My 13 year old daughter does not want to join a sport.

Ivelisse - posted on 03/10/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )

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HELP! I recently told my daughter that she has to join a sport. Track and Field is beginning at her school and she is upset, because she feels she is being forced. Her grades are average, however, all she wants to do is talk to her friends, shop and be a girly girl, which I totally understand, but I feel she needs discipline.



Is it wrong for me to make her join Track? The only other sport in her school is basketball, which she does not want to do either. She has a great body for any sport and can do so much if she only had the right positive attitude. I need help!

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/16/2011

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Why do you want to FORCE her to be athletic? You've stated that you ran track, and you know how enjoyable it is. I've found that most parents who were athletic in school will push their kids to be that way.

Take it from one of the former kids: IT SUCKS! It sucks to be forced into a sport that you do not want to participate in, that you have NO desire to be involved in, and that you have little to no talent/skill for. If your daughter doesn't want to do sports, then FINE!!! Not everyone is an athlete, and it really ticks me off to watch those parents who think their kid HAS to participate in a sport to succeed. Their kid is miserable, they are not "happy" with the kids "performance", they make the kid more miserable by demanding that they perform better..Just because you were an athlete in HS doesn't mean that she's got the same desire. YOu shouldn't push your desire for her to be athletic off onto her, or you should have geared her towards athletics from the time she learned to walk.

You say that you think she needs to improve her self discipline, etc.

How about Marching Band? Plenty of self discipline required, some athletic skills are nice, but you get a better feeling of accomplishment with people who appreciate you for who you are, not for how well you run, or throw a ball, or clear a hurdle.

How about if she were to volunteer for a local organization? Again, plenty of self discipline involved. My 16 yr old son has been a volunteer docent for a museum in town since he was 13, and has advanced to hold quite a position of responsibility in the ranks of docents.

Youth group, community choir, drama...all involve quite a bit of self discipline.

Ok, I realize that I haven't given ANY athletic options. I did not intend to. You need to understand that not every kid is athletic, and by forcing her to do it, you are NOT doing her any favors, and you are only inviting discord. Sure, she said she'd "try" it. If she gets through two practices and doesn't like it, are you going to let her drop it at that point? I bet not...I bet you force her to stay in the entire season because she made a 'committment". Which is admirable, and when my son wanted to start football, I made sure he understood that if he committed to a team, he must follow thru. HOWEVER, it was HIS decision to play in the first place. I did not force him into it.

Beth - posted on 03/13/2011

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Why a sport? How about insisting she join a sport, ask her what she is interested in, and what her friends are doing that she might want to participate in? Some kids prefer joining debate, or drama, or forensics and academic activities rather than sports. If she's not interested in track, she certainly isn't going to be successful in it, so why would you even force the issue? Maybe she likes music and dance, and there is a dance studio that has a good dance program? Or maybe she would enjoy taking piano, or voice lessons? There are way too many options for her at this age for you to force her into anything. Give her some time and freedom, and support her in whatever activities she chooses. Tell her you'd like to help her find something positive to add to her school days, and get a list of community activites for her to look over. She is at that delicate age where if you push, she will shove back. If you let her make up her own mind, you will get a lot further with her, and there will be fewer arguments.
Beth

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/14/2011

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Karla, have you and hubby talked about this?

Because, yes it is going to affect the relationship between the two of them. As long as your son is involved in an activity, it doesn't need to be athletic! I have one of those "techy" kids too. He volunteers at the local history museum, helps with market days, and helps out around the neighborhood.

He doesn't like sports. Never has. Played soccer for one season in 1st grade, hated it, never wanted to do it again. Since I am not coordinated enough to do anything athletic...LOL...who am I to make him do it???

But, you definitely are not "enabling" him, by giving him the choice to participate or not. Maybe you and hubby could look at extracurricular activities, see what else is available, and then see if your son is interested. Bottom line is it's your hubby's thinking that needs to change, and quick! You need to talk with him, one on one, and see if he will recognize his behavior and be willing to change it.

