16 answers

Son Not Interested in Doing Anything

My 9 yo son is not interested in doing any extracurricular activities anymore. He did Karate and piano regularly for awhile, but with complaints. I have asked him to pick the activites but he says he doesn't want to do any. He spends most of his extra time playing video games or watching tv and when it is not too hot he does spend time outside skatebaording and scootering. I don't know if I should force him to do some activity or just let him quit. I want him to have hobbies and interests because I didn't growing up and still don't. Any ideas would be helpful, Thanks.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you for all the great ideas. My husband and I have instituted a new rule of 1 hr of "screen" time on school days. Our son wasn't happy but is spending more time with the family and has been reading to his little sister. He is also working on drawing, which is something he has not done for awhile. We have not discussed any sports or music lessons but we are confident it will work out.

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Make a deal with him to try any sport or activity ya'll can think of at leat once-meaning an entire season to really give it a try. He will probably find at least one he actually enjoys doing and will look forward to each year. A lot of times, making friends in these and having a team leads them to like it. My son plays football, backetball and runs track and he's 7. Football is his least favorite, but only because he hates to practice, but loves to play the game.

IMO, he may just need a break from doing other things. He seems like he is active boy already. He may want to do something different afterawhile.

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I just read a remarkable book by Dr. Sax called "Boys Adrift." My 14 year old is not unlike your 9 year old. The book has ideas and lots of research as to why so many boys are this way. I found it to be very helpful.

What about volunteering at a hospital, children's shelter, or any community oriented facility? This could prove rewarding for the entire family and his self-esteem. Further, usually kids who like computer games like art and could benefit from a local art class with kids his own age. Boy scouts? Gym membership? Any sporting activities like soccer or basketball? Try paying him to do odd jobs around the house, like yard work or organizing the garage, washing the car? Sometimes it just takes trying everything before something "fits". Any music lessons? Guitar? Drums? There are many used sporting goods and music instrument stores to get him experimenting with different interests.

IMO, he may just need a break from doing other things. He seems like he is active boy already. He may want to do something different afterawhile.

Make a deal with him to try any sport or activity ya'll can think of at leat once-meaning an entire season to really give it a try. He will probably find at least one he actually enjoys doing and will look forward to each year. A lot of times, making friends in these and having a team leads them to like it. My son plays football, backetball and runs track and he's 7. Football is his least favorite, but only because he hates to practice, but loves to play the game.

Kids should be allowed to voice their own desires and opinions... up to a point. Childhood diabetes, obesity and lathargic brain function are soaring because we're allowing our children to choose their own levels of activity. By nature, we're lazy beings. Given a choice between running a mile and watching Cartoon Network, we'll pick the path of least resistance every time. In our house (my daughters are 12 and 14) we have limited computer and TV time. Claims of "I'm bored" get the old fashioned treatment of picking up a rake, broom, or other tool for working off your boredom. We discovered that part of the problem with our energy levels was our carb loaded diet. We replaced all our sugary snacks with healthy alternatives and cut back to one soda per day... amazingly (but not surprisingly) we all felt a boost in our energy levels and that helped battle the couch potato doldrums. Since the weather is cooling off and it's more enjoyable to be outside, might I suggest grabbing a couple books, a bottle of water and start exploring all the wonderful public parks your area offers. When we just can't stand to be couped up in the house any longer, we pick a park and go. Sometimes we just sit in the shade and read, but most of the time, the swings/slides/sights prove too much of a temptation and we're off playing before we know it. Good luck!

Hi K..
New Braunfels has an Awesome Parks and Recreational Program. I suggest you find the closest one to you and register him. Parks and Rec offers many activities and sports. He can try them all and decide which one fits him. New Braunfels even has a program for skateboarders; classes and open skate. Many parents don't view skateboarding as a sport but with a little online research, you will find that it is a huge and possibly lucrative sport. I know we, parents, lean toward conventional sports and activities but if your son is good at skateboarding and that is where his heart is, I say, go for it! I would, however, monitor and supervise all visits to the skate parks. There is an indoor skate center on the NW side of San Antonio and an outdoor one at Lady Bird Johnson Park on the NE side of SA. New Braunfels skate park is also outdoors and most parks will be "skate at your own risk".
Have fun!
D.

I would try to limit his t.v. and videogame time. I wouldn't make a radical change at first, just deduct about an hour or so, but be prepared to have activities for him to do and it would probably be best if you could do something with him. Go out and kick a soccer ball, parks, etc. And hubby needs to be involved also if not more perhaps, this is a critical father son bonding time in his life.
Best of luck to you all & God bless.

