Is this a bad way to raise children?

To enroll them in tons of activities when they are really young? My fiancé and I were talking and we had mentioned how when we have kids we want to enroll them in as many sports and fine art related things as possible. Is this bad? Our friends said that they believe it would put too much stress on them. Are we going to be overbearing parents?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Tons? You're in a dynamic relationship with your children. On one hand, they need to be taught boundaries, and exposed to things outside of their ordinary fields of vision. This will make them more rounded. On the other, you're just conditioning them, making them more like yourself and society (which let's face it, is imperfect), and stealing their childhood. I suspect it's about balance, ultimately. They have their own free will and input, if they *really* don't want to do something, you shouldn't make them. So, simply, listen to them, ultimately, find out where their interests lie, and cultivate them. But then, it's no bad thing to steer them, provided you do it with humility, given their field of experience is limited.

    Personally, if I ever had children, I'd make them do one sporting activity, maybe something more outgoing and aggressive (such as a martial art) if they have an issue with discipline or physical expression. And something more creative, lofty and artistic, (such as playing the piano, for me), to cultivate that aspect of themselves.

    Exposure and synthesis is probably better at their age. Let's say they do martial arts for 4 years, pass most of the belts, get quite good at it, but have no real interest in it, and do it without conviction; then maybe it's time to expose them to something else completely different. They can focus and drill down when they sufficiently know themselves well enough to do such a thing. And let's face it, the real issue we're faced with as individuals, is learning to be ourselves, and free ourselves from the bonds to the things we have no real passion for, as given to us by everyone else as we were growing up. To be free, independent people, to be ourselves. This is the ultimate, the way to true happiness, in my view.

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    • We figured soccer and football, an instrument, a second language, and dance would make them well-rounded. We figured if we start them at about 2-3 it will give them a head start on some of the other kids. If they truly hate it than of course I would let them out but I just want them to be able to have all the resources they can to follow what they want to.

    • Five things? Head start on the other kids for what purpose?

Most Helpful Girl

  • I think there should be balance. Sports and Art Classes do not necessarily benefit their future career and art might actually detract from their ability to tolerate the monotony of life. Maybe enroll them in karate class or get them to go on volunteer missions to other countries to teach them humility and frugality.

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    • I believe that children should be creative. My fiancé and I are very artsy and it gives a person a new perspective of the world. It makes them unique.

What Guys Said 10

  • Yes, personally I don't like this way of raising children at all and I believe that you're actually stealing your children's childhood if you do this. Think about it: there's NO other time in life like childhood. It's the ONLY time you can just be lazy, have fun, play, run around... live like a cat basically. There's enough seriousness, duties and discipline that you have to meet and live up to for the later 70 years of your life... why can't children just be children anymore?
    Also, I find it very dangerous to enroll your kids into stuff they might not even want to do. For example: have you ever REALLY asked your children if they actually want to play football? Maybe they're not interested in it! It that case it would be extremely pressuring to them, not just because they're obligated to hurry from one activity to the next but also because it's a bit like army service... they would have to do activities that they don't even enjoy, thinking all the time "arrrgh... I just wanna go home and go to bed". A lot of children in North America or east Asia (I feel like parents in these two regions of the world are particularly overbearing) really feel that way. It makes me sad that it is like that. I can promise you that if your children WANT to do something, they will tell you. I WANTED to learn how to play the guitar when I was 6, so I went to my parents and told them. I loved learning how to play the guitar because nobody had forced me to do it and I knew I could quit it any time I want if it stops being fun. Being forced to do something usually tends to have more of an opposite effect. Had my parents forced me to learn how to play the guitar, I would have probably hated both my parents and guitars. This becomes even more apparent with learning a language. If you're not interested in learning it, you won't learn it. In the German part of Switzerland where I come from, it's mandatory to learn French in school, starting from 4th grade elementary. I remember I absolutely didn't care for it and so I also didn't learn anything despite having it French classes every week. It was only much later in high school when I actually genuinely became interested that I made a lot of progress.

    My parents always gave my siblings and me a lot of freedom and I'm very, very thankful for that. I believe it has made me a happier, more creative and more free-thinking person. There's quite a lot of nature around where I live and I remember I would just run around in the nearby forest

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    • with my friends or take my little sister on a "journey" as we called it, 1 kilometer down the river where we sat at the river banks and had a picnic and things like that. Also, in Switzerland parents don't drive their children to school as it is often the case in countries outside of Europe. My elementary school was quite close (20 minutes by foot) and so I would always walk their with my best friend and on the way we would talk a lot and play and sometimes forget about time a bit... . We even walked to Kindergarten without any adult accompanying us. It was a very, very happy time in my life and I'm sad so many children can't have it like I did because there are so many overbearing helicopter parents who on the one hand treat their kids like adults who have all kinds of obligations to fulfill but on the other hand they baby them and are so scared and worried about them that the kids can't even make the experience of playing outside or walking to school on their own.

