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Too many activities/hobbies?

(12 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Sun 16-Oct-11 12:30:04

Is it possible for a child to have too many activities?

My DSS8 has a swimming lesson every weekend, football alternate Thursdays when he's here with us, Karate lessons every Tuesday, and has just taken up two different musical instruments simultaneously.

I have noticed a deterioration in his behaviour (defiance, rudeness, lack of engagement) and think it's because he is over stimulated, but I'm not an expert....?

chelen Sun 16-Oct-11 13:33:41

Hi, My SS has 3 things per week, each on a different school night.

The musical insturments sound a lot - is he doing lessons as well as home practice?

I think the main issue is does your SS want to do all this stuff or is someone else encouraging him?

There is a lot of research that kids just want to muck about after school, so it could be that. Or he could be tired. Or he could be getting into a defiant phase - my SS is much more bolshy now than he used to be.

Sorry, I don't know if this is what is up with your SS, but it definately is possible for kids to have too much stuff to do and not enough 'downtime'. Then they feel rushed all the time which turns into resentment.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 16-Oct-11 16:41:02

He has a different peripatetic music lesson on a Friday and Monday - he's also just gone into year 4 so is getting homework once or twice a week - combine this with the fact that it takes him a while to adapt between houses, plus three sports activities a week and I think he's really struggling, poor lad.

I'm prepared to give him a bit of leeway - but don't see why DD and I should tolerate rudeness; but there is really nothing DP or I can do about it, as his mum has signed him up for all of these things although it's us who has to deal with the fallout sad

Just the practicalities are tricky - he comes to us after school on a Thursday with his two instruments, handover bag, school bag and lunch bag - it's a 20 minute walk home! We had hoped to start teaching him to walk alone over the next couple of years in preparation for secondary school - but he can't carry everything himself!

chelen Sun 16-Oct-11 18:49:25

Hi, yes that is a lot of stuff and the practicalities - loads of bags etc - prob annoy him a bit. I know my SS gets a bit frustrated with his stuff to carry and there are no instruments!

I don't see why you should tolerate rudeness either. Have you asked him how he feels? He might just be having a bit of a struggle adjusting to year 4 - mine is in same year and seems also a bit more serious this year.

Hope he feels more cheerful soon!

Booooooyhoo Sun 16-Oct-11 18:52:43

i wouldn't be so sure the rudeness is a result of the activities. it could be but i wouldn't assume this. in your shoes i would deal with the rudeness and leave the activity issue alone. if the rudeness really does persist then talk about dropping one activity and see if there is any change.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 16-Oct-11 21:03:30

DP has tried to engage him in conversation about his behaviour several times - SS just stares at him blankly!
We initiated a conversation at dinner tonight about school, behaviour and consequences and worryingly, SS showed disregard and amusement for the consequences that his yr 4 teacher puts in place - it sounds like he is one of the 'disruptive' elements in the classroom and his excuse is 'well, that's just me'!!

I'm so far out of my comfort zone with that one I dont know where to start!

scotchmeg Sun 16-Oct-11 21:08:55

Can you have an open dialogue with his mum? How often do you have him?

Vibrant Sun 16-Oct-11 21:21:21

My dd is the same age and has 6 activities, some in and some out of school and is learning an instrument, plus homework. She also goes between two homes, mostly alternate weekends, but does do the occasional midweek.

What I've noticed this year is that she has responded to the additional responsibility they get at her school in year 4, and does seem more grown up. I can't say I've noticed a difference in her behaviour - if anything she's more likely to discuss things with me and raise things she's not happy about in a more grown up way.

Is there anything else going on? Has anything changed? How are things between you, your dp and his mum. Is he an "only" at his mums? It's just that dd is an "only" too hence me putting her into so many activities. It's as much for her to be with other children as anything - but I also believe in giving her a wide range of opportunities, it might be that his mum feels the same?

NotaDisneyMum Sun 16-Oct-11 23:05:09

Things have not been easy for him - his mum didn't want DP to have anything to do with his DCs after they split; it's been very acrimonious until the last few months. His mums response to any concerns that DP ever raises is 'well, he's fine at home'.

DSS has an older sister (14) who opted out of visits to DP about a year ago; DSS has been open about how he feels about that, and he also went to counselling earlier this year after he disclosed that his mum had been saying 'mean things' about me and my DD sad

Things HAVE changed recently for him, but we don't really know what or why - all we know is that his mum seems to have far more disposable income than she did a year ago. Previously, she has pulled SS out of activities 'because she couldn't afford it', but now, she seems to be signing him up for everything going! She's also taking the DSC to Europe for christmas.

We also know that his sister has been getting into trouble - detentions at school and possibly more significantly, she has been subject to punishments from her mum for bad behaviour at home. This is a big change, as for a long time, DSS has always come second to his sister; she and their mum had a close 'friendship' style relationship and could get away with a lot and DSS was a bit left out and on occasion, bullied by his sister sad Now it seems that DSS mum is putting him first, but is it a coincidence that his behaviour at school and with us has deteriorated at the same time as this change has happened?

scotchmeg Mon 17-Oct-11 08:51:24

There is way more to this than the activities. Can he go back to councelling?

NotaDisneyMum Mon 17-Oct-11 09:47:28

Doubt it - it has to be via referral from a GP and last time, DP got to the stage of considering a specific issue order because DSS mum wasn't supportive and the GP was reluctant to refer DSS unless Mum agreed sad it was a real battle!

It's a nightmare situation because DSS mum just refuses to engage and excludes DP from the DCs lives; the only reason DSS comes to visit is because of the Section 8 Order sad

theredhen Mon 17-Oct-11 13:47:40

I doubt it's too many activities. Does he seem happy enough to go to them?

It might be too much when also combined with the two-ing and fro-ing that being in a step family entails. He is probably "all over the place" and finding it hard to keep up with what he is doing on what day.

I think the bad behaviour has to be tackled though, whatever the cause. Don't fall into the trap of making excuses.

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