My suggestion would be to stop allowing him to play video games...what kid wouldn't want to stay inside sitting on their bottom all day playing video games? He needs to have the option of either playing outside of reading a book, and that's it. Eventually he will realize he enjoys his extra curricular activities and want to start up again. Don't force him into the extra things just tell him it's either one or the other. If you force a kid to do piano or karate, they're not going to want to. Good luck with all of this!
-R.

My oldest son never showed interest in anything extra either. As he matured he found he really likes to read and make computer programs. As beneficial as extracurricular activties are, I don't think they are necessarily a must at 9 years old. Most kids are so overscheduled now and for a kid to have time to just hang out and be a kid is nice. I wouldn't worry unless he starts getting into trouble or his grades start suffering. In time he will find an interest.

Pushing kids to do extracurricular activities often makes them hate those activities.

If he loves skateboarding and scootering, encourage him in those, but don't force him. They are great excercise, valid hobbies, and skateboarding has actually become a recognized sport.

Limit his TV, computer, and video game time. Then he'll be forced to do something good for him, like reading or going out to play.

When he decides to go for a sport, or gets into skateboard competitions, or whatever, make the rule be that if he gets in too much trouble, you'll take him out of the sport. This makes the sport a reward, and he'll fight for it. It also improves behavior around the house. :)

Trust me, my son used to do nothing but play video games. Now, he's in basketball, football, track, student council, and physics club. I always threaten to take him out of stuff if he misbehaves (though really, I LOVE that he's doing all this!)and he will do almost anything to avoid giving up his "play time".

I would tell him that he can only have a certain amount of time watching TV and playing video games. Cutting back on his "lazy" activities may help get him up and out doing other things. Have him pick one school activity a semester or whatever he's interested in. Tell him it's non-negotiable and if he doesn't pick one, you'll pick it for him. If he still refuses to get involved in anything, get him involved in helping you around the house and outside. Don't let him off. He can do something of his choosing and have some fun, or can do what you select and not enjoy it. You could also suggest to your husband that he might bring up the subject. Maybe he'll get better results being a man. There could be issues that you're not aware of that keep him from wanting to be involved in activities.

I see that this question is a year old but I was curious as to what difference that year has made. My son was also very reluctant to involve himself into anything at that age. He did discover music and it made a HUGE difference in his life. But he is still a MAJOR "gamer" at the age of 20. What kind of video games does he enjoy? Maybe you could find an interest that is similar. I know that alot of boys that age are into the "war" games but maybe he could join a skeet or target shooting club or archery. Or even the Jr. ROTC programs.

I also have a 9y/o and he is not into sports. That being said I have no problem with it b/c I know he is getting excercise. I won't push him. I have a black belt and I guess I know what goes with the belt being an adult so it's hard work and so is piano. I have dealt with poeple saying that he should be into sports or another hobbies but I feel like he has choices. I guess I from the different spectrum b/c I was not per say had to be in sports but I was forced into sports. I played basketball, karate, and had to be in choir. It was hard living up to my parents standards. Like I said I won't push. What grade is he in 3rd or 4th? Both grades are hard so maybe he knows what he is doing- unconsciously.
Good Luck
~L.

hey K., my nine year oldis exactly the same way excpt i cant even get him to go outside. his world revolves around pokeman. i have been told by the doctor (for other reasons) to have him in sports. so yes i do make my son play in extracurricular activities. i also take him to the gym with me . he doesnt lke it but he does it, but i know of nothing else to do. good luck!
L.

Is it possible he's having problems with other kids. I hesitate to suggest it, because all my kids are in keyboarding, maybe he's being made fun of.

The only thing that bothers me about the skateboarding is the underculture - is he in the group who wants to be professional (in which case broken bones are the worst in your future), or the one that looks to experiment with alcohol and drugs within the next 5 years. Given his lack of involvement in a physical activity like karate, I'd worry about the second.

I make my daughter earn TV time with math (her weakness)... maybe talk to your husband about some kind of incentive to keep him involved in SOMETHING. And make very very sure you know who his friends are and where he's at. As a teacher, I've seen too many kids drop into the skateboarding scene without parents realizing what's going on until they're arrested.

S.

You could look into Boy Scouts??? Or something at school.. It's possible that he just wants some "down time"..

I understand about the heat factor... how about playing a board game with him and your other child daily???

Just my 2 cents!

J.

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