Who chooses extracurricular activities: Kids or Parents?

My husband and 6-year-old son are currently battling over what extracurricular activity my little guy is going to do this fall. (I’m trying to only have one after-school activity per child since we also have church one of the weeknights.)

My little guy has decided he wants to do the Cub Scouts. He said a lady came by the classroom and told them they get to ride in paddleboats and go camping! He was sold!

Michael of course wants him to be playing a sport – any sport. I pretty much put my foot down about our community’s competitive, tackle, 3 and 4-day a week football program. (Too much time and money for a 6-year-old. Also too physical at this age.) I have been collecting brochures for the local flag football league that has practice and a game on the same day – the weekend (so Dad can help go to practice). I also gathered brochures for a different basketball program and T-Ball programs.

Walsh says he’s not interested in any of those sports. He just wants to join the Cub Scouts.

Michael says we’re the parents so we should decide what extracurricular activities our children do. But he’s not saying that in regards to the cost, safety or appropriateness of the activity. He’s saying it purely on what activity he would choose to do and what he wants his kid playing.

I think the kids are already required to do so much at school, church and home that at least let them choose, within reason, what club or activity they join.

I think it’s perfectly fine to encourage your child to pursue an activity – for example I would like for Rose to try an instrument. However, there’s too much going on to fight with a child every week and make them do an activity they don’t enjoy!

What do you think: Who chooses your children’s extracurricular activities? How much say does the kid get? How many do you allow them choose? Who makes the final decision? What weighs the most in making the decision: Interest of the child, advantage to them later in life (resume building), cost, convenience, number of practices?

80 comments Add your comment

JATL

August 25th, 2009
7:29 am

Hubby needs to grow up! It’s your child’s decision! Now if it’s something that costs a fortune and involves an enormous amount of time, then it’s a “family” decision -but CUB SCOUTS!?!? He should be delighted for his son to join and enjoy the scouts! Walsh is 6! His tastes and interests are going to change a million times. By springtime he may be dying to play t-ball or soccer or in two years he may be begging to play football. Who knows?

Michael also needs to wrap his mind around the fact that Walsh may not be into sports -EVER. This doesn’t mean anything except he’s not into sports! He’ll learn some great skills and have lots of fun at Cub Scouts, and isn’t that what extracurricular activities are all about? Since Cub Scouts isn’t a sport, it may become evident by springtime that Walsh does have the time to play a sport and do Cub Scouts. If that’s the case AND IF WALSH WANTS TO -then do it.

I must say -I’m dying for my two boys to play soccer, football, t-ball, swim -you name it! However, I really want to see what they’re into and what they will enjoy. Trust me as someone who was made to do a few extracurricular things I had no desire to do -it will make him MISERABLE and he’ll be put off of that activity forever. I’m going to do a soccer fundamentals class on some Sunday mornings with my 3 year old this fall. He’s still so little he says he wants to do everything, so we’re in the process of trying some things to see if he’s into them or not. Of course, like I said, he may love or hate something now and in the future feel the exact opposite about it. It doesn’t matter -what matters is that however my kids feel-whether they’re into gymnastics, football, band, or scouts -I just want them to enjoy their extracurricular activities and get something out of them. As much as I may want them to play sports, if they’re not into it and have no desire, I think it’s kind of disgusting to force them -and a guaranteed way to ruin that sport for them forever.

One caveat -if Michael thinks all Walsh needs is to be exposed to a certain sport in order to love it, then tell him to start playing that sport with Walsh to see -if Walsh really gets into it, then maybe he can try it on a team.

fk

August 25th, 2009
7:33 am

I always felt that some sort of team sport was important…does not have to be super competitive. My son played rec baseball at that age, and moved into a more competitive league as he got older. He quit baseball to play football in middle school. In high school, in addition to football, he wound up wrestling and doing track as well. He was never a superstar, but he was part of the team. During elementary school, we signed him up for soccer and basketball, giving him the opportunity to see if he liked them. He played a couple of seasons, but stuck with baseball until football came along. He was a cub scout, too, but quit, his decision, when the conflicts with sports arose. He has great memories of camping trips with dad, and without.

motherjanegoose

August 25th, 2009
7:44 am

Our kids each did one activity at a time, in addition to church activities. I wanted school to come first.
I believe in teamwork and sports can have a huge impact on helping children understand this concept. Discipline and finishing what you start are acquired skills too!

