15 answers

7 Year Old Son Has No Interest in Sports

We have put our son in many sports and he's always has just been the kid that doesn't care and would rather be playing on the swing sets or riding his bike. This year baseball was 90 dollars for him to join and he needs new equipment. He's shown no interest and has asked me to get my money back and have him not play. I want him to be active and play and want him to stop being the shy kid or the odd kid in the group. What should I do?

What can I do next?

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Find out what DOES interest him, and help him develop those interests. He is certainly not the only boy who does not enjoy organized sports, he won't feel odd unless he is made to feel odd. Does he like individual sports. Karate? Gymnastics? Swim? If he likes to ride his bike, then let him. Enjoy him the way he is. Maybe he is artistic? Musical? Teach him to enjoy the talents he does have.

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Find out what he does like. My youngest (now 20) didn't like sports either. On his own, he's always pursued music (trumpet, bass guitar, rhythym guitar, violin, piano, keyboards) and is working hard on his 2nd CD with his band(fortunately, it's great music!) He sings, he acted in school plays, he was in choir for 5 years, is self-supporting, working his way through college, has a HUGE circle of friends, and is very well-adjusted. We let him do sports when HE wanted to, although we always encouraged it. He did tae-kwon-do for about a year, and did a season of baseball in high school. And that was IT. Two of his older brothers were jocks, two were into some serious and competitive roller-blading. Each child is different. My stepson didn't like sports either. In fact, he didn't like anything but computer games, but upon graduation, he went into the Navy, got trained as a medic, and now has a pretty good job at a clinic. So, quit worrying about the sports. As long as he's active and healthy, thank God for your blessings. Sports are an enrichment if you want them, and a drudge if you don't. By the way, I never knew how many wonderful experiences I would have by having a child that WASN'T interested in sports. I attended plays and concerts that were fabulous. Let your son find what makes him joyous and enjoy the journey with him.

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I strongly, strongly, strongly encourage you to read the book "Emotional Intelligence" (you can find used copies on amazon.com). It will help you understand your child's temperment and personality better. And will hopefully give you other ways of encouraging your child to develop and flourish rather than trying to make him be something he's not. You are obviously a caring and attentive mother or you wouldn't be worried about his social development but it sounds as though you're trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. The square peg knows he's not living up to your expectations - and most kids hate to disappoint their parents. Your child sounds like a unique individual - he probably won't ever be the "popular" kid but as long as he happy, healthy, does well in school, and has one or two close friends he'll shine and will grow into a self-sufficient (rather than a self-absorbed) young man.

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You know, J., riding bikes is a sport--at least the last time I checked. Playing on swings might lead to a love of circus arts--like tumbling, gymnastics, and putting on a show. Or it all might just be how HE (not you) likes to be in his body. So what?

I understand it can be very painful as a mother to see your child have trouble fitting in with other kids--ESPECIALLY if you yourself can relate with personal experience of your own from childhood. But there is absolutely nothing positive that can come out of trying to make him do something he doesn't want to do.

I would suggest some serious soul searching about why exactly this is so important to you. Be sure you don't try to justify with concern about him, but really look at your own feelings--did you wish YOU could be more involved in sports as a child? Did you play sports and love them? Did you feel like the "odd kid" yourself and do you now feel that pain coming up again? Or are you just, like so many parents, trying to keep up with all the so-called "expectations" that we all seem to run in our society about what is "good parenting"? Or is this something even deeper...possibly a sneaking suspicion that a boy who isn't into sports might be, gasp, gay? (don't worry about that one, he's only 7, and there are plenty of people I know who are heterosexual but don't play or want to play team sports, because they HATE the competitiveness.)

I know I'm pushing your buttons a little bit, but if somebody doesn't I'm afraid you'll end up with a young man who completely disrespects you and dislikes you for pushing him.

Let him lead the way. Maybe he will be more interested, like I always was, in physical activities that don't involve winning, losing, and rabid parents standing on the sidelines yelling. Biking, skiing, skating, hiking, there are so many things one can do that have no "losing" potential--just getting better and better.

Fiora

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I think you should let him find his own way. My husband was like that, very shy, and to this day he says the worst thing is when he was pushed to do something he didn't want to do. He may grow out of it or he may find something besides sports that interests him. We all want our children to fit in but trying to push them to be someone they are not just sends a message that we do not like who they are, which can be really dangerous. Just go with his flow and encourage him in areas he loves, like tlaking to other kids by the swings etc. Who knows maybe he will never play a sport in his life but maybe he will cure cancer instead, just let him be himself.

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I have a teenager who was like this as a younger boy. He still is not interested in playing sports. The one thing I found that he was interested in when he was 6-10 yrs old is Tae Kwon Do. The other thing he found recently is tennis. He has also showed some interest in golf. I think he's interested in these because these sports don't require him to play with a team. He has never been a very social person, so this makes sense. Although he's not particularly social, he's able to socialize appropriate. I still have to encourage him to call his friends to hang out or other things.

I also currently have a 6 year old and he plays every sport he possibly can. He's exhibited this since he was very little. He's very different from his older brother. Go figure! Just accept them as they are...introduce new things and encourage what you see in him.

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Wow! That is so unfair. Your son was born with a personality which lends itself to interests that may be different than your. You want him to change to be what you want him to be without regard to what he wants to be. That treatment is damaging to his self-esteem and ability to make choices that are in his best interest. If you continue to insist that he doe sports when he's not interested in sports. If he does what you say you will be raising an unhappy child who will have difficulty making his own choices even after becoming an adult.

Also, perhaps if you didn't push him, he might decide that he'd like to do some of it.

Honor his feelings. Allow him to participate in the sort of play in which he's interested. There is more to life than sports. Find out what he is interested in and spend your time and money on that.

You pushing him will not change him from a shy guy or the odd kid. If anything he will become more shy and not fit in because you are telling him he is shy and won't be accepted because he's not interested in sports. What a load to put on a 9 yo!

He can excell at many things. That will increase his confidence and make it easier for him to be less shy. Sure, he might not fit in with the sports kids but he'll fit in with whatever group that has similar interests to him. Because he is shy you may need to help him find his interests and provide experiences that will help him find a group which matches his interest.

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You should honor his request. My son was the same way. He just wasn't 'into' team sports. Some kids aren't. As long as he's riding his bike and active in other ways that gives him the exercise he needs, why put yourself through the expense and time committment, and him through the agony of doing something he doesn't like? He may develop an interest later, or not. My son really enjoys Cub Scouts. It's a wonderful place for him to interact with other kids, learn great skills, involve the family in outdoor activities, and strengthens family bonds and values. At age 7 he's at the perfect age to join. Check out your school to see if they have a contact person for a Pack near you. You won't regret it.

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I think you need to let him call the shots on this one....if he has already given it a try and is dreading the baseball season already then maybe its not a good idea. Sports are suppose to be fun! If he is naturally shy, no matter how much you'd like him not to be, I don't think its really something you can change. Helping him make friends with children that are like him would probably be a more effective way to help him socialize.
GOOD LUCK!

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