Shoshannah - posted on 03/17/2011

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Oh man....this is a tuff one. The FB thing. I had that battle. Only my 13 yr old is now 17 and it was myspace. Things kinda happened the same way except, she asked if she could have a myspace, I said no, 2 weeks later she informs me that she has a myspace and had it even before she asked. Her friend set the page up for her, this part really is true, but she recreated everything. Regardless, I told her she was the one responsible for it, not her friend. I too, was super pissed! Me and her had what I thought was a great relationship. Then she goes behind my back like that? I was hurt. Well, I took everything near and dear to her. Her TV, her cell phone, her stereo, she got no outside time.....non of it. As time passed and she began to get her privileges, I find out that she never took down her myspace and when she going to a friend's or got her cell phone back, she would go on myspace. So, here we go again......then I had to take a hard long look at things. Besides this issue, we have had no problems. I was a single mom her whole life and she was a great student, watched her manners, never asked me for anything.....so on and so forth. So, I just asked her one day why this myspace was so important to her. She told me what they all say.....so I can keep in touch with my friends. I thought long and hard about it. I had to admit that this was not a battle I was going to win. So I sat down with her and we went over some rules. I had total access to her page, log-in and password. I told her she is to only have "friends" on there who really are her friends, people that she actually knows, has met face to face, went to school with, all that good stuff. I told her that at any given moment I will log into her account and if I see anything suspect, well, I would post all over her myspace, I wasnt sure what, but I wouldve thought of something :-) and then her life of hell would begin. I told her not to make an ass out of me for giving in. And ya know what, she didnt. :-) She really did want myspace to keep in touch with her friends. So, if I have any advice to give it would be this, choose your battles. It made me smile to read what Jane had posted because, yes, that actually was the worst thing we ever went through :-) Wish you the best of luck with your decision......the party thing, I am staying out of that one.....I just cant bring myself to commit to either side, so I really wish you luck with the party thing. You sound like a pretty smart momma and I think that you and her will get through this just fine.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/16/2011

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Ivelisse, I agree with Jane. When the whole FB thing came up at our house, my hubby nixed it completely. My eldest had already created a page for himself, so he told me that he did, and that he only did it because he needed to be able to communicate with one of his buddies that was going to be out of town. I told him to keep it, but I wanted his password, etc.

Shortly after, my hubby was convinced to set up a page so he could communicate with his brother, so at that point, when he came back and asked if I'd known about our son's page, I told him I did, and that I'd given permission. He wasn't happy, but wasn't pissed either. He realized the "need" for my son. It did come in handy when he was going to Germany for the exchange program, and he was able to connect with his exchange family and get to know them before he actually got there.

Now, for your situation, since she wasn't completely honest (I'd have preferred "mom, what do you think about FB?" and then a confession that she already had a page...in a perfect world, maybe :-) ) I would definitely axe the party. Like Jane said, a family get together, and a few gifts and cake would be appropriate, after all, you still LOVE her, just don't necessarily approve of her actions in this particular case. She needs to know that, at 13, she can expect to be monitored. She also needs to understand that what SHE puts online isn't going to be the only thing out there, if she's on a networking site. ANYTHING that any of her friends post about her will be out there, too. That means, if (God Forbid) she and her friends get silly and take an "underwear" pic while having a sleepover, and then her friend Suzy decides to put that on FB, your daughter is stuck..She can't remove someone else's content, and it could negatively affect her later.

Good luck, Ivelisse (beautiful name, btw)! Hang in there!

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Karla - posted on 07/16/2011

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Thanks Shawnn, I didn’t see your post when you posted, and I was just checking in. I almost considered deleting my post, I wrote it right after my husband and I had argued – we rarely argue.



Well, we haven’t had an in-depth discussion about it yet, but I know he won’t force my son to do a sport. It’s my husband’s disappointment I’m concerned about now. We have agreed to limit my son’s computer time, I primarily do that by offering other things to do, he has a rocket kit for 4-H he has to work on, etc.



I know you are right about my hubby’s attitude, but I’m not sure how to explain it to him. I do have a couple of ideas. I thought I would mention the kids we know who have had parents who put a lot of pressure on them to do sports, and how it turns out. I’ll also mention my concern that his approval/disapproval is seen as personal to my son.



