My boy is 12 and he is attending karate classes for 5 years now. He never complained before, but this year he wants to stop it and he shouts, cry every time he has karate class. This year he will take the black belt, thats why we are forcing him to continue 1 more year. What shall we do? Please help.. Thanks

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Chet - posted on 09/22/2014

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We had a similar issue with our oldest (age 10) and swimming. We didn't want her to quit, and her attitude toward swimming had changed so dramatically in such a short period of time I really felt that there had to be other things going on.

Ultimately, there were a variety of issues, but it took awhile for them to all come out. Our daughter had always been friends with the kids in her class, and then she had a couple of sessions where she wasn't able to form friendships with the other kids. There were a couple of kids in the class who had been cheating on laps, and that bothered her. She lost the teacher she liked and ended up with a teacher who she didn't click with nearly as well. They didn't play games as much as they had in the lower levels, but the teacher she liked was still able to make the class fun. And she was also discouraged that she wasn't progressing and improving as quickly as she wanted to.

To some extent, just talking about what was bothering her helped. We stayed at the same pool, but changed days so she was with a different group of kids and a different teacher. Not the preferred teacher, but a different one. Also, she got over the hump, and made a lot of progress over the summer. She was really pleased with herself, and that seemed to make the biggest difference.

I was always clear that it was not acceptable to throw a hissy fit when it was time to get ready for swimming. I explained why I thought she should continue with swimming, and worked with her to talk about what was wrong rather than just being difficult. If you really want to stop going you need to make a strong case for it, not produce a lot of drama.

Anyway, in our case, I was glad that we didn't just pull her out of swimming. At the end of the summer she wanted to know how long it would take to become a life guard. For our daughter, I felt that it was a valuable exercise in talking through your problems, doing what you can to make a bad situation better, and persevering through something difficult.

All of that said, 10 to 12 is a common age for kids to drop out of sports and activities. Sometimes they're feeling burnt out if they've been training hard. It's just not as fun any more. And it's common at 10 or 12 for kids to start focusing their interests more. Our kids are involved in a huge number of activities, and when our oldest starts grade 7 in two years I know that she will have to give up some of them.

Anyway, I would be clear with your son that shouting and crying isn't the best way to deal with this. If he doesn't like karate class he needs to explain to you why he doesn't like class and maybe you can trouble shoot that or maybe it's fair for him to quit.

It's also a good idea to talk to the sensei, or maybe even some of the other parents. They may have some insight as well. Maybe a lot of the kids are unhappy with something that's been going on during the classes. When all of this was going on with our daughter we talked to the aquatics director and she had some valuable insights about when kids often stall with swimming.

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Niki - posted on 09/24/2014

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Thanks very much for yr response. When we discuss with our kids all problems can be solved

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 09/22/2014

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Why are you forcing your son into an extracurricular activity that he OBVIOUSLY does not want to continue?

Forcing your kids to do something extracurricular is counterproductive. It will be not only a waste of your time getting him back & forth to an activity that he will not willingly participate in, but a waste of the sensei's time for forcing him to interact with a person who has stated (sounds like very plainly) that he is no longer interested.

Perhaps it's time to visit with your kid and find out what HE is interested in.

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