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Worried about 6 year old boy who wants to do nothign but go to school and come home and play indoors

(39 Posts)
bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:15:11

This might be long. My 6 year old hates doing any extra curricular activities. He goes to swimming and really enjoys that but won't start anything new. He has been swimming since he was in nursery and is actually very good.

But whenever I suggest he try something new he gets so stressed and then if I push it at all he gets really aggressive and screams, cries, stamps feet etc. By anything I mean going out on his bike with us as a family, going to beavers, tennis, karate, football, drama, music... anything. I decided okay maybe he isn't a sporty type and maybe not very outgoing so beavers seemed like a good idea. As far as I can see if he is simply shy then there is nothing about it that involves exposing yourself like you would have to in drama or something. All this friends do a whole range of things as above but he flat refuses. He acts completely crazy if I even suggest it or anything else. I tell him he is missing out and all his friends do stuff but he doesn't care. He screams and cries and kicks. He was like this starting nursery (and with swimming a bit) and I had to keep him going and he eventually settled in to both. He never complains about school and is doing well there. I feel Like I dont' know what to do should I force him to go although I am not sure I can or do I let him decide not to and then maybe regret it when he is older.

At first I thought of maybe the fact that my husband and I work he just wants downtime at home with us which I could accept but then he doesn't want to go out with us on bikes etc.

Then my mind move on to thinking whether he has a psychological problem. Then last night as he was going to bed he said in a completely calm way there is no point in giving me money for fruit tuck shop because X (a boy in my class) just takes it off me. He was almost laughing as he said it. Like he thinks it is a game. This boy has never really registered with us before. He seems nice and my son has always been happy at school and wants to go in the morning.

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:34:27

This might be a good example of the kind of thing. One another message board someone says "A friend forced her two sons to take swimming lessons. One hated it, but her reasoniing was "We live next to the canal, you need to be able to swim. Once you can swim and get your self out of trouble you can stop". We got him to ride his bik with this logis saying once you can cycle you will know for the rest of your life and won't have to do it again if you don't want to. So a sobbing child gave in and learned to cycle. As soon as he took off by himself he cycled a fair distance. Got off, picked up his bike and told me to put it in the car. I asked why and he said "you said once i learn to do it I won't ever have to do it again" he has kept up that line for a year now

annh Wed 10-Oct-12 11:40:54

Well, lots of children are not bothered about after-school or weekend activities or are too tired to want to do them. However, not even wanting to do things with you as a family sounds a bit extreme. How is he at school? Does he take part enthusiastically in e.g. PE, the Christmas production or does he have to be persuaded to do that as well?

What does he actually do all the time he is not in school - tv, computer, lego?? Does he have friends in school? Do they come around to play, meet in the park etc or is he really completely solitary once not in school?

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:49:23

He loves lego and swimming and he is happy to go and do these. He is particularly friendly with two boys who when they aren't in thier activities are in our house nearly all the time. The thing is those boys are going to more and more activities and he is more and more on his own as a result. He isn't particularly keen on TV and he has a DS but while he does play it he has been told it is his responsibility to charge it up which he usually forgets to do. He plays it no more than 3 hours per week. If even that

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:50:58

He isn't very outgoing but is happy with the school plays, he read at school masss the other day without any antics or any noticeable anxiety and as I said above we have no trouble getting him to go

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 11:51:31

I would NOT worry about this at all. Six hours of socialising out of the house is quite enough for many adults never mind children. I would let him be.

If there's a child stealing his money that, however, does need to be dealt with.

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:55:45

How? Especially if he thinks it is a game

steppemum Wed 10-Oct-12 11:56:10

He is only 6.
Neither of my older 2 did extra curricular activites at this age. Not even swimming.
ds used to come home from school peopled out. He didn't want to do anything, needed down time and space.
He started doing cubs in year 3. Has since given it up. He didn't want to do after school club until he could go to football club, Y3. I now make him do swimming, but he really isn't interested in organised activities. He would also when younger not want to do bike ride etc because he wanted to hang out at home and build lego. (although, when we got him out on the bike he would enjoy it). He just didn't want there to be a plan, wanted to be free to 'be' in contrast to school.

dd was more sociable, she started afterschool clubs in Y1 and now Y3 does swimming, ballet and brownies.

dd2 is reception. She does swimming and is so tired after school that I can't imagine her doing anything else for ages.

I don't think I would worry.
But i would want to follow up on that comment about the other boy. Chat in a laid back way to him about the boy, maybe he has seen something, or maybe the boy is picking on him.

I am not sure the two things (boy at school, and afterschool activities) are connected.