Also, I don’t want my daughters to be part of the conversation, one on one is best in these cases. (Though I do think they could really point out some good reasons not to pressure the kid. My daughters are 26, 22, and 17, and I really became aware of this as a bigger issue when my 17 y.o. daughter came to me and asked me to “talk to Daddy.” It seems my son was talking to her about it.)



I have already told him that the kids need to "own" their decisions. If my son ends up with regrets, he can own them and deal with them himself. –And yes other extra-curricular activities are an option. He already does Science Olympiad, and I thought we could see if the HS has a Chess club.



Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Karla - posted on 07/13/2011

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I have a question I’m going to ask here because it’s related to the original post, and I like how you ladies responded to Ivelisse. I have a 14 y.o. son who doesn’t want to do sports, and his dad – my husband – isn’t taking it well at all. We have 3 older daughters who all did a variety of sports, and I think my husband assumed our son would as well.

My son is a wiz with Math & Science and will be in an advanced program for that in High School, and he’s in an extra curricular activity – Science Olympiad. (which he started when he was 11, and has done it every year since.) He just doesn’t want to do sports. My husband thinks that because I’m advocating for my sons wishes that I am being a “crutch” and “enabling” him. It’s odd for my husband to be like this, neither he, or I did many sports in school; he did none actually. He told me he regrets it, and it was because he had no support. I told him our children have support, but our son doesn’t wish to do this. (It was track in the Spring and now Cross Country – running a 5K) – That’s when he said it’s because I’m enabling him. (To which I said, every time you tell me that I will fight you on it, because I completely disagree.)

I don’t know what to do, my husband is upset and so is my son. My 17 y.o. daughter sees what is happening and asked if she should talk to my husband about it, she knows it’s not good for parents to force their kids into sports. I don’t think my husband would force our son to do sports, but I don’t want our son to think he’s a disappointment because of this, or that his dad’s love is tied to sports. Though I’m starting to think that’s the case. I’m baffled. I’m not sure how to proceed – I need life’s big book of magic answers. (so, I’m writing on CoM!)

The awful part of this is that I’m seeing my husband in a way I have never seen him before, and I don’t like it. He’s always been so understanding and caring. The Cross Country coach had the same issue with her daughter years ago, and she did not force her daughter to run; I thought that fact would help my husband understand, but it doesn’t. I feel like he’s too invested in the sport himself – he loves to time the kids and let them know how they are progressing, etc.

Side note: Our son does love the computer and we have talked about ways to cut back on computer time, but he’s healthy and slim and personable. We have projects lined up that he wants to do and can work on – that will take him off the screen-time too.

Louveda - posted on 03/22/2011

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I wouldn't force her to participate in an activity she isn't interested in. Why does it need to a sport? Are there not any fine art programs or dance teams, whatever that she might be interested in. I think it's good for kids to be involved but they need to enjoy that activity.

Chasity - posted on 03/21/2011

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my 13 year old son goes throught spells where he will play baseball for a year or two and then all of a sudden wants to quit.. i try and be supportive and just go with it, because i understand its hard to play sports and other hobbies and keep up their grades. school is so much harder than it was in our day. i do try and tell him to find something to do with his spare time if not a sport.. i dont want him to just sit around playing xbox. he is in the band for his 2nd year in a row and he loves it. his dad (we are divorced) always shows his butt when brennan doesnt want to play a sport, but wont support him in the band. i can tell you this much just from my own expeirence, dont push her as far as a sport goes, because maybe she just isnt the sport type and it will make her resist it even more if you try and make her, because my son is very renentful against his dad for making him play sports when he just wants to take a couple of summers off and enjoy time with his friends and family, but im not saying to just let her lay around either.. its a hard spot to be in and you have to pick your battles and be very strategic about what you do to win them.. lol.. and just try and be the best mom you can be.. i think you are doing a great job just because you care enough to try and figure out what to do.. i cant be sure if my babbling will help at all... i hope it does..