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    • I also think this "my child has to have a head start in life"-attitude is really crazy. It's like a cold war situation where other people force their children to play soccer, so you force your child to play soccer and baseball, so they force their child to do soccer, baseball and violin, so you force your child to do soccer, baseball, violin and Chinese... why can't children just decide from themselves what they want? They're not as stupid as overbearing parents sometimes think they are. I find the whole thing very ironic because overbearing parents CLAIM that they're doing all this because they love their children but in reality, they don't give a crap about their kids because they're basically just projecting THEIR wishes and desires on their kids and they don't care what their children want.

    • Sorry, obviously I meant "Being lazy has NOTHING to do with being stupid"

  • Its not an good idea. Although it would expose them to a lot of things, it may overexpose them and stress them out. I'm not a fan of the shotgun approach because you're throwing so much at a kid who doesn't know how to manage time and cope with stress. Exposure doesn't necessarily mean more well-rounded either. Learning from experiences makes someone more well-rounded and I don't believe a kid can really take away much from that level of exposure to different activities.

    Don't be one of those parents who live vicariously through their kid and enroll them in all the things you wanted to do or did. You have to listen to your kid and find out what interests them. Let them dictate what they want to do and encourage them to do it.

    That being said you have to start somewhere. Enrol them in a sport and/or instrument and see if they take to it. If they don't like it, find out why and ask them if there's something else they'd like instead.

    Also, if you have a boy, don't enrol him in traditionally feminine things. All you'll be exposing him to is ridicule when other guys find out.

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  • Yes, it is a bad way indeed no doubt about that and as you said it yourself it will increase the stress levels of children when they are young and that's a very bad thing.

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  • Yes, you would be putting too much stress on them. They'll need to have time to do school work, but also to play with their friends, to have time to themselves, and to do the things that THEY want to do.

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    • I mean starting them at about 2-3. They won't be in school at that time.

    • That's still going to be too much for them to be involved in. They'll be more interested in doing something if they want to do it.

  • I say go for it, but be open to how they feel about it. If they aren't really the athletic type maybe a sport isn't the best option. Maybe they won't like dance. Some language courses are great, but you never really know how your child will respond. I think these are all good things, but your child's happiness should come first.

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    • But their success is also important and if it will make them successful we may have to keep them in it even if they don't like it.

    • I suppose. It's rough because you can't make them miserable but you can't sacrifice their potential.

  • It would be too much stress on them Look at all these shows about pageant kids The parents literally push them into competing in pageants that they do not really want to do one reason could be because the parent did it as a child and feels the child needs to do the same. Another reason is the parent never did it, yet wants the child to in order for the parent to earn social acceptance. I have seen it work both ways and both can be very dangerous.

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    • That is not what I am saying. I will enroll them in a lot but if they don't like it then they don't have to. I want to them try everything so they can find their passion before they are influenced by social norms and other kids. A boy toddler doesn't see the problem with being a boy in ballet. If I have a son that wants to do ballet I want him to do it before it is put into his mind that it is a feminine thing.

    • Let them decide what they want to enroll in, don't just enroll them. Ask your kids what they would like to do and let them pick

  • That's actually the better alternative, at least they'll learn things and be exposed to many experiences.

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    • But if they really hate something, you shouldn't force it.

      For example, I can see why one would not be interested in soccer.

  • I have been a teacher of music for a while.

    Based upon my experience... it is too much stress for the children. I have had kids break down crying in my lessons because they don't want to go to soccer that afternoon.

    It's one thing to make sure a kid is well-rounded. But spreading them too thin is a recipe for burnout and unhappiness. And frankly, it is better to be a *master* of something, rather than mediocre at a whole bunch of things, which is what such business achieves. And kids need time to simply goof off, unstructured--there HAS to be a pressure release.

    Pick one sport, and pick one fine art. That's my suggestion.

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    • I want them to try everything so they can see what they want to do. If they want to quit everything else after they find they are passionate about music then I feel like I accomplished something. I want them to find something they live and they will find that out by trying everything. If they hate soccer then they can quit if they have at least tried it.

    • *love

  • No, its healthy. They need to find out what they like.

    You should enroll them in everything and force them to TRY it, but if they want to quit after a solid try you need to be supportive of that.

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    • That I will struggle with. My mom let me quit everything she put me through and I wish she hadn't.

  • How many attivites

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    • Dance, one language, and at least soccer and football.

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    • *combo

    • Less bullying

What Girls Said 2

  • I dont think they should be clouded with activities.

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  • You can let them try everything. Just don't force them to keep doing something the dislike.

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