My son tried most sports except football. He loved soccer and basketball but was never star material. Our daughter tried dance, tennis, basketball and piano. She still plays the piano for enjoyment and is good at it…teaching herself new pieces. We guided them but never had a ultimatum…it was up to them.

IMHO some parents are living their lives through their children in sports and they push them too much. Maybe it is just me and as voice of reason said yesterday…I have lost my mind ( sshhh do not tell my clients…they do not know this….hahaha).

Some parents would not have a social life if it were not for the sports their kids play.

I know that successful athletes and even musicians have always been pushed. Ditto for students who graduate at the top if their class, How hard should parents push a child, if the child is not really interested and the sport or activity is the parent’s dream or passion/ not the child’s and will it affect the rest of their life ( as grades in school may). I do not know.

If you have several children who are close in age…will you drag them around all week to attend each others venues and how will this affect them? I do not know. I do see way too many kids who are exhausted from schedules that are full or perhaps parents who will get them in bed.

JJ

August 25th, 2009
7:50 am

My daughter played softball. We moved when she was between sixth & seventh grades. She met a few friends at her new school, and they played softball and invited her to come and play.

She played for 4 years, and we some of the best friends. I still see them, even though my daughter has not played in 3 years. We used to have so much fun with that crowd. All the kids new each other, and so did the parents. They took us in and made us feel like family.

However, at Walsh’s age, Cub Scouts is perfect!!!!

Jeff

August 25th, 2009
8:01 am

On the one hand, I WILL side with you Theresa in that Walsh should be able to pick his own activity, within reason. Both sports and scouts have their advantages at that age, and honestly I would probably encourage both rather than one or the other, but that is your call as a parent.

That said, I gotta disagree with you on the football aspect in particular – specifically, your statement “Also too physical at this age” and your concept that tackling at that age is a bad thing. That is just SCREAMING “helicopter” to me. There are quite a number of benefits to learning to control physical power and explosiveness at that age, and even knowing how to knock a guy down is a good thing to learn at an early age – Walsh’s age seems completely appropriate to me there.

A

August 25th, 2009
8:05 am

I have a 6-year-old boy too, and for the past couple of years we’ve let him choose his extracurricular activities, of course with suggestions or input from us. He would alternate between soccer (fall) and t-ball/baseball (spring) and has now settled on baseball as his preferred sport. He also takes piano lessons, and thankfully the two activities don’t conflict.

At this age, it’s really up to the child. If he isn’t happy with an activity, he won’t want to go and you’ll just be frustrated. So let him take the lead and if it’s Cub Scouts, then try that out. In the spring, he might gravitate toward something else. At this young age, this is the time for them to try different things and discover what they enjoy and have talent for.

RJ

August 25th, 2009
8:13 am

My son has always played sports. I tell him that he was born liking sports. But this year, he switched on us and decided to do football instead of soccer. Okay, I admit that I don’t care for football one bit. It’s way too physical and I just seem to lose interest. My husband feels the same as I do. We love soccer and basketball. But we allowed him to make the decision. We’ll see how it goes.

I think kids should get to pick. I would allow him to do scouts and encourage him to play a sport but he should choose which to play.

I force him to play an instrument because a) he has talent and b) he needs the discipline. He complains, but that’s something I won’t give on. He can change instruments, but he must remain in the music program. Sometimes mother knows best.

JATL

August 25th, 2009
8:15 am

Jeff -I agree that tackling is fine at most any age (except maybe when we start easing into our 40s -then it hurts ;-) -I wish my 3 year old could play tackle football right now because he tackles everyone anyway -at least it would be allowed! I DO agree with Theresa though that 4 or 5 nights a week at 6 years old is excessive. I wouldn’t be up for that with a 6 year old.

motherjanegoose

August 25th, 2009
8:19 am

ooops…I meant parents who will NOT get them in bed.

JATL, good reminder about the intense time contribution to sports. It seems to be all consuming here in metro Atlanta. I do not see little kids having to commit the 4 nights per week, in some of the other places I travel. Posters in other states can maybe help us out and let us know? Do 6 year olds commit to 3-4 nights a week for sports? If you have 2 or 3 kids…your life WILL be their sports!

