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Parents, Children, and Extracurricular Activities

Parents, Children, and Extracurricular Activities

Back to school supplies, backpacks, late fall/early winter clothing, shoes, and accessories are lining the shelves of our favorite stores. Summer Camps and Summer Educational Programs are coming to an end. Soon kids in shoulder pads and helmets will be fighting the late summer heat; little ones in knee socks and ball caps will ascend on grass covered fields, and 76 trombones – rows of the finest virtuosos, a hundred and ten cornets, and more than a thousand reeds will fill school parking lots and football fields; school is right around the corner and for many a hundred and ten decisions will need to be made.

Choosing extracurricular activities can be challenging. Parents often want their children to get involved in activities they were involved in, to enjoy the things they enjoyed; or they push them toward activities they “wish” they had been involved in, titling it “missed opportunities”. This is where the conflict begins. Often toddlers, pre-teens, teens, and adolescents go along with the program to please mom and dad. Others fight back harshly showing very little interest and failing at every attempt. Even the child prodigy might want a change in routine, a new instrument, or a different sport.

When conversations trend toward: “Don’t be so lazy”, “try harder”, “practice makes perfect”, “I would have died for this opportunity”, or “you’ve got my genes, you can do this! I know you can”, relationships suffer. Children, especially younger children and pre-teens, find it hard to push back from gloating parents. They will often participate year after year in an activity they hate, counting the days until they are old enough or find the nerve to say how they really feel. This breakdown in communication often goes unnoticed and easily spreads into other areas of a child’s life. We have all heard someone say how much they hated practicing, or how bad they were at a sport they played all through school. These parents often avoid all extracurricular activities and team sports, passing their dislikes and frustrations on to their children, in turn damaging the parent-child relationship.

Improving Lives Counseling Services provides support and guidance in building open, healthy parent-child relationships. Opening lines of communications, developing parent-child listening and learning skills, and communicating obligations of time and money is important. Need assistance transitioning a child who hates to practice, always drops the ball, falls on the balance beam, is tone death and has two flat feet into a more suitable extracurricular or after school activity? We can help. We can guide you through supporting a child who is really bad at an activity he/she loves, or, due to finances and time commitments, pulling a child from an activity they are passionate about.

Extracurricular activities require commitment from the entire family. Asking a five year old if they want to try something is very different from encouraging a five year old to give an activity a chance. Knowing the difference and effectively communicating in each situation has its challenges. Improving Lives Counseling Services’ group, family, and individual sessions provide you with the tools necessary to have these talks, and deliver difficult messages. Live the life you and your family deserve. Call us.