a high school teacher, and in his experience (and there's research to back this up) the kids who are more involved tend to do better in school. Now that might be because more academically oriented kids are drawn to activities, but it also might be that being involved teaches them the value of organization and practice. >>

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.

BTW, I have one of each -- one kid in everything and the other kid in exactly one activity because that is required in our family, and she's changing acitivities because she decided she didn't like the last one. She mostly wants to watch NCIS and read vampire novels.

Some how, I thought that since we practiced APing we would never have this phase.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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What was the commitment when he joined the Jazz Band? A term, a year?

In answer to "Why do I have to go?" you can say something like "Because you made a commitment to join".

So, tell him he has to stick it out until the end of term (this month?) or the end of the school year (June?) - 6 more months.

My son is 11 & has 2 after-school activities & home-work.
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#6 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 09:44 AM
 
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I have to agree wrt the length of commitment. Especially when it's a group activity - it wouldn't be fair to the rest of the group to simply drop in the middle. A "fair" requirement, to me, would be that he has to stick with it until after whatever concert they are currently preparing for.

In terms of extracurriculars and requiring them... I do think that extracurriculars are a good way for kids to expand their horizons a bit, stretch themselves by trying new things, having something different in their lives, expanding their social circle. And, in general, I think a busy kid is a kid without time to get into too much trouble. But it sometimes takes a few tries to find one that they really love.

My oldest tends to prefer more solitary pursuits - he'd be perfectly happy to spend all his time with a book or writing music. I've encouraged him to take those interests and build on them. So he joined Drama club and works on the school's Literary magazine. Both of which he heartily enjoys.

My youngest has never had to be pushed to join stuff. She prefers to be 100% busy, 100% of the time. She plays field hockey year round (with a short break for lacrosse in spring), is in a bunch of groups/clubs at school, and is auditioning for her home school's musical. The busier she is, the happier she is.

My only rule is that, once they join, they need to stick with it until a logical stopping point.
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#7 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 05:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

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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#8 of 70 Old 12-01-2009, 11:47 PM
 
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<< On the other hand, it seems like he doesn't want to do ANYTHING in his adolescent state. It is not acceptable to me for him to sit around and watch TV every single day after school.>>

What does he like do to besides tv/computer/gaming? Does he get together with friends? Ride his bike? Build model cars? Practice his drum? Care for a pet? Help around the house/yard?

Does he seem generally happy with his life? Does he have friends?

I'm asking because I started wondering today if rather than this really being about jazz band, he is depressed. I don't think the cure for depression is parents forcing kids to be in activities they don't want to be.

For the record, taking a lesson each week and practicing each day would meet the criteria at our house.


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For music, anyway, it may be a bit more than that.
Agreed. However, it's quite a leap to go from that to say that a parent forcing a child to stay in an activity they dislike month after month is in the child's best interest.

Unless he kept someone else out by joining, I don't see why he has to stay in for a whole year. Three months is long enough to figure out if you like something or not. Between school and homework, my kids are committed more than 40 hours a week, so I don't feel they need anything on top of that to "learn to stick with things."

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#9 of 70 Old 12-02-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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He should be involved in finding activities that appeal to him. It's frustrating if nothing seems to interest him.

What kind of sports has he tried in the past? If they were all team sports (soccer, baseball etc.), perhaps he might like something more individual - swimming or martial arts.

What about a different kind of music experience - drum circle instead of jazz band? Japanese or African drumming?

Or maybe sound recording courses to learn how to mix tracks and produce a CD.

Drama groups are often great for teens. They're often filled with interesting kids who are pretty tolerant of differences.

Animation classes, film schools (make a movie), photography courses....

Cooking class? If he doesn't want to join a class, maybe you could get him cooking at home. Tell him he's responsible for 1 or 2 meals per week, including grocery shopping for them. Give him a couple of cookbooks for cooking basics or children/teens. There are lots in the bookstores or libraries.