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 11:58:56

I would talk to the school bumpy. You don't know what's going on and so that would be my approach - ie asking the teacher, my son's said this, he thinks it's a game, and I don't understand what's going on, I don't want to get anyone into trouble but I don't want money taken off him, can you help.

What might then happen if it's a sensible teacher which it probably is, is that she or he might have a chat with the class in a general way about sharing but we don't share money etc, I don't know, that sort of thing. Alternatively she could gently talk to your son and say, you don't have to give away your money, it's not a game, you keep it safe. You can probably trust the teacher on this one, she'll understand the dynamic I'm sure. If the problem continues you can raise it again.

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 11:59:32

Everyone seems to be at something everyday and i am worried he will miss out. The bike think is really annoying but I honeslty don't care if he never plays football etc it is the screaming tantrums and the complete unwillingness to try

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:00:26

"peopled out"

Exactly. So well put. There are some people who just like to be on their own, or at home, for a while. Why shouldn't there be children who are like that. I think pushing him "out" will damage his confidence.

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:02:40

With the screaming tantrums and unwillingness to try, it may be a habit now whenever he's faced with a suggestion. I do actually have another idea, which is to stop all suggestions and play with him at home a lot yourself, lego or board games etc. He might be ready again in a year. Please don't worry about him missing out, it's pernicious and cruel this sort of thing. Be happy with the way he wants to be. Save your battles for when you must go out as a family.

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:03:28

Dont' forget, if you keep suggesting things, he tries them and doesn't like, he may develop a "quitter" habit, which is not the best thing in the world.

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:06:19

Yes I think you are right Brycie and we had resolved to do just that last night after yet another argument about beavers. I didn't take him and we played guess who instead. it was fun and easier on me and the rest of the family in the end But then he said the thing about the money and school and I wondered if he was afraid or someone or something. The boy who"takes" the money isn't in beavers though. I don't want him to be a quitter and I don't want him to turn his little brother - who is dying to go to beavers, loves his bike etc - off as he has previously turned him off tennis

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:08:52

Bumpy all I've done is read about your boy and I like him. Not everybody is ready for the hamster wheel at the ageof six, and I think for him it really would feel like a hamster wheel! He knows what he wants. I should think he's great company when you are not "arguing" about activities. I would make the most of it!

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:11:03

Also it's quite fun to be different. When the winter comes and it's cold and wet, and everybody is arriving home with exhausted children at 6 or 7, having to do homework and tea and bath and schoolbags, yours will be fed, homeworked and playing lovely games before reading a story. Mmmmm. How nice is that.

horsebiscuit Wed 10-Oct-12 12:11:57

I agree with Steppemum that the money and the activities thing are probably not connected.
Bumpy, do you and his dad do many clubs, hobbies and activities? The list you reel off of beavers, swimming, karate, tennis, drama, biking etc makes me feel tired just reading it. If he sees you enjoying a sport or hobby then that's a good start. Personally I just want to see my friends and MN (equivalent of Lego I suppose) after work, and it sounds like he's the same?

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:12:02

You've convinced me. Feel like crying now for the right reasons

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:13:13

Oh we don't do any of these karate etc. I just suggested these things to him as possible and he screamed

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:14:50

I didn't suggest them all at once. Each new term I suggest something he might like to try. Especially when his friends are starting new things. We never actually try them. So far he went to about 6 tennis lessons and absolutely refused to join in. He went to beavers twice and seemed to enjoy it once we got through the door. Everything lese was just a suggestion

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:15:58

I hoped me might eventually hit on something he would like to try but in the end I opted for beavers but to no avail

bumpy06 Wed 10-Oct-12 12:16:13

Sorry my typing is awful today

Brycie Wed 10-Oct-12 12:17:28

Bumpy smile have a lovely winter.

EduCated Wed 10-Oct-12 12:28:09

Sounds like me as a child. I eventually relented and went to Brownies grin I think just leave it for now. No suggestions beyond things you need to do as a family, and make sure that his not wanting to do things doesn't overrule DS 2 want to do stuff, IYSWIM.

In a year or so, he may want to try something, he may not. There's no law that children have to enjoy activities and stuff. Perhaps hes just one of life's introverts smile Christmas sounds like there could be some new board games and activity sets!

You do need to speak to school about the money though, because that's just not on.

steppemum Wed 10-Oct-12 12:47:23

bumpy, he isn't missing out he is learning creativity and originality (lego is better than beavers grin
He is giving himself time to process all he has learnt so he goes into school ready to learn again
He is giving his brain free time. All the best inventors say they need this sort of time to come up with their best ideas
He is learning engineering skills
he is learning social skills, turn taking, competition, strategy (playing games with you)
he is learning to fill his emotional tank by time with the people he cares about

Actually my ds is quite bright and likes to come up with his own ideas. He finds cubs etc just too similar to school

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