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Should one sibling be able to decide if another can join him in learning a sport?

(18 Posts)
Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 13:56:36

DS1 (14) is very unsporty - both in inclination and ability. He has applied to do the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award and has had to find a sport to do as one of the elements. We thought about it long and hard and eventually decided to give table tennis a try. We have friends who do this and he could join their club so would already know some of the people there - quite important as he is not very confident socially.

DS2 (12) is the complete opposite and already does a number of sports (rugby, karate, plus others at school). He has just cottoned on to the table tennis thing and has decided that he wants to learn too.

The problem is that, if DS2 does TT, he is bound to be better than DS1 (he just has natural coordination, etc.) and DS1 will become demoralised and will probably give up. This is not what we want. The TT will also be good for DS1's social needs, whereas DS2 is already very comfortable in social situations.

DS1 doesn't want DS2 to join the table tennis club and I'm inclined to go along with that for the reasons given above. However, part of me feels that DS2 should not be denied an opportunity offered to his brother simply because his brother doesn't want him there.

Any thoughts?

sarah293 Tue 19-Aug-08 13:58:47

Message withdrawn

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 14:02:16

That's true, but the TT is really very inexpensive so he would probably offer to pay for it out of his pocket money!

coppertop Tue 19-Aug-08 14:06:41

When I read the thread title my first instinct was to say a definite no. Having read the OP though I've changed my mind and would say that ds1 should be allowed to have table tennis as his own thing.

How long would he have to keep it up for? Could you say that ds2 could start when he is 14 like ds1? By that time ds1 will either have stopped or enjoy it so much that he won't care so much about whether his younger brother is better than he is.

ReallyTired Tue 19-Aug-08 14:06:48

There is likely to be people at the table tennis club who are well coordinated and will beat both your sons. Your ds1 may well get demoralised whether your ds2 goes or not.

Table tennis is extremely competitive and if your ds1 is useless at sport then it would be better for him to do something less competitive by nature.

Prehaps something like sailing if there is a sailing club near you. I used to go to a club on a local resevoir. The non sporty types could just have fun sailing the dingy. The club I went to had a cheap training night and was not as expensive as you think. Or maybe horse riding or trampolining are good sports for the athetically non gifted.

Romy7 Tue 19-Aug-08 14:11:05

tell ds2 that he can wait until he starts his D of E. should give you long enough for ds1 to do his bits and move on to something else if he feels like it...
oh, just realised coppertop said same thing!!!

potoftea Tue 19-Aug-08 14:15:04

i think ds1 is entitled to try this club without his brother there if that's what he wants.
It sounds like he "needs" it more than the other boy, so if it helps get him involved I'd keep it as his own "thing".

Tell ds2 that in a year you'll look again at it, as by then ds1 will either have left the club, or be so established there that he won't care.

Quattrocento Tue 19-Aug-08 14:18:44

As someone athletically untalented (I mean really hopeless) who spent their childhood in a succession of very sporty schools, I developed a number of strategies to cope with sports.

Running long distance - I could do that quite well despite having no hand eye co-ordination and this was a good outlet

Riding - it just requires a modicum of balance and a liking for animals.

Trampolining - although that's difficult after a while

Aerobics - although a boy might think this was a bit girly

Gym work -

Cycling - just needs strong legs and not much co-ordination

Swimming - good all round exercise - can be done in the form of lessons rather than going to a club (which would be full of people who are good at swimming)

I agree with the poster who said that table tennis is not a soft option for the unsporty. It is fiercely competitive and does require hand eye co-ordination.

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 14:18:55

I don't doubt both boys will be beaten well and truly, but there is a world of difference in being beaten by another club member and being out-shone by your younger brother.

Sailing is not really on as DS1 is unlikely to do something which is likely to be cold and wet. Remember he is unsporty by inclination and I think that, to take on a sport which makes you wet, cold and physically uncomfortable, you have to be motivated to do it.

Thing is that DS2 has shown no interest in TT until DS1 started doing it. The TT was meant to be DS1's "thing" but now DS2 wants to muscle in on it.

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Aug-08 14:21:00

If it was just "DS1 doesn't want him to" then I'd probably say that was selfish. But I think what you're actually saying is "It will make DS1 so unhappy that he won't be able to do it, and it's something which I think will do him a lot of good" which is a perfectly good reason for not having DS2 do it too.

Others have suggested ways of putting it that will sound/feel better to them - "will consider it later" etc

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 14:22:23

Perhaps I should add that I had to take DS3 (10) with us when I took DS1 to the club and he (DS3) decided that he'd like to try. I agreed (although DS1 is now moaning about that) and he is enjoying it. So it makes it much harder to deny DS2 when I've already agreed to DS3 doing it. DS1, although not happy about DS3, is less bothered by his going as he is 4 years younger and therefore not such a threat.

AMumInScotland Tue 19-Aug-08 14:35:10

Oh dear, that does make it trickier - does DS3 do other sports? It sounds like putting a top limit on the number of activities each does will be the only "fair" way to stop DS2 doing it.

Tortington Tue 19-Aug-08 14:37:31

i'd say tough

they would say

"snot fair"
i would say "tough"

you do what's best for ds1

wheresthehamster Tue 19-Aug-08 14:39:03

If ds1 doesn't like being cold and wet he's not going to enjoy the expeditions wink

Freckle Tue 19-Aug-08 14:43:22

Yes, I know! I've been playing down that aspect of the award.

I'm wracking my brains to think of another sport that DS2 can do so that he gets distracted from the thought of doing TT. It's all very well saying tough, but you then have to deal with the fallout - which with DS2 can be quite explosive.

OrmIrian Tue 19-Aug-08 14:46:17

SImilar situation with DD and DS#1. In the end we told DD that she couldn't do sailing with DS. Cost being the reason we gave her but it was at least in part because DS needed something that was just his.

Romy7 Tue 19-Aug-08 14:48:48


ReallyTired Tue 19-Aug-08 17:40:57

My husband played table tennis at national level. Before our son was born he took it extremely seriously. He was in several local leagues and at times I was a table tennis widow.

I don't know how built up your area is, but our area has several table tennis clubs within about 2 to 3 miles. If it was me I would send the boys to two seperate table tennis clubs. Or could the boys go different nights?

Certainly the 14 year old should be able to get to a table tennis club independently

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