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Will the Force Be With You?

Like many children, my mother enrolled me in piano lessons but when I openly admitted to disliking it, she let me quit. Same went for the clarinet and skiing, both of which I did for about one week. Now that I'm older I desperately wish I could play an instrument or stand on skis, but I do understand why my mom didn't push either on me.

It's a tough position for a mama to be in and I often think about how I am going to handle extra-curricular activities as I am raising my own children. Do I force them to do things they dislike like now in hopes that they'll be grateful for the skills in the future? Or do I let them determine their own activities in hopes that they'll find their own way?

What do you think? Should parents push certain activities onto their children?

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Ericka Ericka 6 years
O btw I don't mean you should make your kids try everything all at once either. I'm a firm believer at one thing at a time. Finish a season, level or whatever 1st then if you still want to quit you can.
Ericka Ericka 6 years
I was watching an episode of Little People Big World a while back and I really like how the mom approached this situation when her older son wanted to quit soccer mid-season. She told him no he had to stick it out for the season. Not only were his teamates counting on him she also felt it was a lesson learned that you shouldn't quit everytime something gets a little boring or a little tedious. You should push through and accomplish what you set out to do. I think a week isn't very much time to put in to anything. I don't really consider that giving it a try. Everything always sucks in the beginning when you don't know what you are doing. It's when you become accomplished that the fun can begin like in skiing, dance or whatever.
psterling psterling 6 years
When I was a kid and saw a ballerina or a figured skater on TV my mom would say "Do you want to do that?" and of course, being little and curious about everything I would say yes. But she would never talk to me about what the effort/commitment involved so not surprisingly, after a few lessons I would want to quit. She would let me but she called me a quitter my entire life and that really stuck with me. So when I have to handle this situation with my own kids I'll be sure to explain to them how much time and effort is involved and if they do wan to proceed, they'll have to stick it out for X amount of months for a hobby or a season of whatever sport they chose. After that, if they don't want to continue I'll know that they at least gave it a fair shot and they can feel good about fulfilling their commitment without being called a quitter.
EvieJ EvieJ 6 years
I started piano when I was 5 (my choice, I begged for lessons) and wanted to quit so many times, but my parents wouldn't let me. I am so thankful to them for that - it is a stress reliever to sit down at the piano and pound out a few tunes! Two of my brothers have gone different routes: one of my nieces played volleyball and her father forced her to keep at it, in school and in outside clubs thinking she would get a scholarship. She didn't, and all that money he spent on club trips, uniforms, hotels, etc., could have gone to her college fund! The other brother lets his kids join and quit activities at will, which I don't really agree with. I think - and this is for the future, my daughter's not old enough to join things yet - that I'll tell her if she wants to take lessons in something she has to stick with it for a certain amount of time, 6 months or a year minimum. That's about how long it takes to really start mastering things.
cheersdarlin916 cheersdarlin916 6 years
I have let my son try anything he wanted but once he hit 6th grade I told him it was time to decide what he liked and what he wants to pursue and he choose theater. So now I have him in activities that will build of that talent such as dance and acting classes as well as auditioning for any play he can. He really enjoys it and I am happy with the way we did it. When he was younger he tried everything from piano to hockey to soccer and baseball to boyscouts and more.
runningesq runningesq 6 years
Lil, it's not too late to do either ! My parents encouraged and supported me but let me quit when I wasn't interested anymore (I did gymnastics, swimming, girl scouts... and more, I'm sure ;)). I'm really glad they never pushed me. I've seen what happens when parents push their kids too hard into activities... the kids resent their parents and hate the activity. Melinda, that IS sad. Let the kids be kids! there is major value in unstructured PLAY
melinda19 melinda19 6 years
I have a neighbor who has her 2 young sons involved in EVERYTHING. They are in soccer, swim lessons,vacation bible school,tennis lessons, flag football,t-ball,C.C.D (which is a Sunday school sort of program). Anyway they never have time to just play in the neighborhood. I feel its overkill !! She coaches and teaches and is the Room Mom at school for both boys-- P.T.A Chairman. Personally I think she tries to make up for the lack of involvement from her husband. I think the boys are burnt out on it all.
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