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DS1's endless extra curricular 'demands'(14 Posts)
This could probably go in AIBU but with the many teenager disputes I am having from DS1 at the moment I am losing energy and so am hoping for some objective thoughts.
Have any of you 'restricted' after school activities on the basis that 'enough is enough'? What DS1 (yr 10) would like to do after school is an endless list. He is arguing about this by text before he even arrives home with a list of solutions to any objection I put forward! I am interested in knowing how much extra curricular 'stuff' your teenagers are doing if they are that way inclined. While I know its positive for them to be doing things and not just hanging around or worse, for me there are a few issues: he is the eldest of 3 by a long way so I cannot run around for him endlessly plus I work and would like some 'life'; this is a reasonable amount of money (c£55 a week I think); some travel on his own by bike is not ideal if it is in certain bits of this city and at certain times of day, and his school work has taken a sudden turn for the worst alongside his hitting adolescence with a vengeance.
And how much are your current teens doing? At present he does: lessons for 2 instruments, related orchestra one night a week, dance one night a week, basketball one night a week. He was doing another sport locally which was fine by me as it was very local, but he has an injury. He is now moaning about wanting to do more basketball tonight which involves a tricky cycle on major roads which DP and I don't think is a great idea or having a lift to another town. And he keeps on about Friday night tabletennis which would mean one or the other of us driving out on a Friday night at 9pm to get him - so I'm not keen at all for various reasons including Friday night .
My feeling is that he is already doing enough and if he wants to do more than a. his schoolwork needs to improve and b. he needs to drop something. AIBU? It's one way traffic from him at the moment, most of which is not very polite, so I'm conscious that I am not feeling very well disposed...
It would be a definite "no" if he was not keeping up with his school work. That should be his first priority.
Some dc do lots and lots and cope well with it, other dc don't seem to be involved in anything, and still don't settle down to do school work.
9 times out of 10 I reckon if you want to get anything done then you should ask a busy person.
However, you have a good bargaining chip if he wants to you take him to something on a FRiday night - he needs to have a serious look at the effort he is putting into his school work. Maybe sit down with you one night a week, with his planner, and showing you the work and the feedback from the previous piece of work. If all is well he can go, if it isn't then he can't.
I would also talk to other people and lift share so it isn't always you or your dp doing all the taking and fetching.
Thanks. Yes planner checking is a good idea and I have been trying that. Basketball was cancelled by me last week due to a claim that revision notes had been made and then when I asked to see them they weren't there. DS is very able and doing very little work at the moment. Teachers and I have just met up about this. My feeling is that he is likely to start writing less in his planner to wriggle out of this check though...sigh. As obviously if it's not there I can check whether it's done.
I personally think you are very lucky. So many kids wants to do nothing, show no interest in any activities, stay in their room wasting their cell brains, I think i is wonderful to read that there are still some teenagers who actually want to do SOMETHING.
I do sympathise with how tiring it is with the dropping/picking up, keeping track of payments, competitions, taking them to buy things they need for their activities etc... Both my kids are fairly active, not as much as yours, but combined between both of them, they do something every day.
I manage it between some picking up, some dropping, some they walk, some with help from other parents, my partner etc... I do some times feel like I have no life, but I am so much happier when they are busy with activities rather than doing nothing at all, which DS can sometimes fall into, especially during the holidays.
Even if I say no, I make it clear that it's not because they are being difficult, demanding, selfish etc... but just because it becomes too much for me and they understand (well, I think they do deep inside!).
I can relate to the planner.
If you've recently met with someone about his recent work (or lack of), might they will willing to collude with you and (say form teacher / HofYear / whoever you spoke to) are going to talk to each other about the planner every week to check he is doing all he should ? In reality, the "threat" of this should work without actually having to do it
not that I know from my ds at all, of course . IME the teachers are very happy to do this for a week or to, and then a random swoop in 4 or 5 weeks time to let him think they are still doing it ??
DS year 10 does 2 instruments ( and nagging for a 3rd), orchestra and band, 1 sport at County level and 3 more at school level. We drive him to county training because it's an hour away and not on a train line. Band practice he does by bus. However, all of this is dependent on his grades staying good. His end of term marks all stayed steady or improved, so I am inclined to say yes to the new instrument - if grades were slipping, probably not.
The issue isn't what others are doing but what your ds can do.
And as it happens what he does atm seems to be too much if his schoolwork is suffereing...
If that helps, dc1 is doing
Two evenings with a MFL, very very local so goes there and comes back before we are back home
One evening tennis
One day at weekend with another activity, one that involves him, his brother and his dad, so more a family thing.
Thank you all. Yes agreed it is less about what others are doing and more about him, but in the context of a long list of what he feels is unreasonable about my decisions atm I'm keen to get a gauge. I think because younger DCs are lower primary, maybe I find the logistics and travelling a bit more tiring than I might do if they were all a similar age. I have made the call with DS1 on raising standards of school work today before he does any more clubs (as well as speaking to DP and I in a more respectful way) so this may give me a bit of breathing space. It has worked for one evening... I recognise that it's good for them to be busy doing hobbies, but we need to balance all our wants and needs if poss!
I think even though it's hard, you need to separate out the issues.
School work suffering = fewer extra-curriculars I think is absolutely reasonably and sensible - it's not a punishment, but about learning to prioritise (good to do that before university . . .)
You not able to take and fetch - also perfectly reasonable. Great that he's motivated enough to want to cycle, but again obviously safety very important. Is there any way you could share lifts with another parent (eg to do every other Friday evening?) or that he could get a job enabling him to pay for public transport?
FWIW my yr 10 dd does sports 3 evenings p/w, volunteers 1/2 a day at the weekend once a month, and has just started a hobby that means she's out 4 -5 hours on a Saturday afternoon weekly. I'd say that actually she's probably less busy than many of her schoolmates eg those that do Cadets seem to be there half of the week and most weekends. The dc that don't do loads of sport or similar generally seem to be out socialising / going into town / have jobs.
Fortunately in my case her volunteering is 5 mins walk away and sports are ones I'm also involved in so actually I'm loving it after years of fitting things in around a small child and work!
My yr10 Ds1 does cadets twice a week, kung fu once a week and dance once a week.
He does other things ad hoc that are related to these activities.
I would never withdraw or with hold permission to attend based on school results, life is too short to be denied things that make it interesting.
Last my two dc between them had 11 activities per week... My attitude has always been if's logistically and financially possible, then the answer is yes!
This year they have 4 a week - it's bliss
I agree with swingofthings. Let him do as much as possible. Obviously manage if not safe etc. Encourage grades, schoolwork etc. So much better than just wanting to go on social media or gaming all night. All good for personal development, his social life and his cv too.
I'd say balance is all. Yes, it is good for him to be active, but it is also good for him to realise that money doesn't grow on trees, that other people's time and energy is not infinite, and that on the whole grown-ups are people very similar to himself, whose needs also have to be met.
Along with good grades and an interesting CV, these insights are something he is going to need to get along in the workplace: never be ashamed of having given them to him. Many young people fall down at this particular hurdle.
Negotiating tactfully and finding solutions is another useful skill so you should encourage that. But it's never going to much of a learning experience negotiation-wise if the underlying premiss is that you should feel guilty for occasionally prioritising yourself.
My eldest did am-dram (and is now hoping to turn acting into a career), so at times there was rather a lot of fetching and attending performances. But it worked because we were all able to discuss it reasonably and she was appreciative of the situation.