Chasity - posted on 03/21/2011

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my 13 year old son goes throught spells where he will play baseball for a year or two and then all of a sudden wants to quit.. i try and be supportive and just go with it, because i understand its hard to play sports and other hobbies and keep up their grades. school is so much harder than it was in our day. i do try and tell him to find something to do with his spare time if not a sport.. i dont want him to just sit around playing xbox. he is in the band for his 2nd year in a row and he loves it. his dad (we are divorced) always shows his butt when brennan doesnt want to play a sport, but wont support him in the band. i can tell you this much just from my own expeirence, dont push her as far as a sport goes, because maybe she just isnt the sport type and it will make her resist it even more if you try and make her, because my son is very renentful against his dad for making him play sports when he just wants to take a couple of summers off and enjoy time with his friends and family, but im not saying to just let her lay around either.. its a hard spot to be in and you have to pick your battles and be very strategic about what you do to win them.. lol.. and just try and be the best mom you can be.. i think you are doing a great job just because you care enough to try and figure out what to do.. i cant be sure if my babbling will help at all... i hope it does..

Elissa - posted on 03/21/2011

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There are other avenues for discipline than sports. Don't make her join a sport if that's not what she wants to do; she'll only resent you for it. See if there aren't some dance classes, instead, that she might like, or learning to play a musical instrument. You say she's a girly girl, so dancing sounds most likely to appeal to her (especially if she can take the class with a friend or two).

Ivelisse - posted on 03/16/2011

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Thanks Jane. Pissed is definitely more like it! I'm going to repost this. As much as it bothers me, I think I will cancel her party.

Jane - posted on 03/16/2011

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Ivelisse - you probably should start a new post BUT I'll tell ya this...you have every right to be upset, hurt....PISSED. 8 letter word here - G-R-O-U-N-D-E-D!!!!! I'd ace the party too. Still celebrate her birthday with family...have a cake, a present or two but no party. She has to earn that trust back.

One thing I will say is this....she's a normal 13 year old....she's testing her boundaries and believe me, if this is the worst you deal with in her teenage years, consider yourself lucky. Nip things in the bud now so she KNOWS you mean business.

Good luck :)

Ivelisse - posted on 03/16/2011

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OK, so now that this piece is settled, can I share my next dilemma? Or am I supposed to create a new post? FYI, Alyssa will be 13 in two weeks. So, here goes. She asked last year if she could have a Facebook page (all of her friends have it), I said no, because she is too young. I told her that perhaps at age 15, but not now. She said OK, and then yesterday, I found out that she's had a page since November. That really hurt! She does not have her own laptop at home and she only uses mine for homework. Turns out that she created it on her ipod touch. I did delete the account (it takes 14 days to go away) and took her iPod away. I had a talk with her and let her know how shocked and dissapointed I was because I want to trust her. She had over 250 friends (which I know she doesn't personally know that many) and the things her so called "friends" wrote on her wall really upset me (curse words, etc). I don't want to cancel her party, but not sure how to react. When her school has dances, I let her go (to some). Just very upset about it all right now.

Jane - posted on 03/16/2011

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Ivelisse - GOOD FOR YOU for letting her choose. She's excited so I'm sure you're excited. That's awesome!!!!! My daughter was a cheerleader and she loved it...although, the girl drama was a little much (LOL)!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/16/2011

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Cheerleading requires just as much athletic ability as most other sports, if not more! An excellent choice.

LOL...I do understand the forcing them to do SOMETHING!!! My oldest is not interested in much except computers/museum work, and so the "forcing" in my house is to simply get him OUTDOORS!!!

Ivelisse - posted on 03/16/2011

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All, thanks so much for this. I am learning EVERY DAY to choose my battles with her. Cheerleading it is. She begins her practice next month and is very excited about it. I am too. She had played sports in the past (basketball and soccer) and didn't want to do either again. However, when I gave her options to join something extra, she just didn't want to do it. I simply didn't want to get her in the habit of doing nothing. Thanks again, this was all very helpful!

Jane - posted on 03/11/2011

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Yes, you are absolutely wrong for forcing her to join a sport. You should never force a kid to do a sport. What I would do instead is find out what her interests are and encourage one of her interests...because sports is certainly not all that is out there. Does she enjoy music whether that be singing or playing an instrument? What about art or theater?