Patrick

August 25th, 2009
8:27 am

I was like Walsh all through my childhood. I wasn’t into sports of any kind. My dad would try to get me interested in various sports (primarily basketball or baseball), but I just wasn’t into it. The closest thing I came to playing a sport frequently was when I played pool at the Boys and Girls Club after school and during Summer Vacation when I was in the sixth grade.

I’ve always felt that parents force their kids into all of these extracurricular activities because they want their children to succeed where they have not. They (the parents) may have been denied the right to extracurricular activities by their parents, usually due to time or financial restraints, or simply because their parents didn’t want them to do all that extra stuff that has no value whatsoever. That, and the fact they’re trying to be “helicopter” parents, and try to be involved in every aspect of the child’s life. Parents need to learn to let their kids go out and explore the world on their own once in a while. Mine did. They allowed me to join 4-H at one elementary school I was in, and when I was in middle school, they let me go to the Boys and Girls Club after a friend of mine was in it, and she told me about all the stuff they did there. When I went during Summer Vacation between sixth and seventh grade, we did a good bit of things, including field trips to Six Flags, the Governor’s Mansion, and a couple of other places.

I think it’s great that Walsh wants to join the Scouts. As parents, you should probably do some research on it, and then discuss it with Walsh and ask him if this is what he really wants. It’s not all camping trips and paddleboat excursions. He will have to attend meetings. He will have to learn how to keep his uniform neat and tidy. There will be pledges and rules to memorize, tests he will have to take as time passes, especially as he advances through the ranks (if he plans to stay on long enough to go from Bobcat to becoming a full-fledged Boy Scout). You and Michael should be prepared to help him throughout the advancement. I had just done some research and you will be asked to do a few things to help him advance through the ranks as well.

HB

August 25th, 2009
8:37 am

I think participating in team sports is important, but the great thing about them is there are different seasons — you don’t have to commit for a whole year! Is there a chance that once you get settled into the school year that having two activities for a while won’t be so hard? If so, then maybe basketball will be a possibility. If not, well there’s always next summer, so if he has his heart set on Cub Scouts and the Great Outdoors, then sign him up! And remind Michael that if he wants Walsh to enjoy sports, making it the thing Daddy made him do instead of Cub Scouts isn’t going to help that goal.

Re: football. Haven’t doctors recommended that children not play tackle football until age 9 or 10 because of the greater damage that occurs before that age from head and neck injuries specific to the sport? Flag will start to teach them the fundamentals of passing/receiving, running plays, etc. Tackle can wait a few years.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 25th, 2009
8:55 am

Hey Guys — I talked about this more with Michael last night. He said the reason he wants Walsh to participate in a team sport, particularly football, is because he feels like kids who don’t learn the fundamental of the game early can’t compete later on if they choose to join then. Also he’s bothered because kids don’t go and just play football with other neighborhood kids like they used to when we were little (at least not in our neighborhood.) so he feels like he can’t even pick up the basic play that way. He says he’s fine if he wants to do both — which is against my plan —- However, since the flag football is on the weekend then he can help do that. (Unless of course it’s on Saturday when his beloved Bulldogs play — hmmm)

Stan

August 25th, 2009
9:04 am

(Unless of course it’s on Saturday when his beloved Bulldogs play — hmmm)

Ding ding ding….

Walsh is not asking to join cult or something. It’s the Cub Scouts! He’ll learn an amazing amount of life skills in scouting. That said I didn’t try to play any sports until 8th grade and by then I was so far behind the other kids that I really couldn’t catch up just with playing on the school team. My folks never pushed me to do any extra activities and as an adult now I wish they had at least pushed a little.

I do agree that tackle football at that age is a bit much…start with flag to get an understanding of the game and move up to tackle in a couple of years.

DB

August 25th, 2009
9:45 am

Haha, good luck trying to get a kid to actually participate in something that he has NO interest in! They don’t enjoy the practices, they drag their feet getting ready and once they get there, they don’t listen to the coach and are usually stirring up mischief with the one or two other kids being forced to play. They never volunteer, and invariably, they end up being the last one off the bench with playing time.

