Supporting Teens Extracurricular Activities

How do you get your kid to stop giving up on activities? Well, that's our question today on Tips
on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501c3 organization,
Child and Teen Counseling. If you or your family would like to talk to someone who specializes
in helping kids, teens, and families from a therapeutic standpoint, please feel free to reach
out to us for a free phone consultation. our contact info is in the caption below. Let's jump
into today's question on tips on teens. I have a problem. My son is 11 and he can never stay with
an activity. He was getting guitar lessons for a while, but he quit. He was in soccer when he was
eight. But before the season ended, he dropped out. He just kept carrying on about how he didn't
want to go and I gave up trying to push him. This summer, I got him to try swim team. What do I do if
he says he wants out? How can I keep him motivated to stay in? Thank you for your question. There's
a whole lot of questions I

have about this. One is, you know, why is he dropping out of these things? What is it? Are these
things not his interest? But do your interest? Is he trying these things to please you, but he
doesn't really want to do them? Or does he really want to do these things, but he loses interests?
Right? You know, are he what are his interests? Are his interests here? Let me back up for a There's
a big reason why kids struggle to stay with organized activities. It's not the only reason,
but it's a very common reason that I see in my practice. And it is this, screens, video games,
videos, social media. Nothing is as fun as a video game. Nothing is as safe and easy as watching
videos. Nothing gives you the illusion of connection like social media. So if your kid has full
access to these things, you know, they're not going to want to do other things because they feel
like they're getting all their needs met. They're not. They don't really understand how it's
making them feel worse. But again, your

son's 11, so he's not going to have the awareness to do that. Here's the thing. It's a famous phrase
around for a long time, but here it is. Boredom is the seed of all creativity. And if your kid is
never really bored because he always has a device, he's never going to do anything else. Going
to soccer practice or swim team practice is not as fun as doing minecraft or watching videos
So you may need to find a way to limit his screen use Or use that screen use as a motivator to do swim
team other Possibilities again, we can't go through every possibility, but these are some
common ones Is he struggling to connect with peers does he always feel like he's an outsider
every time and why is that happening? Um, could be a lot of different reasons why, you know, is
he struggle with, you know, not being the best? Uh, does he struggle with tolerating alerting
curve? Does he struggle with losing, you know, is he dealing with possibly some neurodivergence
that makes him feel kind of distant and separate

from everyone else? Is he kind of, you know, so that's those, these are some of the things you
really want to explore and connect with him, you know, find out with him, what are his interests?
What does he want to do? Let's say it's screen related. And I know it's not the ideal thing because
you want him going out moving his body because we all need more exercise, right? but if let's
say it's screen use of a screenwriter, let's say it's like coding or Digital design or something
like that. How do we find classes or group activities that help him develop that again? Don't
let perfection become the enemy of good you much for swim team But if he's going towards the robotics
team, it's not physical activity but it's connection with other kids, and they're working
as a team. You know, that may be the way to go. Really stay connected to your son. Really get in
tune with what are his interests and keep focusing on those. Making sure that you have a relation
with him. Also, if he is doing activities,

here's one other thing, don't coach him. Now, if you're the assistant coach on the team, okay,
but once practice is over and you get in the car, stop coaching, stop commenting on what he can
do to improve. Just let him know that you enjoy, that he's playing, you enjoy that he's doing
it, it's fun to watch, and you love him. Doesn't matter if his swim stroke is wrong or off balance,
let the coaches do the coaching, you just do the supporting. Because so many kids, they get coached
by their parents because their parents really want them to do well, and the kids just get demoralized,
and they say, well, no matter what I can do, it's not good enough, I just want to stop. So, I don't
know if any of these options apply to your family, the parents who wrote me. If not, give me a call,
I'd love to talk to you more about this in detail. Again, this could go in a thousand different
directions. I'm just tipping the tip of the ice, scratching the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.
So if you have more

questions about this, or you have a question for Tips on Teens you'd like me to answer, email
us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com. We do tips on teens every Wednesday at noon. Love
to have your questions. If you'd like to talk to me more, I'm happy to have a conversation with
you on the phone. Give us a call or email us. Again, the contact information is down below. My
name is Kent Toussaint. Again, I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist, specializing
in kids, teens, and families with Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit Child and Teen Counseling.
And we'll see you guys next time. Thanks a lot. Bye -bye.


It’s common for parents to feel frustrated when their child gives up on activities like sports or playing a musical instrument. We all want our kids to find something they love and excel at, and when they quit, it can raise concerns about their future and our parenting abilities. If your child or teen frequently abandons activities, here are some questions to consider:

  1. Is Your Child Spending Too Much Time on Screens?
    There’s an old saying, “boredom is the seed of all creativity.” If your child has unlimited access to screens, they might lack the incentive to explore other interests. Consider setting limits on screen time to encourage growth in other areas.
  2. Does Your Child Struggle to Connect with Peers?
    Socializing can be intimidating for adolescents. Help your child find an activity they genuinely enjoy, even if it’s not your top choice. This can ease their social anxieties. Therapy or group therapy might also be beneficial.
  3. Is Your Child Frustrated by the Learning Curve?
    Some children struggle with losing or not being the best at something. Therapy can help them develop resilience. It’s also worth exploring whether neurodivergence might be a factor and how to support their unique needs.
  4. Are You “Coaching” Your Child?
    Leave the coaching to the professionals. Your role should be to express how much you enjoyed watching their performance without critiquing. They don’t need to be the best; they just need to enjoy what they’re doing.
  5. How Connected Are You with Your Child?
    Are you spending quality time with your child doing things they enjoy? Do you have a strong emotional connection? Can they come to you with their feelings? Maintaining a strong connection can help your child thrive in all areas.

These are just a few points to consider when it comes to supporting teens extracurricular activities. If you’re facing this issue and need more guidance, we’re here to help. Contact us for a free phone consultation at

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: 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 –

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