Extracurricular Activities and Your Kid

It. Should you make your kid do extracurricular activities like sports? Well, that's what
we're talking about today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage
and family therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives.
I lead two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501 c three organization, child
and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump
onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. Last year, my
twelve year old daughter was on track. I'm sorry. Last year my twelve year old daughter was on
a track team, and it seemed like she really enjoyed it. I was really happy that she found something
to do that she liked. This year she's saying she doesn't want to do it. I really want her to have
something extracurricular going on, preferably involving exercise. Is it a good idea to force
your kid to play sports to keep them occupied? Thank you

for your question. I think that it is important for kids to do extracurricular activities,
something that's just outside of school, something where they're not just stuck there scrolling
or blasting aliens or whatever it is on video games. It's really important to have an organized
social setting for kids because they develop so much, they learn social skills through that
connection. But now if your daughter doesn't want to run track, the first things I'd want to
explore with her is, well, what's the reason behind that? Did her best friend on the team? Is
she no longer continuing so now she feels alone or does she feel like she's an outsider? There's
an inner click and she's afraid she's not going to be accepted. Is she not like the coaches? Or
is it just anxiety of starting something new again? It's been seven months and I'm afraid to
do it again. And I would really want to explore that with her because maybe it's kind of thing
that as you explore it, you find out she's just afraid of

starting something new and she'd much rather just sit and scroll. And maybe that's something
that we want to address and help her recognize that there is a positive here because she liked
it last year. Another thing is, let's say she just doesn't like track for whatever reason. I'd
say, fine, you don't have to do track. But it is important to do something, and there's a wide
variety of choices. There's robotics, there's choir, there's theater, there's scouts, there's
volunteerism. The list goes on and on and on. And so finding something that she could enjoy,
that she might enjoy is important. Now, if that activity doesn't involve exercise, how do you
guys incorporate exercise in your daily life? Do you guys go bike riding together a few times
a week? Do you guys take the dog for a walk? Do you guys go hiking? I mean, again, there's thousands
of different things to choose from, but finding something that she could enjoy and maybe you
can enjoy with her. Because, again, finding ways to connect

is always a good idea, as from parents to kids, and let her have some voice. Now, problem you may
run into is you try to ask these questions and all you hear is, and that's the challenge. But keep
offering. This is not a 115 minutes conversation. This could be several conversations over
several weeks. So the more you understand what her priorities are, the more you can help guide
her towards things that give her a sense of agency and empowerment. So should you force no. But
should you guide towards something that is going to be appealing to her and empowering for her?
Yes, you should. Again, it's a very complicated, nuanced conversation. Every family is going
to approach this a little differently because every family is going to have different needs.
So really make sure you're in tune with your kids needs and follow there. If you feel this is a
really big problem, this is the tip of an iceberg, of something much deeper. You have therapists
you can talk to, maybe your rabbi or your priest

or minister or whatever that is. They may be able to have some guidance, maybe an uncle or an aunt.
Make sure that there's a team approach to supporting your daughter. Anyways, that is our Tips
for Teens for today. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and Child and Teen Counseling.
If you would like me to answer your questions on Tips on Teens, email us at tips on teens@teentherapycenter.com.
Or you can direct message us here right on Facebook. We love your questions. Again. I represent
Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit challenging counseling. Also, if you would like our
questions to get in your feet a little more, you can join our Facebook group, which is called
Tips on Teams. So feel free to join us. We'd love to have you there. I'll see you next Wednesday.
Bye. Bye, guys.


Most parents want their kids to get involved in extracurricular activities. Sports, art classes, volunteering and a whole range of other kinds of pursuits are important in the development of kids. But why? Engaging in extracurricular activities gives kids an organized social setting where they can develop their social skills.

Your kid might not want to do the extracurricular activities you want them to do. If that’s the case, the first step is to find out why. There may be an important reason ranging from social or performance anxiety to social issues, incompatibility with coaches, etc.


So what’s the answer to “should you make your kid do extracurricular activities?” The answer is this? you should tell them “fine, you don’t have to do (fill in the blank) but you do have to do something.” Finding something that he/she can enjoy is important and guess what? That activity might even be something he or she can do with you!

There’s more to say, and we get into it in this Tips on Teens:

“Last year my 12 year old daughter was on a track team and it seemed like she really enjoyed it. I was really happy that she found something to do that she liked. This year she’s saying she doesn’t want to do it. I really want her to have something extracurricular going on, preferably involving exercise. Is it a good idea to ‘force’ your kid to play sports to keep them occupied?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.