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Thread: Should you force your child to continue with lessons

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    taylor is offline Baron / Baroness
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    Default Should you force your child to continue with lessons

    I have my 7 year old daughter every weekend, needless to say I'm divorced. I enrolled her in tennis lessons last week with an instructor and she was improving so I scheduled another lesson for tomorrow. Also the instructor was a good teacher and was good with kids, I watched the whole lesson. However, right before we were going to bed she has a tantrum and starts crying telling me that she doesn't want any more tennis lessons. She tells me she hates tennis and I make her life worse because I keep making her do things she doesn't like. She also mentioned that I take her to watch bad movies like Hugo and Tin Tin out of the blue. But out of the sports I've tried to play with her she seemed to enjoy tennis the most, so at least I thought. But after trying to console her and giving her a speech about following through on things you start, I cancelled the lesson because I could tell she wasn't going to let this go to the point where she started hyperventilating. After I told her I cancelled she looked so relieved and fell asleep right away. Anyway, I feel bummed out because I feel like I gave her the ok to quit and that's not the life lesson I want to teach her. What does the Parenting 101 Manual say to do in situations like this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by taylor View Post
    I have my 7 year old daughter every weekend, needless to say I'm divorced. I enrolled her in tennis lessons last week with an instructor and she was improving so I scheduled another lesson for tomorrow. Also the instructor was a good teacher and was good with kids, I watched the whole lesson. However, right before we were going to bed she has a tantrum and starts crying telling me that she doesn't want any more tennis lessons. She tells me she hates tennis and I make her life worse because I keep making her do things she doesn't like. She also mentioned that I take her to watch bad movies like Hugo and Tin Tin out of the blue. But out of the sports I've tried to play with her she seemed to enjoy tennis the most, so at least I thought. But after trying to console her and giving her a speech about following through on things you start, I cancelled the lesson because I could tell she wasn't going to let this go to the point where she started hyperventilating. After I told her I cancelled she looked so relieved and fell asleep right away. Anyway, I feel bummed out because I feel like I gave her the ok to quit and that's not the life lesson I want to teach her. What does the Parenting 101 Manual say to do in situations like this?
    Parenting 101 Manual? If there was 1 right way, there'd be 1 book. And there's a heck of a lot of books out there.

    However, is that true? Was it her idea or yours? None of my kids, at that age, ever asked to be married to anything. They wanted to play. If I can add a tiny other perspective. Telling children that they must be committed should be with specific criteria (THEY join a team, they should finish the season, etc). Otherwise, they won't want to try anything for the fear that dad will require a decade of enrollment. Sampling is good. Commitment is a decision one makes after sampling. Just my two cents. the other two cents: enjoy your daughter. Play with her. I'd bet a nickle she'd rather do that than any organized activity. In 5 years? Not the case. Time is fleeting.
    Last edited by cookderosa; 01-28-2012 at 08:17 AM.
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    I think extra curriculiars before age 10 are mostly a waste. It might be fun, but not a lot of long lasting benefit.

    Relax. Go play. If she wants a casual round of tennis, awesome. If she wants a tea party, awesome. If she wants to kick your butt at wii boxing (my personal fav), awesome. If she wants to try painting, awesome. (Acrylics are a good start.)

    She is 7. Life at that age isn't about sticking to things. It's about getting messy in lots of stuff.

    Make a list of a bunch of stuff and do a bit here and there. Some over time will stick more than others, but you can't force it.

    What does she find interesting? Have you asked her what 3 or 4 things she would love to do or learn more about?
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    I will say, once they hit age 10, I insist on a 1 year commitment barring unforeseen legitimate issues. However, I also give them the choice, so it is their decision to enter that commitment.
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    It was my idea for her to take tennis lessons. She had taken swimming lessons when she was 4 years old and I've seen the payoff in that. Now she loves swimming and as a parent it is nice to see your kid swim without floaties. I agree with the sampling point, but I thought sampling would be more than 1 lesson. I guess I was hoping she would just get at least the basics down before she quit which could've probably been accomplished in 3-4 more lessons. I plan on taking her to her favorite bagel store for breakfast and just do what she wants today, basically let her be a 7 year old.


    Thanks for your perspectives. I feel better about my decision to cancel and make my daughter happier.
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    Lyanne is offline Knight Champion
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    Quote Originally Posted by taylor View Post
    It was my idea for her to take tennis lessons. She had taken swimming lessons when she was 4 years old and I've seen the payoff in that. Now she loves swimming and as a parent it is nice to see your kid swim without floaties. I agree with the sampling point, but I thought sampling would be more than 1 lesson. I guess I was hoping she would just get at least the basics down before she quit which could've probably been accomplished in 3-4 more lessons. I plan on taking her to her favorite bagel store for breakfast and just do what she wants today, basically let her be a 7 year old.


