View Full Version : Push my son into sports?
03-28-2010, 08:30 PM
Should I push my son into sports? My wife and I took our 4 year-old son to play soccer as part of a league for 4 and 5 year-olds that is, according to their literature, "just for fun. don't expect the kids to learn much about the game." I was "assistant-coaching" but had to run off the field for a couple of minutes. When I got back our son was sitting with my wife on the sidelines. I asked what was wrong and my wife, visibly unhappy said that our son decided he didn't want to play any more. I ask our son and he said he "hated" soccer and didn't want to play anymore. I said, "come on, lets get back out there...etc." But he didn't want to play anymore but he wanted to go play on the adjacent playground (where several other kids who apparently decided soccer wasn't for them were playing). I took him to play on the swings and slides for a few minutes. When we returned to the game, he still didn't want to play and my wife was very upset. I asked what was wrong and she said, "you're not being a good father! You should be out there pushing him to get back into the game. You're letting him be in control! He's going to turn out to be a pansy!" I thought you could do more damage to a kid by pushing them to do something they didn't want to than to let them be happy. I obviously don't want my son to be a "pansy" (although I didn't realize that not playing soccer was the defining moment in one's life that make a child a pansy) and I want to do the best I can for our son - so what's the right way to proceed? Any insights would be appreciated.
03-29-2010, 01:20 PM
That is a turn around - usually it is the dad doing the pushing. I think there is a middle ground here. When a young child is upset, forcing them back into the upsetting activity is not a good idea, but nor would I reward the behavior with a trip to the monkeybars.
With my kids, if they wanted to play a sport or join an activity, I made it clear to them, even at 4, that they were making a commitment. This is especially important in team sports, where a drop out leaves the team short. So, if they do not want to play, that is fine, but they stay on the sidelines and watch. They go to every practice, etc. Next season, they can decide if they want to return.
03-29-2010, 10:06 PM
Actually, if your son isn't into sports, forcing him to participate might make him even hate it more. Rather than make it sound like a task for him, package it into something fun. Get some of his friends over and casually start with just kicking a ball around for example.
03-31-2010, 08:48 AM
I'm with you on the not pushing your son to play if he doesn't want to. My parents pushed me to be physically active, and I would find something I liked for a while, then I would just suddenly like it, no reason, just not interested anymore. If they made me stay in it my position would go from "not interested" to "disliking", so if you let him out now, he may decide later to go back. As for your wife's reaction, I can only offer my aunt as an example. She was a soccer mom to 3 boys (two are already in college). She is this perfectly sweet lady that anybody would kill to be like, but I've seen her a couple of times on the sidelines of her sons' games and she turns into this snarling beast that would make those same "anybody"s turn and run. It certainly shocked the hell out of me! I don't know anything about your wife, but maybe she got caught up in the heat of the moment.
04-01-2010, 04:17 PM
Dang. I say don't push the kid to do anything he doesn't want to do. There are times when the principles will come into play, like when he tries out for a sport and makes a team, that's a commitment to a team and he needs to stick that out....that will come when he's older. At 4 or 5 you can't expect them to get that stuff. We took our 3 yr old to a Saturday soccer deal and he hated it. There wasn't enough ball kicking chaos for him. Too much structure. It's Saturday and he wants to play what he wants to play.
I think you are right on with letting him go play. Especially after you attempted to get him to go back out.
Forcing a child to have the fun YOU want them to have.....doesn't make much sense. Provide them with an abundance of opportunities to find the things they enjoy...that's a parent's responsibility. Some of it will stick, some of it won't.
Hope that helps.
04-03-2010, 03:56 PM
I was one of those kids who was 'forced' into playing sports as a child. I hated baseball and basically any sport. Now that I'm an adult, I refuse to force my son (only 18 months old right now) into pursuing sports. I'll let the little guy dictate those kind of activities for himself later.
04-06-2010, 09:39 AM
There are a lot of good posts in response to this question. As a parent of four and parent coach/psychologist (ABD2010). It is important for you as a parent to remember that exposing children to new ideas, activities is about the child learning and exploring his or her own skills and interests and not the needs or wishes of the parent or what the parent wants for the child.