My son never played football — his choice. He LOVED soccer, and played it year round on a club team, and played varsity in high school. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love football — he’s a huge fan, knows the game, and he and his dad are generally glued to the TV watching college football all fall, and he often beats my husband in their annual end-of-season contest in choosing bowl winners. He was also a varsity swimmer and on a state-champion cross country team. For about two years (during a serious Star Wars mania!), he enjoyed fencing, until his favorite fencing master moved too far away for lessons. And he is a HUGE basketball fan, even though he only played on a couple of church leagues — which was the limit of his skill! We have a half-court basketball court in our backyard, because he and his friends (and his dad!) love to play. Now that he’s in college, he’s enjoying biking and triathlons, where he gets to enjoy his skill with swimming, biking AND running, all at once! And he did Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts, all the way to getting his Eagle.

My daughter was busy with dance and Girl Scouts, big time, up until she was 13. She danced with a semi-professional troop for two years, and was taking three classes a week at night, as well as performing around town, but realized that she didn’t have whatever “it” was to be a great dancer — the drive, the talent, whatever. On her own, she switched to music performance, and most of her high school life revolved around marching band, ensembles, orchestra, city orchestras, competitions, etc. She tried soccer for a bit — decided that it wasn’t for her. She swam, too, but had to choose between swimming and music in high school due to conflicting schedules for performances and meets. She likes to run and do yoga for exercise, now, which she can fit into her eclectic schedule. She stayed with Girl Scouts, too, and earned her Gold Award.

I don’t recall ever making a decision FOR my kids as to what activity would do. My son was dying to play soccer at 4, because he and his dad would kick around a soccer ball in the backyard. My daughter wanted to be a “ballerina” at 3, because she adored the dance teacher at her pre-school. They usually had pretty strong opinions about what they wanted to spend their time on. I didn’t have the one-activity rule, because anything they were involved in, it was because THEY enjoyed it — it’s a lot more fun to grab hold of the rope and hang on for the wild ride than it is to push that damn rope every step of the way!

I think Michael is wrong in that kids who don’t learn the fundamentals of football at age 6 are at a disadvantage. (Disadvantage for what, Michael? Playing football in high school? Any reasonably intelligent person (not to mention a WHOLE lot of intellectually challenged football players!) can figure out football reasonably well. :-) )

I think that Scouts was a great activity for our kids — they got to do fabulous things, go interesting places, meet amazing people, and especially with our son’s Scoutmaster, we were blessed with a truly good and inspiring man to be an example during his teen years who encouraged him not to be afraid to try anything — he might fail, but the real failure was in the failure to try, not the failure itself.

But, as with any activity, you get out of it what you put into it. As long as they find something that they are excited about — what difference does it make WHAT it is? I never limited my kids to one activity, because there are soooo many interesting things to do out there — they ended up self-selecting according to their interests. I sorta figured that that was why I elected to be a SAHM — so that my kids could enjoy that sort of stuff.

MomsRule

August 25th, 2009
9:46 am

We do require that our boys participate in a sport. It is usually baseball and/or soccer. This has nothing to do with Mom and Dad wanting to re-live our youth through our boys. It is because they need the fresh air and exercise. We also believe you learn skills while playing a team sport. Do we expect them to be superstars? No. Do we tell them the sport they have to play? No. We only require that they participate in something. Now if either of them decided they hated the sport and wanted to switch gears. No problem. Lets see what else we can try.

The only activity that we have ever refused to allow them to participate in is the Boy Scouts.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 25th, 2009
9:57 am

Why no Boy Scouts MomsRule??

HB

August 25th, 2009
10:03 am

“However, since the flag football is on the weekend then he can help do that. (Unless of course it’s on Saturday when his beloved Bulldogs play — hmmm)”

He can HELP?! What is he an assistant? He’s a parent just as much as you are, and if neither of you are working outside the home on weekends, then there’s no reason why the parenting on weekends should be your responsibility more than his. You’ve come up with a plan to keep yours and the kids’ lives sane. If he wants football to happen, then let that be his project, and his alone. He gets Walsh to and from practice and games, takes him shopping for whatever equipment he needs, roots him on from the stands, and if something important comes up where he just can’t do it, then he arranges for another parent on the team to help him out and then returns the favor. As for the Dawgs, Michael can make a choice — what matters more to him? Going to/watching the UGA games or having his 6yo son participate in football this fall? Forced to choose, he may suddenly decide that those crucial skills can wait until age 7.

