This week I want to talk about extra curricular activities; what happens when we don’t want our child to participate in an activity. When this happens we can get a lot of conflict and a lot of emotions can come up as to why we don’t want them to participate in the activity – whatever it is. Before we stop it completely I want you to sit down and think about why it is you don’t want them to participate What is the actual reason behind it?
Don’t say not just for the sake of saying no. Is it that there is a lot of time involved in this activity? Is it the cost? Some of these activities are enormously expensive and you might not have the funds to afford for your children to participate every week which is completely understandable.
You don’t want to say no just for the sake of it – that is to your detriment but more so to theirs. If they want to participate in an activity and you are saying no because you think it is coming from the other parent then this will only impact on them.
You have an activity that you want your children to participate in or maybe the other parent has an activity that they want your children to participate in – firstly you need to sit down and have a discussion. You need to talk about what it is you want them to do and why it is you want them to do it. Maybe they really want to do it and you are expressing this on their behalf. Then again, may this is your dream, a dream that your children would play a particular sport, play an instrument, take acting lessons, singing lessons so that they can be the next superstar. If your children don’t want to do it though then you need to take a step back and think about whether this is your dream or their dream. If it is something that they want to have a go at, lets talk about the practicalities. Is it cost – can the other parent contribute to the cost of the activity? You may feel threatened or intimidated by the thought that the other parent is paying for this but I encourage you not too. If this is something that your children genuinely want to do and the other parent is willing to pay for this then why not look at it from the perspective that this is something that your children want then why not let them enjoy it? Maybe you can work out that instead of them paying all of their child support this may be considered to be part of the child support (Make sure you speak to your lawyer and the Child Support Agency before proceeding down this path).
If it is time, sometimes there can be a lot of training, practice lessons involved in these extra curricular activities. Maybe you can organize a schedule as to who is responsible for the training, games, practices lessons – who is to facilitate the events during the week and who will look after it on the weekends? Who will be responsible for paying for uniforms, events, sports equipment, instruments.
If you need help to discuss these issues, engage a mediator. Someone who can help you have a constructive and helpful discussions to help you reach a resolution in the end; and do it in such a way that you will be able to move on from this issue to continue to co-parent in the future.
We have a number of mediators who will be the right fit for both of you. Remember that extracurricular activities aren’t the be all and the end all. If your children want to participate encourage it, but if events get in the way by no means feel as if you are doing your children a disservice.