Are there other activities at home that he could take on? If he doesn't want to participate in extra-curriculars, what can he do at home besides sitting in front of the t.v?
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#10 of 70 Old 12-02-2009, 05:07 PM
 
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My 10yo has decided not to participate in any extracurriculars this year. He's played sports and been involved in clubs in the past, but he's just not interested in that anymore. He does attend school, he does well in school and is involved in a few extra (although not after-school) activities, such as school ambassadors and safety patrol.

I think that what he's doing is enough. My DS is generally happy, does plenty of socializing with friends during school and sometimes outside of school, and has independent interests (reading, drawing, writing) that don't necessarily lend themselves well to group activities.

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#11 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 04:33 AM
 
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This is coming from somone who was forced to do activites as a child/teen. I hated it. I much preferred my own time - probably what your call 'doing nothing'. When in reality I loved to read, I loved my alone time to think, let my thoughts just wander, but mostly read. Video games were also just making it into most homes during my high school years and I spent alot of time with Mario etc. But I hated being forced to join high school clubs etc. They just were NOT my thing. Heck school wasnt my thing. If I had known about homeschooling and all the different alternative learning choices life would have been soooooo much easier 20-25 years ago..

My ds-9 isn't much of a activity taker either. He will do a 1-2x class, or an 'event' type thing. Sports are out for him, anything with a large group is a definate no go. He does like art type things. And I do give him huge credit (and myself) for taking a 6 wks honors class at the univeristy for gifted kids. He does want to take the next session. (but I dont count that since its really school, but on saturday)

I guess what I'm trying to say, is dont force your child to do something. By the time they are 12 they pretty much know what they want to do. By all means, you can present options to him, make him aware of classes that may appeal to him, activites at the library, etc.... or if the family volunteers he should go etc but requiring him to take a class, do band etc... nope.

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#12 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 06:34 AM
 
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I would talk to the band director and find out some more info. If he's the only drummer in the jazz band, if he quits, the rest of the group may be unable to play. I played in jazz band in school, the drummer is a necessity for the band. You can lose a trombonist or a trumpet or two, but if you don't have a drummer, its hard to have a band. At the very least he needs to give fair warning. If there's no other drummer in the band, he should stay until an alternate can be found. At the very least, you should have a discussion about how his choice not to participate is going to effect all of his bandmates who need him there to play.
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#13 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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You've gotten great advice. I am definitely in the "check with the teacher, see if there is something going on, ask him why he doesn't want to continue, and then make him go to a logical stopping point". It's true, it isn't fair to the others in the group to lose their drummer until they can find another. He's old enough to recognize the responsibility he has to others. This is also a lesson for him and you. Maybe he's not such a group-thing kind of guy.

We also "make" our kids take at least one activity during the year, two during the summer. One of the summer activities has to be some sort of regular volunteering.

They get to pick the activity, though, and we are lucky to live in a community that has a great Arts Center, Nature Center, and Rec Center, all of which offer classes for kids and adults. Some classes one or the other has taken in the past: film making, computer video game programming, engineering for kids, fencing, ballet, theater, modern dance, soccer, yoga for kids, gothic/victorian novel reading club, wilderness survival, archery, sculpture, clay projects, and costume making.

The girls also take music classes, but that is really their own choice.

If he is unsure of an activity, see what your local rec center, library, or arts center offers for classes. Check with any local museums (science, art, history) and the local library. Some of those classes are only one weekend, or a couple of class sessions long, and so they wouldn't be the months-long or year-long commitment he might later regret and dislike.
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#14 of 70 Old 12-03-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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Some of those classes are only one weekend, or a couple of class sessions long, and so they wouldn't be the months-long or year-long commitment he might later regret and dislike.
I like classes like that.

I think that making a child stick something out for a year that they were unsure of trying in the first place is a really bad idea because I think it could easily make them less likely to try anything new, ever again. With my DD who isn't big on acitvities, we agree ahead of time how long is a reasonable try-out period for an acitivity -- how many weeks she is going to give something a chance before decides if she likes it or not.