DB

August 25th, 2009
10:04 am

(oh, goodness . . . here it comes again . . .)

Andrea

August 25th, 2009
10:10 am

My ex-husband had to finally concede that our son had absolutely no interest in playing competitive sports. It isn’t in him. He prefers to do other things. At first we both tried to force him into playing a sport – and DB is spot on with the response – it was a train wreck! He had no interest in it and his efforts on the field directly correlated to his interest in the sport.

Teamwork and learning the fundamentals of teamwork can be learned in other things. My son is avid in a robotics club. You best believe he puts forth his best effort for the team. He contributes 200% because it for the betterment of the team. He is also very much into animation. So he has joined an online animation club and next summer he gets to go to the camp with them.

While it may not go over quite as well when Dad has to say “Did I show you my son’s latest animation flip book?” when little Johnny’s dad is showing off yet another trophy from some competitive sport, the decision should be based on the child’s wants and interests.

The family should discuss what is most feasible financially, time wise, etc. after the CHILD has picked an activity.

Andrea

August 25th, 2009
10:15 am

Kids can get physical activity in other forms of play besides competitive sports. I don’t think competitive sports are the panacea for exercise.

Unfortunately in Metro Atlanta (incl. suburbia) the sports leagues are ridiculously competitive. The coaches and the parents have forgotten the very fundamentals they claim they are trying to instill in the children.

Lady Strange

August 25th, 2009
10:22 am

My son is only 1 1/2 so I don’t have to worry about this now, but I do plan to let him choose his activity when he is older. I hope he will choose a sport, but I would be equally happy with karate or scouts, etc. I know I missed out a lot on activities simply beause my dad would not let me do anything that cost money. I don’t want my son to be held back if it’s something he really wants to do.

Becky

August 25th, 2009
10:23 am

My two are wanting to play golf..The only problem right now for the girl is that all of the clubs that we have found are taller than she is..They are 7, but she is about the size of a 4 year old..Neither one of them are interested in other sports so far and I won’t force them..Right now, he enjoys fishing, riding hie bike and hiking..She is 100% girly girl for now..

MomsRule

August 25th, 2009
10:31 am

Theresa, It is just not our cup of tea I guess. From what we’ve been told and seen it is not just for the children. It encompasses the entire family a good deal of the time. Well, all the time during the Cub Scouting phase from what I’ve been told. “A parent must be present at all activities.” We have friends that are active members and it consumes some portion of nearly every weekend. They love it.

My oldest did try for a very short time several years ago when he was in 1st grade (I think.) A dear friend was his den leader and all of his buddies were in the same den. We had our reservations but I was told right off the bat…”oh it is only 1 meeting a month, give it a try.” RIGHT! It was immediately requiring weekly meetings and studying, etc. My son did not like it at all. — neither did we

Maybe we would view it a little differently if we were into camping but we aren’t so….

Scott

August 25th, 2009
10:36 am

MomsRule, the same thing happened with my son.

Tammy

August 25th, 2009
10:39 am

My son played basketball and football until he was 12 and then when he turned 13 he wanted to take a break. So, I let him but now he does not want to get back into either sport. So, I recently signed him up for boxing to try something new and he is excited about it but I really want him to get back into basketball or football. He is turning 14 this year and he is in high school and I really think it would be beneficial in the long run for him to get back into one of these sports. But the question is “do I push him to do it?” Or do I just wait it out in hopes he will eventually go back.

Stan

August 25th, 2009
10:40 am

MomsRule,
The parents must be in attendance to keep some folks from using Scouting events from becomming baby sitting.

Mattie

August 25th, 2009
10:48 am

You do not need to start any sport at age 6 to excel in it. My middle son didn’t play football at all until he reached HS. He put in his time on the freshman and JV teams, and finally became a starter as a junior. Coaches will play the kids who show the most effort in practice, regardless of how many years they’ve been playing before.

Cub scouts, in our experience, involved the entire family. And when Pinewood derby time came, it was the fathers who took over. My kids liked the experience, but nobody moved on to Boy Scouts.

