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How do I get my teenage son to get involved in a sport?

We tried to have him join the swim team freshman year, but he balked and said he wanted to join the bowling team. We went along, but after a couple of bowling club mtgs, he said he didn't want to be on the team, but just the club. Soon, he was making excuses to not go to the club mtgs.

I started telling him I wanted him on the swim team this school year during the summer, thinking he would warm to the idea. But I brought it up today after school and he said he would "hate me forever" if I made him. I didn't react to the comment and he said he was sorry a little later, but still said he did not want to be on the team.

He is an average to good swimmer who swims on our neighborhood swim team each summer. Do we make him? My husband is waffling. I feel it would be good for him physically, socially, and make him a more rounded student. HELP!

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Asked by MomCK at 7:51 PM on Aug. 29, 2011 in Teens (13-17)

Level 1 (2 Credits)
Answers (22)
  • You can't force someone to participate in a sport. If they did they would hate it and get nothing out of it. He'll find his niche another way.

    Answer by meooma at 7:53 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • Don't push him. The last thing that will get him to do any sort of sport or activity is nagging. He will find what he wants to do in his own time. Don't try to put him in a box, let him explore all of the clubs and sports. Have you considered music? I wouldn't have taken that comment so lightly though. My son would be outside doing some manuel labor for a comment like that.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:54 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • Why would you make him get involved in a sport. Not everyone is an athlete...not everyone is an artist, not everyone is a scientist. Exercise and good health are important, but forcing him to do something that he doesn't want to is only going to make him resent it, and you. He's at an age where he knows more about what he enjoys and what he doesn't enjoy. You might encourage him to get some kind of exercise every day, but I wouldn't force him to be involved in sports.

    Answer by ohwrite at 7:55 PM on Aug. 29, 2011


    Let HIM find something to be involved in. My children never played organized sports in HS. They instead were in the band, did German club, were extremely and are extremely involved in our church Youth Group, Youth Handbells, Youth Choir, etc.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 7:55 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • is he a runner? maybe cross country, track, soccer?

    Answer by DomoniqueWS at 7:56 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • You can't force him... if he's not into it then it won't be good for HIM or the team!! Does he have other interests? Support his choice, or it will only be a train wreck for both of you!! I work in Athletics in a High School... I've seen the mess that is created from kids being forced into sports b/c it's what their parents want... one word: Disaster!!


    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:57 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • I always made my kids do anything they committed to whether they like it or not, then they should not have made a commitment, always follow through with those....or else don't commit.


    Answer by older at 7:57 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • The kids who do HS sports are excellent athletes. You can't expect to be on a HS team if you haven't competed seriously before. I understand why he would feel inferior there. I agree he should join something. Are there intramural sports? Clubs?

    Answer by mompam at 8:05 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • Your exact reasoning is why I quit playing soccer when I was 17. My father kept pushing and pushing and pushing me to do more than I wanted to, so I quit altogether.

    To be forced to do more than you are willing to do, is one of the WORST feelings in the world. I STILL can't talk to my dad about those years, and I'm now 30. HIS opinion and memories are about as different from mine as night and day, and HIS is the only opinion and memories that matter.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 8:23 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

  • My boys know that they are expected to do some sort of physical activity. We don't care if it's football or ballet, but they need to do something. They get to choose what they will do, but they will be doing it. But we also started it young. At 4 they all started in soccer and the older two have moved on to football. We also encourage them to join clubs at school - choir, drama, whatever they want.

    Answer by canadianmom1974 at 8:34 PM on Aug. 29, 2011

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