And for kids who don't excell at school, activities away from school might be more appealing. Kids at school tend to get stuck with how other see them, but getting out in a different environment with different people can give them an escape from that.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#15 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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sometimes it can be so hard to know what the right thing to do is! i think it's important that kids pursue an extra curricular activity - something that makes them feel good and can take pride in, something that's just for them (if that makes any sense).

my kids are all in piano lessons and the boys are in tae kwon do, and the girls are in dance. when my dd was 12, she HATED piano. HATED it. i made her stick out the year, and now, 4 years later, she is playing the piano at her sister's junior 4 ballet class and wants to pursue music at a post-secondary degree. she loves it and practices for hours a day. this, from a kid who begged me to quit for a year. i'm so glad we hung in there.

at the time though, i wasn't sure if "forcing" her to take piano was the right thing. looking back, she was going through a lot of internal turmoil and i think it reflected in everything. we can look back on that experience and see how helpful it was for her to persevere and keep trying, even when she didn't want to. sometimes life is just like that, you keep plugging forward, trusting that at the end of the harder times, things will be better ...

that being said, she wanted to drop some ballet classes this year, and i was fine with that. she had other interests she was actively pursuing, and she was still being physically active in other ways. i guess it's a balance in trying to meet the best interests of your childs and your values as a parent.

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#16 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 02:56 PM
 
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I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?
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#17 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 05:27 PM
 
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I'm asking because I started wondering today if rather than this really being about jazz band, he is depressed. I don't think the cure for depression is parents forcing kids to be in activities they don't want to be.
I was thinking the same thing.

From another perspective - I was depressed in high school (never diagnosed, because I never talked about it. Nobody in authority knew about the razor blade tic tac toe game on my wrist, under my watch. Nobody in authority - and only a couple of friends - knew about the time I took about half the painkillers (aspirin, Tylenol and 292s) in the medicine cupboard. I'm sure everyone knew I had hormonal issues - I had a hair trigger temper and became violent very easily at certain times in my cycle - but I think the depression slipped under everyone's radar.

I'd have gone whacko if my parents had tried to make me take an extra curricular activity. I'd have ended up doing exactly what I did in school - showing up. Nothing else. If it was anything that called attention to me (eg. drama or choir), I wouldn't even have done that.

I have a son who's really into extracurricular stuff. He's a very happy, well adjusted kid, and the extra curriculars are a sign of that. But, I don't think activities are something that can be prescribed to make a kid more adjusted or make him/her do better in school or whatever (not saying you're doing that, OP). I find the idea of pushing someone to do something they don't want to do, when that something is supposedly a recreational kind of activity, really, really weird.

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#18 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?
What does one have to do with the other?

In my case, as someone who finds the idea of requiring extra-curricular activities absolutely mind-boggling, I don't require ds1 to have a job. However, he gets a fixed allowance of $20.00/week. If he wants more than that, he's going to have to earn it.

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#19 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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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.
I'm sure that's true. But, none of that means that requiring a kid to take music is going to have that effect. If I'd been required to take choir, for instance, I'd have skipped - every single time. There was absolutely nothing in this world that could have made me stand up and sing in front of other people. I did drama (had to take an "arts" course) in the first half of 8th grade. If it had been the second half, I'd have cut the entire semester, and I only took it because it seemed the least painful of the four options (art, choir, band and drama). If a kid doesn't care whether their performance improves, then taking music isn't going to do much.

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#20 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 06:08 PM
 
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I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?
I don't think the two are related at all. Extracurricular activities are about developing talents, socializing and having fun.

I do want my kids to do extracurricular activities. Fortunately, it's not a problem getting them interested.

I don't want my kids having jobs during the school year. Summer vacations, winter break, sure, but in my book school is their job until they are done with college.
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#21 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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I'm sure that's true. But, none of that means that requiring a kid to take music is going to have that effect. If I'd been required to take choir, for instance, I'd have skipped - every single time. There was absolutely nothing in this world that could have made me stand up and sing in front of other people. I did drama (had to take an "arts" course) in the first half of 8th grade. If it had been the second half, I'd have cut the entire semester, and I only took it because it seemed the least painful of the four options (art, choir, band and drama). If a kid doesn't care whether their performance improves, then taking music isn't going to do much.
Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine. But in my house they do need to find some activity, whether it's the arts, athletics, community service, etc.
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#22 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 08:31 PM
 
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I wonder how those parents who don't think kids should HAVE to do an extracurricular feel about jobs when they hit 16/17? Should their teen HAVE to work?
Those two things are not related. But to answer your question, my son does not have to do extra curricular activites but he will need to work. (my son is only 9 but unless money falls from the sky he will need to work)

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#23 of 70 Old 12-04-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine. But in my house they do need to find some activity, whether it's the arts, athletics, community service, etc.
Why? What if they really, truly hated all those things? Why would they have to take them?