I am against any youth sports that require a 3-4 day weekly commitment on the part of the parents, at least until the middle school years.

Joyce

August 25th, 2009
10:49 am

We went to a Cub Scout info meeting last week. I was surprised at the level of family involvement that seemed to be required. Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and I was in Scouts, the meetings were one afternoon a week, after school. (at least at the elementary level) Parental involvement consisted of coming to an *occasional* meeting and picking up your child after the meeting, unless you carpooled. Now, it’s another meeting night during the week in addition to 1 night a week for baseball practice and 1 night a week for religious ed. The pack meetings conflicted w/religious ed and seemed to be a deal-breaker, so we decided against scouts for now. It’s a shame, because baseball is a great activity that we all enjoy, but I’d really like him to do something else as well. I don’t want to raise a jock!

RJ

August 25th, 2009
10:54 am

Theresa, my dad told me once that the coaches at our middle school didn’t want kids to play rec football because they WEREN’T taught the fundamentals correctly. He can learn the basics during PE as well.

John

August 25th, 2009
11:07 am

They can do Cub Scouts, a sport and church and still have plenty of time for study at that age. Our youngest son did all of that from the time he was in first grade through high school. He recently graduated from college with great grades and is headed to law school. He still is active in all of those things.

DB

August 25th, 2009
11:10 am

Scouts takes up as much of the family’s time as just about anything else — which is, as much as they LET it. Kids go to practices once or twice a week, and then have a game, and parents choose to watch the practices, then go to games and cheer while their child plays. At least, SOME parents do. Some parents don’t/can’t. Tiger Cubs, the first level (kindergarten) does ask a parent to attend, but parents aren’t generally required (but always welcome) past Tigers. It shouldn’t take up any more time than that of a kid playing a sport.

We have never been campers, either — my idea of camping is a hotel with a number in the name! But, as a Girl Scout leader, I gamely went through all the camping training, etc., and even took the girls camping several times because they were dying to try it. As they got older, the camping bug let go, and they became “urban campers” — their interests became more artistic than outdoorsy. My son enjoyed camping as a diversion, but was never a big camper, either, — he enjoys a hot shower and air conditioning far too much! He did go to Woodruff each summer for several years, though, and even enjoyed the National Jamboree one year and Philmont twice. My husband wasn’t involved in the leadership of my son’s troop because of his travel schedule at the time, but he always managed to do at least one thing with the troop each year, helping with a badge or helping with a field trip.

b

August 25th, 2009
11:13 am

This is a sticky, tricky area. I agree you need to let the child choose, but it needs to be an option that you can also live with. Our oldest daughter started with dance and hated it. After two years we moved to gymnastics and she enjoyed that a lot for at least 5 or 6 years. She tried softball and basketball but didn’t like either one. It was soccer that was her favorite. We did allow her to do gymnastics once a week and soccer twice a week with a game and/or meet on the weekend for a couple of years. Once she started playing competitive soccer she found that was all she wanted to do (it was about at 11). Of course, there were all the other activities at school and church, but her main activity was soccer-practices 3-4 times a week, games on the weekends, out-of-town tournaments, etc. She is still playing–in college.

On the other hand, our son has played a lot of sports, and we have let him try it all. Soccer first and foremost, but he has played baseball, basketball and golf. Football was just never an interest for playing, just watching. Most of the time he was into two sports at the same time. Gradually it has dwindled down to only competitive soccer and golf.

The point is that no two kids are alike, but if they don’t have an opportunity to try something they will never know if they like it or not. Limiting their opportunities does not allow them to try new things. Pushing them into something they do not want to do can also be a problem in that they will probably rebel the whole time about going, practicing, whatever.

Yes, at times I feel like a taxi driver, but I have used car pools for years and the enjoyment my kids have from doing something they really like is great. It took about 3-4 years for each child to decide on what they really thought was best for them, but without the opportunity to try, they never would have known what fit them the best.

MomsRule

August 25th, 2009
11:19 am

Stan, I’m certain for some that is the case. But, if a parent has signed their kid up and paid the fees…and the kid is participating…is it really considered babysitting?

I wasn’t looking for a babysitter but I was also not looking to personally join the Boy Scouts of America. It is not a program for every family.

