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DS and activites

(11 Posts)
LizzyLiz Tue 04-Oct-11 12:08:17

I'm hoping for other people's views on this and perspective on this please!

DS1 is 9 and I worry a bit about him socially. He is quite reserved and likes to spend time by himself doing lego or reading or wii/computer.

He can be very resistant to trying new things and has always been like this. We used to struggle over swimming lessons (he loves swimming now), struggled over learning to ride a bike (enjoys this now), tried and gave up football, not interested in joining any clubs or groups at school. He isn't interested in art club, tag rugby, cross country, rounders, choir, recorder, science club or anything else I have suggested to him.

He really wanted to take up Judo and after sometime I agreed he could. I was a bit reluctant as it's not a cheap hobby but he was so keen that he started. We paid for a year's membership, bought his outfit after a few weeks of going when he said he loved it and we pay monthly on top for lessons. Now (6 months later) he says he hates it, it's boring, he wants to give up.

He recently started Cubs. He was on the waiting list for a long time before he got a place. He says it's boring and he wants to stop going. The adults at Cubs say he joins in and seems happy whilst there.

I feel that having wanted to do Judo he needs to give it longer before he decides to stop. I want him to commit and work at something rather than give up because he'd rather not go out after school. I also want him to do some activities after school from a social aspect.

He is a lovely natured but quiet child and he does prefer small to large groups. He has a few friends but is definitely better 1-1 and happily plays with people at home that he wouldn't play with at school because they'd be part of a larger group.

Should I just let him choose what to start/stop like this? Is it right to insist he carries on for a given time when it was his choice to start? Am I worrying too much, should I just relax and go with what he says? (If I had done this in the past he wouldn't be able to swim or ride a bike). It doesn't feel right to force him into doing activities but I would like him to learn that he can't just give up easily and also see the benefits of learning skills and doing things out of school.

Sorry it's so long. I'm confused and doubting myself!

lljkk Tue 04-Oct-11 12:11:35

Could you make clearer when he starts each activity (after the freebie trial sessions, I mean) how long he has to commit for before he can give up? Most people would say that he has to finish up any time he's commited to (like a full year to make most of Judo license), but don't push it beyond that, because we all need freedom to try things and quit later.

Swimming & cycling feel like essential life skills, but the other stuff feels more optional to me.

I have insisted that mine make a "deposit" out of their pocket money before they can try anything, and they only get the deposit back once they've done so much of it. But that's because mine are butterflies, not adverse to new experiences.

lljkk Tue 04-Oct-11 12:16:18

Could you make clearer when he starts each activity (after the freebie trial sessions, I mean) how long he has to commit for before he can give up? Most people would say that he has to finish up any time he's commited to (like a full year to make most of Judo license), but don't push it beyond that, because we all need freedom to try things and quit later.

Swimming & cycling feel like essential life skills, but the other stuff feels more optional to me.

I have insisted that mine make a "deposit" out of their pocket money before they can try anything, and they only get the deposit back once they've done so much of it. But that's because mine are butterflies, not adverse to new experiences.

lljkk Tue 04-Oct-11 12:16:36

oops! Computer crash blush

TeriHatchetJob Tue 04-Oct-11 12:20:24

I think you've tried a lot of activities and now maybe let him just 'be'. Let him indulge in his reading and lego etc and just go with the flow rather than try so many organised activities and clubs.
He may easily change as he gets older and more opportunities come naturally to him through school and just developing other interests by himself.

My teenager was quite similar when he was your boys age - I dread to think how much I've paid out for kit and activities over the years when I bet half the time, the poor boy would rather have been pottering at home being him. I thought he would always be like that.

Over the years, when I stopped trying to organise everything for him he graduated towards the Air Cadets and now he's out two evenings a week doing PT, adventure activities and all the other stuff that comes with it and that's not to mention the weeks and weekends away doing all sorts.

Sometimes it's good to let them just chill and even be bored until they find their niche.

LizzyLiz Tue 04-Oct-11 12:28:28

Well, the judo I thought a year because that's how long the membership fee was and also I think only doing an hour a week he would need that long to feel like he's really learned some and can 'do' judo, iykwim.

Cubs I'm not sure. He's done about 5 weeks. I think he is worried about having to do certain activities (taking part in the local carnival, though that's not essential, and camps as he occasionally wets the bed still) and that makes him negative about the whole thing. I'm hoping that if he gives it maybe 6 months he's feel part of the group, involved and enjoy it.

Paying a deposit is a great idea but he would choose not to do anything I think.

I agree about the swimming and cycling being essentials and other things optional. But, I also worry that if he chooses not to do any other activites he'll never get past the starting/learning stage to the having fun/getting pleasure from stage which he now does have from swimming and cycling because he was made to learn.

LizzyLiz Tue 04-Oct-11 12:30:47

Teri, thank you! I'm torn between thinking 'leave him alone' and 'you're failing him by letting him just sit at home' so hearing about your DS is heartening!

lljkk Tue 04-Oct-11 12:36:11

My DS1 was never much of a joiner, but DS2 & DD have more than made up for him. I now appreciate having one quiet homebody child.

With the Judo, what about coaxing him to continue until the last grading of his year's membership? See how many tabs he gets then, and he can leave on a high.

cat64 Tue 04-Oct-11 13:29:34

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cat64 Tue 04-Oct-11 13:31:21

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CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 04-Oct-11 14:43:15

I'm an arm-twister. I've made DS join in because, otherwise, he probably wouldn't. I enrol him in things and then make up reasons why he can't quit... freely admit it, bossy, horrible mother that I am. smile Now, finally, age 11 he's taken the initiative and, in his first week at secondary, joined what looks like every after school activity going! He still likes to spend a HUGE amount of time reading or playing Wii etc., but it does feel like an improvement.

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