I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids. (I knew about the ones who tried to force a kid to be a jock or a pageant queen or whatever, but that's a very specific phenomenon.) This thread has been an eye-opener in that respect.

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#24 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 03:06 AM
 
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I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids.
I do, but it's a very soft "force." One of my DDs is quirky with mild special needs. She used to enjoy all sorts of things, until she realized that everybody else kept getting better and that no matter how hard she worked, she wasn't getting better. Then she dropped out of everything and just wanted to be by herself. She had red flags for depression all over the place. Requiring that she try new things with an open mind and find things that she enjoys doing -- just for the sake of doing them -- is part of how I see my job as a mom right now.

For a while she took riding lessons and now she would like to take some red cross classes. There's nothing controlling or icky about it, it's just that we are committed to helping her find things she enjoys because we think it's part of having a full life.

I know a lot of families who require things, and most are fairly controlling about it. It seems normal to me for kids to be required to both play an instrument and a sport. That's not really it for us -- we just believe there ought to be SOMETHING that sounds like fun to a person.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#25 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 11:38 AM
 
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Why? What if they really, truly hated all those things? Why would they have to take them?

I honestly had no idea that anybody required extracurriculars, in general for their kids. (I knew about the ones who tried to force a kid to be a jock or a pageant queen or whatever, but that's a very specific phenomenon.) This thread has been an eye-opener in that respect.
Personally, I don't think it's healthy for a teenager to have no interests at all, other than sitting on a couch vegetating. Some kids need a bit of a push to try to find their own muse, and I don't think it's asking too much to have them find one activity.

I also want my kids to go to college. Let's not get into the "is college for everybody" debate, because I'm talking about the premises I'm operating on for my kids, not for your kids. Now, I'm not spending every waking hour thinking about making them have have the perfect application portfolio, nor is this my primary motivation in insisting they participate in some activity. But I do think there is a reason why colleges like to see applicants who have some interests beyond sitting around collecting dust.
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#26 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 02:24 PM
 
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The rule in our house is that the kids have to do at least two sessions of physical activity a week in addition to school sports. They get to choose what, and have to stick at it for as long as I've paid for in advance. It doesn't have to be competitive, but they have to take the exercise to be healthy.
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#27 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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The rule in our house is that the kids have to do at least two sessions of physical activity a week in addition to school sports. They get to choose what, and have to stick at it for as long as I've paid for in advance. It doesn't have to be competitive, but they have to take the exercise to be healthy.
I agree with another poster on here, as a child, you could have signed me up, dropped me off, etc but there is NO WAY I would have participated in anything. Your rule, house rule, or not, It just wasnt going to happen.

And btw, there is more to extra curricular activites then just sports.

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#28 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 06:18 PM
 
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Personally, I don't think it's healthy for a teenager to have no interests at all, other than sitting on a couch vegetating. Some kids need a bit of a push to try to find their own muse, and I don't think it's asking too much to have them find one activity.

