Over Committing in Extra Curricular Activities Negative Impact

Given the opportunity

We have three children. Our youngest is now in high school. Since he was little, he, as well as his siblings, were given the opportunity to participate in different extra curricular activities including several sports. Additionally he plays piano, something that he has stuck with for seven years. 

Over the last two years he’s enjoyed playing volleyball. His 8th grade team won their conference and beat their rivals in the final game. It was exciting and fun.But over committing in extra curricular can have a negative impact.

Listen to what your child is telling you

What to do

High school was around the corner and the pull between music and volley ball became pronounced.  He wanted so much to do both, however he chose to just stick to band and piano and put volleyball aside. 

Come September he ran into the volleyball coach who talked him into coming back. When he told us, we were not happy and warned him, he was over loading his schedule.  He wanted to anyway, so we allowed him to proceed. I thought maybe he can do this, may be has a yet to be discovered talent to handle a busy schedule. And busy he would be…

Thinking about what his schedule would be like made me tired. Basically he would be gone every night of the week as well on Saturdays. Performances would conflict with volleyball games and on those days choices would have to made in advance as to what would take precedence.

Skeptical as my husband and I were, we let him give it a go….

 

It was short lived

He got sick with a cold within two weeks. His schedule made him sick. He never had a free evening to himself, not to mention time to do homework. My husband and I talked to him, and after several more days of seeing him go to school sick and dragging, we both told him to quit volleyball. And he did. He went and spoke face to face with the coach. We as parents didn’t do it for him. He owned it, which took courage and maturity.

Gone every night of the week

My kids have friends that are in sports and they are gone every single night of the week practicing or playing in games. They have schedules that would make a manic CEO cry. Going non stop is not a trait to admire.  My husband and I need down time and our kids take after us. I have witnessed first hand the consequences suffered when they tried to do too much and keep up a grueling pace. So if this sounds familiar and your child is unhappy, let your kid quit an activity.

Yes I said it,

LET YOUR KID QUIT!

Cut back on what you have your kid involved in. The stuff kids are supposed to do today besides school work is RIDICULOUS!

Many of you may hate me for saying this but the worst pressure I have seen teenagers and kids put under is while they are participating in sports. Activities such as music and band just don’t seem so demanding. Yes practice is required, and time is spent learning. It is just not every day after school. Now to be fair, band is actually a class during the school day. Still that is only an hour, compare that to the amount of time spent practicing for the typical high school sport every single night. 

Have you ever been on the sidelines of a kids soccer game?

Granted not all, but some parents act like lunatics, yelling at referees (who by the way are often teenagers),showing a lack of respect. It becomes way too emotional. I’ve wanted to scream, hey chill out! Your kids most likely not gonna be the next Pele’ or Lionel Messi.

Every parent should know their kids and what’s best for them. Collectively we need to step back and refocus our priorities. We put way too much pressure on our kids when they get into high school. They are on the cusp of becoming adults yet they are NOT adults. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have responsibility or work. Young people DO need a good night’s sleep and time to just be young. In a few years, if they haven’t already, they will start working. Let them enjoy their fleeting youth.

Hold this time and protect it for them., because they may not have the maturity to do it themselves. If you have to speak to coaches and teachers do so. But realize that your child’s success isn’t going to be tied to how much stuff they were over involved in. You can help them be strategic about what you allow them to commit too. 

The competition

The competition is intense and unnecessary in almost every athletic program I’ve experienced. I have found this true even with park and recreation programs. Our younger daughter went through a really ugly experience in our local park and recreation program. Now I’m not crazy, thinking we have to ban school organized sports or recreational programs, just don’t forget the common sense of having a life balance.

 

List to Let Go

Five tips on how to let your child quit.

 

1.Respect your child’s decision to drop out. They are not failures. They are trying to tell you something.

2.Let your child take the lead on what they want to sign up for.

3.Don’t be a helicopter parent. Be present when it matters – not ever present – It’s very unhealthy.

4.Pick one activity a year for your child to get involved in.

5.Relaxing at home and doing “nothing” is important for family bonding and a child’s mental health.

 

Authored by Rachel Ferguson

 

Below are a list of helpful resources. These are tools that I have found extremely useful and personally life changing.

 

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

 

The Power of A Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

 

Wholetones Healing Music by Michael Tyrrell

 

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