CC

August 25th, 2009
11:20 am

At that age it is mostly about socialization anyway. You are the parent so you get to decide what is best for your child.

No Scouts, No Way

August 25th, 2009
11:48 am

Scouting (Boy Scouts) does not allow gays or atheists as leaders or participants. No child of mine is going to join a group that bigoted. There are other groups like Camp Fire, Earthscouts (and Girl Scouts) that welcome ALL children.

Georgia Girl

August 25th, 2009
11:48 am

My brother and I both played soccer most of our growing-up years, but we did mix in some baseball and softball too. My parents wanted us to experience something other than soccer so that we would know what else was available. We only played one sport a season, though. We also attended each other’s practices a great deal, and when my parents also played soccer, we went to their games too. I think that was a great lesson in understanding that we should support them just like they support us, and give them our time in return too. In high school, I was in band, varsity soccer in the spring, took gifted classes, and also worked on the weekends. I learned *a lot* about managing my time. There were a lot of late nights of catching up on homework and projects or getting home from games, but it prepared me well for life beyond school.

I’m grateful that my parents encouraged all these activities, and that they didn’t allow me to become overscheduled but just let me get pretty close so that I could learn for myself how to best manage my time. Another thing that I learned from participating in any activity was that I was committed. That meant when I whined that I didn’t feel like/want to go to soccer practice/school/work, it was not an option. Unless I was too sick, I had signed up to be there, and I was expected to be there. That’s part of my work ethic today-there are days when I certainly don’t feel like being at my job, but I know that it’s my responsibility.

Stan

August 25th, 2009
11:50 am

MomsRule,
Sorry, I wasn’t meaning to imply that you would just dump your kid off the scouts. And no it is not for everyone.

I just know from my friends experiences that yes, like almost anything it depends on the quality of the parents as to how good the experience is for the kids.

penguinmom

August 25th, 2009
12:01 pm

From what I’ve seen of my friends who are into Cub Scouts, it takes over your life. You have to be there all the time, end up being in charge of fundraising or, in a lot of cases, the dad ends up training and becoming a den leader. I agree with Moms Rule, it is one activity that I never want to sign my kids up for because I can’t commit the whole house to BSA.

While I think kids should have some say in what activities they participate in, I think the parents should make the final decision. The parents are the ones who will have to make time sacrifices and arrangements in order to get the kids to the activity. Also, parents have a longer-term perspective and more knowledge about activities to know if their child will really enjoy something or if its a passing interest.

I disagree with Michael about having to start early with football. I think you are just as likely to burn a kid out on it as you are to spark a real interest. When he is a little older, do a summer football camp to keep him involved until he’s old enough to participate in it willingly.

Have you looked at karate? This isn’t a ’sport’ so Walsh could win that side of the argument but it will develop discipline and keep him physically active so that he’s prepared when Michael does put him into sports.

yall are crazy

August 25th, 2009
12:02 pm

Here’s an idea: STOP CONTROLLING EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR KIDS’ LIVES AND LET THE LITTLE GUY CHOOSE HIS ACTIVITIES FOR HIMSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DB

August 25th, 2009
12:03 pm

No Scouts, No Way: If you are gay or an atheist, then you’re right — Boy Scouts is not for you. You would not, in good faith, be able to accept the Boy Scout oath. No argument and no apology, there. There are other organizations that cater to the needs and desires of the gay community and atheists, which you are welcome to join, with all good will. But you don’t see the Boy Scouts organization making fun of them, belittling them or sneering at them — however, unfortunately, the same cannot be said of many of those organizations in return. Boy Scouts is very clear in their mission statement. It may not be for everyone, but it has definitely worked for millions of boys for over 100 years.

Krystal Grant

August 25th, 2009
12:03 pm

I think that if we force a child to participate in an extracurricular activity, they will not give 100%. I do think that there are times when children need to be told what to do….i.e. homework, bedtime, appropriate TV shows to watch. But something like a sport, I think it would be best if we allowed the child to decide (taking into consideration the cost and safety concerns). I think in the case of a sport vs. cub scouts. I think cub scouts wins! your 6 year old is very interested in it and if he looses interest, then the spring sports season is right around the corner. http://www.KrystalGrant.com

yall are crazy

August 25th, 2009
12:03 pm

It’s not all about what Mommy and Daddy want. The kid should be allowed to pursue HIS dreams, not the dreams of his parents.