Encouragement try new things and understand commitment and responsibility when they join a group is important but it is also very important to talk with your child and truly understand your child's thoughts and feelings. There is not one good answer regarding how to respond or react to child not wanting to do something. There are many factors to be considered and every child is unique. Their thoughts and experiences are unique also. (physical issues, emotional issues, social issues, maturity levels, unpleasant experiences, etc...) better yet is the process for resolving the issue at hand...this is what will determine your child's future receptiveness and responsiveness to new experiences and this is the real teaching opportunity.
04-07-2010, 10:39 AM
My oldest is 3 so we aren't there quite yet. My husband and I have decided that we want him involved in something starting at a young age. If he can't or won't choose an activity then we will choose something for him. We plan to change it up each season until he finds something he enjoys. It's a good opportunity to talk to your child about commitment and the benefits of physical activity. Luckily, our son already likes hockey so we're gonna start out by getting him in ice skating lessons and take it from there. Anyway, for your situation I would still take him to practices and games but not force him. Maybe he'll see the other children having fun and want to join in. I wouldn't let him quit, especially something you've had to pay for.
04-09-2010, 03:32 PM
i think they should put him into sports when he's young and when he gets older let him decide if he wants to still play the sports or choose to do something else. you never know if you push your child to do something when they are young and when they get older they may even be able to make friends easier and they will have more confidence in themselves cause they will know they will be able to do something if they set their mind to it
04-12-2010, 03:46 PM
Making your son play a sport is silly. Part of acquiring tastes in life is trying something and deciding if you like it. If he doesn't like soccer, he may like baseball or painting or karate. I would just suggest you guys encourage your kids to play these sports with friends or neighborhood kids to decide if they like it (before committing to a team). I am sure your wife has tried a sport and decided she didn't like it. Perhaps, she needs to be forced to continue or become a pansy!
04-12-2010, 08:53 PM
$10 says your mother-in-law is a control freak. Am I right? Nothing against your wife (my MIL is one, too) but it's a simple example of daughters becoming their mothers. Don't take it personally.
With regard to "pushing your son into sports"... I'd continue taking him to the games and saying that he can just sit and watch if he wants, but since daddy had committed to being an assistant coach, I have a responsibility to be there. If you have at least 3-4 more games left in the season, I've got another $10 says your boy asks if he can get back in and play...all it will take is seeing how much fun the other kids are having without him.
Let me know how it goes.
04-13-2010, 08:42 AM
I don't believe in pushing kids to do anything extra caricular. My plan is to try many things, give them all 3 three tries and if he still hates something after going three times, he will not have to do it.
04-13-2010, 10:48 AM
You'll be sorry if you push. Your boy may not like team sports, might be a golfer. Whatever, pushing your child to follow the herd so your WIFE feels better is the wrong way to go. It will ruin your relationship with your children forever.
Good luck to us all.
04-16-2010, 10:05 PM
I'm wondering, what is it about soccer that your son doesn't like?..I think that it is important to find the "root" of what he doesn't like, and think about if this will lead to more conflicts in the future. I think that if we look closely at situations..our kids can give us clues as to possible conflicts that may develop in the future. We must always remember to keep our eyes open. For example, if your son doesn't like the fact that he doesn't get to score goals, while other kids get to score 2 and 3 goals..this may possibly lead to a bigger problem in the future, and can offer up an opportunity to talk with him about the importance of team work, and that everyone has their role, and needs to focus on performing to the best of their ability in what ever role that they were given. I think it is possible to gain something from every situation.
04-19-2010, 09:28 AM
It may not be the soccer, but some of the kids on the team. We've already had to work with our 3yo son on how to respond to the teasing and aggressiveness from a couple of bullies-in-training in his playschool class. One boy and one girl (the girl is the WORST) are notorious for taking away toys, pushing and hitting, saying mean things, etc. The boy was a scratcher and hitter; I don't want to sound like we encourage violence, but we finally told our son that he was bigger than the other boy and to knock him down the next time he hit or scratched our son. Problem solved. The girl, though, she is vicious; "you're bad, ugly, stupid" etc. AND hitting. We had to coach our son on how to respond verbally to her, and it's improved somewhat. One of the other girls finally knocked her on her little behind a few times.