I also want my kids to go to college. Let's not get into the "is college for everybody" debate, because I'm talking about the premises I'm operating on for my kids, not for your kids. Now, I'm not spending every waking hour thinking about making them have have the perfect application portfolio, nor is this my primary motivation in insisting they participate in some activity. But I do think there is a reason why colleges like to see applicants who have some interests beyond sitting around collecting dust.
I fail to see how not being involved in organized extracurricular activities somehow equates to "sitting on the couch vegetating". DS1's first extracurricular was gymnastics, which he started in 9th grade. (Oh - just remembered that he was in Cubs for 4 years, from age 8 to 11.) Before that, he was outside playing with friends a lot, learned to roller blade, learned to mountain bike, learned to snowboard, juggled, enjoyed dance sessions in phys ed, played guitar, expressed interest in learning to blacksmith when he's old enough (there are courses available around here, but most of them are adults only), went swimming with friends, and spent hours drawing and sculpting with modeling clay. We went on family hikes and bike rides, and when I wasn't in late pregnancy, ds1 and I would kick a soccer ball around in the yard, or play "scoops" (the ones where you catch a ball in a scoop) or toss around a badminton birdie. I don't think any of that resembles "sitting on the couch vegetating" in any way at all.

Having interests and being involved in organized extracurricular activities are two different things. Even as a depressed, drug using teenager, I loved to go for long, active walks, do puzzles of various kinds, read (voraciously - in addition to the depression, I didn't like how extracurriculars cut into my time to read), lift weights, do yoga, make candles, etc. I don't get the idea that people who don't have an official time each week when they participate in something are lacking in interests.

I also don't even begin to understand why a college would care whether or not an applicant's parents required him/her to sign up for things, or what that has to do with having interests. Having "interests" implies that the participant is interested in something, not that mom and dad require it.

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The rule in our house is that the kids have to do at least two sessions of physical activity a week in addition to school sports. They get to choose what, and have to stick at it for as long as I've paid for in advance. It doesn't have to be competitive, but they have to take the exercise to be healthy.
In addition to school sports? Does that mean they have to take sports, as well? Until another mom started giving them rides, ds1 walked to school (uphill) every day and walked back home. That's about a mile or so each way, and we felt that was a sufficient baseline. But, there's a provincial graduation requirement that each student logs 3.5 hours per week of physical activity, anyway, so putting our own rule in place would be somewhat redundant.


This has been interesting. I can't even even begin to relate to it, but it does open my eyes to a whole new way of thinking.

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#29 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 06:22 PM
 
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Oh, I agree. I have no musical ability at all. If my kid wasn't interested in music, that would be fine.
Oh - and I never actually replied to this part. I love music. I love to sing. I actually did join a choir three years ago (am taking a year off, because of the new baby), and I really enjoy it. But, even at 41, with far less self-consciousness, and a more manageable social phobia, it's been excruciating to get myself to a point where I can have fun with it. The whole first year was really stressful - fun at times, but also really stressful. It's not the music...it's the social side of it. (It is a little scary singing where others can hear me, because singing, to me, is very emotional and private - it's almost like having sex in public or something.) I've always loved singing, and spent hours and hours singing as a teen - in my own room, in my own space, with nobody around.

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#30 of 70 Old 12-05-2009, 07:22 PM
 
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I am with the camp that says it's important to do something with the time outside of school that doesn't mean TV or Internet.

IF my kid spends hours and hours drawing, OR playing guitar, OR rollerblading, OR <insert an activity>, then I wouldn't require an extra curricular activity. At the same time, chances are, if a hobby is of a true interest, then the kid will take a chance to advance their skill through classes. If 99% of the free time is spent on TV and computer, I am all for requiring something.


BTW, my mom made me go to music school (it was a combined set of classes in chorus, music theory, and piano AFTER regular school). I had to finish 8 years of it. I was fighting it for the last 3 years with greater and greater force. BUT! She gets to tell me "I told you so", because I love the fact that: #1. I stuck with something, #2. learned everything that I did in those years. She was absolutely right when she said "you'll thank me for it".

It's very tough for me to speak for DSD, since I think these kinds of things are important to develop when a child is young, and teenage years are kind of tough to all of a sudden start extra curricular requirement. There is too much going on to all of a sudden "require a hobby" if you will, especially if a kid never had to pick and stick with an activity. If she was my daughter, I'd make it a point to encourage a variety of hobbies from early on. Right now, between the school and her job she has zero time for scheduled activities, BUT the other day she did say she regrets knowing that all kids around her were in school clubs, sports, etc. and she never joined.

Alas, I'm just a stepparent, and don't get to make those kind of final decisions.

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