DB

August 25th, 2009
12:22 pm

Spank Da Monkey: Frankly, I see lots of more coaches and players patting each other on the fanny and the shoulder during football game than I do in Boy Scout meetings . . .

YUKI

August 25th, 2009
12:36 pm

Well said DB. If my son wants to join cub scounts when get gets to that age, then I am perfectly fine with it. But I’m sorry, I don’t want my child going on a camping trip with an Atheist or Gay leader . I guess I’m just a little “protective” of my kid when it comes to these issues.
As for sports and activities, I would let him chose what he wants to do. He is the one who has to participate, after all!

Joyce

August 25th, 2009
12:50 pm

As to who gets to choose, why does it have to be either/or? Initially, we “steered” my son to baseball because he seems to have a natural gift for accurate throwing. Ever since he was 2, if he hit you with something he threw, it wasn’t an accident. It turned out to be more fun for him than soccer, but we always check with him at the end of each season to see if he still wants to do it, or if he wants to try something else. Right now he plays fall baseball (more instructional) and spring baseball (more competitive) and we take the winter off for all of our sanity! I have to agree with everyone else who said let Walsh choose the activity; why create a nagging situation for yourself?

new mom

August 25th, 2009
1:05 pm

We have been discussing this issue at our house, and trying to watch our almost 2 yr old to see where her interests are. While I’m not going to push her to be a prodigy in every area, nor do I plan to live vicariously through her, I do believe that giving them a chance to see where their talents are and what they are intersted in is very important.

Growing up, my parents never wanted to ‘push me’ into lessons or sports (I swam on our neighborhood swim team, but it was easy, close, fun) But when they asked me, as a 5-6 yr old, do you want to take piano lessons? What did I say? I had heard my friends saying how they hated to practice, so I said no. When I got older and wiser (maybe 8-9!) I wanted to learn but at that point, was too embarrassed to ask, knowing I had no skills compared to my friends. Had I been really encouraged to just give it a try, I might have discovered that I loved it and stuck with it. Same thing with gymnastics, I had a friend who did it since she was 3. When I was 8, I wanted nothing more to do it too, but by then I coudln’t. Seriously, no flexibilty, coordination, etc. Not that I would have been excellent at it if I had tried at 3 or so, but some sports, like gymnastics or dance, need to be learned earlier.

We plan to sign our girl(s) up for 2 activities, one musical, one athletic, at a time. And let them know it’s not forever, they can quit after a set number of months and try something new. But at the very least I want them to get a chance to stick their feet in, try something new, and see if it’s for them. Our daughter LOVES to tumble, go upside down, spin around, even fall down–so our first activity for her will be gymnastics. The other day on sesame street, they had a thing about ‘gynmastics school’. She jumped up, danced around in front of the TV, and tried her best to do the flips and moves that the kids were doing. That’s one of the signs we read as being something she might be interested in. :)

HB

August 25th, 2009
1:07 pm

DB, not meaning to step into a hornets’ nest here, but what would keep a gay person from accepting the Boy Scout Oath? I can see where it’s safe to assume an atheist couldn’t accept it since it includes serving God, but what automatically rules out its acceptance by a gay person of faith?

Jesse's Girl

August 25th, 2009
1:10 pm

Wow…lots of hate going on here. Glad all of your collective closets are clean and junk free. Serioulsy…what a boob some of you are. Per the actual topic….the kids better get a significant say-so or they will not like it and uner perform. My neighbor has 3 sons and forces the oldest to play football to quote “make him more aggressive”. The kid hates it and resents his dad now. Listen to your kids…even the younger ones.

Jesse's Girl

August 25th, 2009
1:16 pm

You need to inform Michael that all football games are on Saturdays and that he may have to make a choice bewteen watching the DAWGS or watching his SON.

good grief

August 25th, 2009
1:21 pm

Yeah, my 6 year old came home from school wanting to join the Scouts too. I had already signed him up for T-ball and made a commitment to help coach. I had to tell him that he’d have to wait to join the Scouts.

I felt bad for not being able to do both, but things are kind of crazy right now. I really like the idea of scouting too.