    Thanks for your perspectives. I feel better about my decision to cancel and make my daughter happier.
    I think it's great that this is even a dilemma for you. It just shows that you are being a responsible parent/human being to be concerned about the decisions you let your child make, and their effect on her future attitudes. Given her experience with swimming, I see no reason why you should have thought it would be any different with tennis.
    I don't know how long you've been divorced, not sure if it even matters how long, but as an outsider with no experience in this situation, I would imagine it's difficult and scary for a 7 year old to have 2 homes, and be passed back and forth between parents according to (what I assume is) a court schedule. She may be reacting more to having to leave her comfy bed, her stuffed animals, her Mommy, etc, than to being with you. (I'm making a huge assumption that you're the Dad. If you're the Mom, I apologize) In her heart of hearts, I bet she wants to stay home, BUT she wants you there too. I don't think she meant to say "you make her life worse", just her way of articulating that she wishes things were how they used to be and the fact that she has to leave her main home to be with you is something that makes her feel bad. <---- I used to drive my mother crazy when I was little, saying that I "feel bad". She could never pin me down on what I meant, and I didn't have the cognitive ability to express what I was feeling. Later I realized I was experiencing dread, associated with a mean teacher at school, but at the time I didn't even know what was causing the feeling of dread, or that that's what it was.
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    Oh the memories. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say there's an over-obsession with forcing children to follow-through these days. Sure, kids shouldn't be able to hop skip and jump through their parents money, but childhood is all about trying new things and finding what you like. I can't even begin to list the amount of experiences my mom ruined by turning them into chores. My sisters and I have huge issues with this. Even though we are all very successful, we all get insecure about quitting at anything because it always equaled failure. My mom would even tell me that not participating in certain activities every time was disobedient to God because you were not exercising gifts that He gave you.

    Anyway, not saying you were inflicting damage on your kid, just saying from a non-parent perspective that I think it was absolutely fine (and right!) to let her quit.

    I'm going to venture a guess that the forcing her to go to "bad movies" is residual prejudice from parent #2. My mom was uber strict and my dad was def not and I remember being so confused about her standards vs his and what I was supposed to do when they didn't line up. Often it just made me randomly pick a side and lash out at the other one.
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    Hmm, I guess this is something my wife and I need to start thinking about now. My daughter is 9 and we've never made her join any kind of activity. Well I guess we did with swimming. She loves the pool and didn't know how to swim, so one summer we enrolled her for lessons and now she's a fish. The other thing she loves doing is shooting guns, she started when she was 6, almost 7 years old. We take her to the shooting range and she's a natural at hitting targets, but safety is always first. She finally started shooting the military cartriges and did great, so we'll see how much she retained when I get back home. She's anxious to kill her first deer. We are thinking of enrolling her in competition shooting with rimfire guns. I think she'll do well there, and it is something she loves doing.
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    At 7 she doesn't know how the activity may help her in the future. I know when I was young my mom made me do piano lessons and after 3 years I wanted to quit. Of course she threw a fit and called me a quitter and stuff but I stopped lessons which I thought was great. Thing is after a year I asked her to start lessons again because I missed it.

    This is a little different from your case though since she's just starting but I think if you make it fun like play tennis with her first to get her to like the sport instead of just throwing her to a stressful situation (being made to play tennis). I don't have any kids so I'm just going off my experiences as a kid
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    So I asked her in the morning what she wanted to do, now that I cancelled her tennis lessons. Her response was, "I just want to play computer games, watch tv, and do fun things.". Aahh, so much simplicity and integrity in one statement, makes me want to be 7 again.

    Well I ended up spending the day with her at Knottsberry Farm, an amusement park. And no I will not be doing this every weekend because I know weekend dads have a reputation for being Disneyland dads. We both ended up screaming like little girls, her out of pure enjoyment and me out of utter terror...VOMIT. I ended up buying a BFF bracelet for her and her friend which made her so happy.

    I was married to her mom for over 8 years and I've been divorced for almost 5 years now, never did I imagine that my child would grow up in a broken home. We don't have a court ordered visitation schedule, thank God. I get her on weekends because her mom and I thought it would be best that we not interfere with her school schedule. As far as the bad movies comment, from now on if she tells me she wants to watch a Chipmunk or a Happy Feet sequel, that's what we're watching. I will not try to convince her to watch a movie like Hugo or Tin Tin that I won't fall asleep in. Tin Tin was too violent for younger kids btw, we walked out 20 minutes in.

    I even told her today that even though mommy and daddy are not together, I want her to not divorce her husband unless he is really bad. Her response was, "Then I'm never going to break up with my boyfriend.". I just left it at that. That's not a conversation I want to have for a long long time.

    Thanks for all your input.
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