04-29-2010, 07:47 AM
your son doesn't hate sports just soccer from the sounds of it. couple of other sports for ya ... football, baseball, tenis, bowling, golf, racket ball, etc. etc. etc.
05-25-2010, 02:57 PM
From my own experience, pushing your son into sports will only make him oppose it more. Exposing him to new things is important of course, but I would think having a mom who believes he is a "pansy" will be more detrimental to his well-being than whether he can play soccer or not. My son was exposed to all kinds of sports, gave it a shot, but team sports just are not his thing. He is now 11 years old and an aspiring musician. You never know what niche your son will fall into, but exposing him, rather than forcing him, into different experiences in life is your job, not berating him. He will thank you for it one day.
05-25-2010, 04:26 PM
I would say, it depends. If your son was the one who wanted to try soccer then you tell him he has to stick it out for the season then he doesn't have to do it again. Sounds to me though like he wasn't the one saying he wanted to play.
By the time he is six he should have some activity, but he can help choose it, he'll likely enjoy it and want to go.
02-20-2012, 09:29 PM
Just wanted to remind you that not all sports involve a ball.
Personally, I suck at and mostly hate all ball-related sports. But I am very good at wrestling, rock climbing, mountain biking, and motorcycle racing. All (in my opinion) much more manly than any ball-sport.
Offer him some other types of sports and see what he likes.
03-03-2012, 02:09 PM
Pushing a kid is not good, encouraging and exposing them to new things in an appropiate way is great. Before taking your son to try and and play soccor, how much exposure did he recieve at home to the sport. One thing we like to encourage dads to do is instead of introducing their kids to something new in an unknown enviroment, start off at home. Let them watch what ever sport you are interested in them becoming involved in on tv or by a video game a couple of times. Get out in the front yard, and slowly teach the principals of the sport to them there, just you and them. Start off basic, we are talking about a 4 year old. Don't rush into soccor philosophy 101 with them. Just get out in the front yard and kick a ball back and forth. Another good way to do this, is invite one of your friends over, go outside and start playing soccor without involving him at first. Make sure he is in a place he will notice you having a good time with a friend kicking a ball around. Natural curiosity will bring him outisde to see what is so fun about kicking a ball around. Let him come to you with interest, and you are making him choose to get involved, rather than telling or asking him to.
Once he has shown interest, if it stays then great, build on it. Start showing him the basics of what makes up the sport. Basic rules and what the objective is. After these steps, spend a couple weekends playing soccor or whatever sport is being encouraged. See if he is catching on, ENCOURAGE him by letting him know you are proud of how well he is doing. Likewise, if he just doesn't show the interest, move on. Find something that naturally interests him and build off that. Not every kid is a sports fanatic. That doesn't mean it is ok to never pick up a football, but don't expect him to want to do it every afternoon. My son went through 4 activities from baseball, to soccor, to football, and then Taekwondo before he found what really grabbed his attention. He didn't sign into every sport officially, but time was spent seeing how he responding to the sport in the backyard, and when he showed interest, we went for it. I did keep him in baseball for the entire season after he commitedto wanting to join, and 5 games into it decided he didn't want to do it. He wasn't "forced", but he was given a life lesson, that if you start something that other people are dependant on you finishing it, you sometimes have to tough it out and just do it. On a side note, that year his team won the championship, which I thought was going to respark his interest, but it didn't, and I was ok with that.
03-04-2012, 08:43 PM
The only rule we have is that once you start something you have to finish it. But we don't push, we let our kids 'sample' dance, soccer, karate etc. (both boys and girls) - but whatever they commit to, they have to finish the season.
08-09-2012, 04:22 PM
I hated sports too at that age, which really disappointed my baseball-loving father. When Iwas 10 or so I started playing with some older boys in my neighborhood and they were all big sports fans. I started learning how to be good at sports by playing with them. Within a year I was a pretty rabid baseball fan. My dad's eyes lit up when I asked him if I could play Little League. In a few years I was good enough to play JV baseball.
So yea, I'd say don't push kids too hard into stuff they clearly hate. Organized sports are VERY overrated. Kids learn a lot more playing sports with you, watching sports with you, and playing sports with their friends.
I will say though that once a kid signs up to do something, you should probably make him follow through with it and give a best effort even if he doesn't like it - although probably not at the four year old level.
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