My kids, now 21 and 17 were never forced to do anything but believe me, they were busy. My daughter (who is now a music education major in college) took to trumpet and wound up being amazing. She also was a cheerleader in high school, played in a youth symphony after school and did both concert and jazz band in school. She would help the thespian club with their school productions. I ran myself ragged with her until she was able to drive. My son plays football and rugby because HE wants to, and believe me...if he'd let me, I'd make him quit because it's just flat out dangerous in my opinion but it's what he enjoys. He also plays trumpet in the school band.



Kids have to enjoy the extra curricular activities. If you force them, they resent you and will not do well in it. Start inquiring about her interests. She's a girl so of course she wants to talk to her friends, shop and be a girly girl and it sounds like you're ok with that so help her find something that SHE'S interested in...not what you are interested in her doing. Good luck!

Julie - posted on 03/11/2011

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I can relate to you in the aspect of having 2 daughters who are active athletes and one who just isn't. She is my little diva who loves sequins,dresses and makeup.....my husband doesn't like it but we have not pushed the issue with her. We continue to ask her as each season comes around. She always says no. Sports are just not her thing. You really need to talk to her and find out exactly where her interest lie....and then go from there. For example; if she likes dance then find her a dance company. Or if she's interested in art, take her to museums or art galleries, or if she enjoys singing or fashion.....encourage her to seek further ideas and interest in the things she's good at and enjoys. She will never strive in the things she has no interest in doing. She will never be succesful in the things forced upon her. If you wanted her to be an athlete then that is something you should have started at a much younger age and not while she's in high school. You have to be supportive and listen. Do a mother/daughter day...go shopping and have lunch. During your day together ask questions with an open mind of what she might tell you then you can discuss them over a great lunch...you have to find the common ground so she will feel comfy talking to you throughout your day together.....as a mother of 3 daughters, I know these things have worked for me in the past. My husband likes to set up rules and restrictions but for me, there are other ways to go about things and my suggestion is what works for me.

Ramona - posted on 03/11/2011

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No one will do well if forced, she may like it since she agreed to try it. My kids play sports, but not with school all the time. Why not try music, be in a pla, make the sets to the play, write in the school paper? Not everyone likes team sports.

Ivelisse - posted on 03/11/2011

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Thanks Theresa. She has agreed to "try" Track and Field which I am happy with. She wants to do cheerleading in the fall, and I'm fine with that as well. I'm also looking into the different athletic programs my city has to offer. I'm confident that we'll find something she'll enjoy. I guess I'm having a hard time dealing with the negative attitude she projects when it comes to doing something extra. I hear so many great things about kids in sports and as a track runner in high school, I know the advantages of being involved in sports. However, you're right in the sense that forcing her to do something will only cause resentment. At the very least, I want her to try it and see. If she truly dislikes it, then I'm open to anything. Thanks so much for your response! :) This helps a lot.

Theresa - posted on 03/11/2011

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I understand you wanting your daughter to do something extarcurricular, but not everyone wants to do sports. Is there some other option for your daughter? My oldest is 15. When he was in 7th grade we told him he needed to try 1 extracurricular activity. He could choose from sports, an academic one (math team, knowlegebowl, etc) or jazz band. He is very good at playing his sax so chose jazz band. We just didn't want him to someday regret that he didn't try something. He is still doing jazz band 3 year later. If it's not something she enjoys she won't keep doing it and will just resent you for making her. Or as Louise suggested something outside of school.

Ivelisse - posted on 03/11/2011

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Louise, thank you so much for this! I really appreciate it. I will definitely look into these groups in my area.

Louise - posted on 03/11/2011

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Not every body enjoys sport. Ask her if she wants to join the sea cadets or ranger scouts. These groups instill disciplin and are a great source of social skills and opportunities your teenager would not normally have. Most of these youth groups are mixed and they are geared up to deal with teenagers. My sons did not want to join a sport either but they both chose different youth groups and had a great time. They learnt how to problem solve, camp out and self respect with there tournaments and parading in uniform. My son chose sea scouts (which also took girls) he learnt how to sail and canoe and camp. These groups were really good and kept my sons on the straight and narrow, they were kept fit with all the activites and had a huge social group of people they would not normally of met. I would find out about these groups in your area and ask if she would like to join any, forcing someone to take part in something they do not enjoy is a recipe for disaster.

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