General Question

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Do you think teens who are overscheduled enjoy being overscheduled?

Asked by dammitjanetfromvegas (4596points) May 16th, 2016

I’ll use Tina as an example. She’s a twelve year old classmate of my daughter’s.

Sept.- December is school basketball with practice every night there isn’t a game.

January-March is traveling basketball and volleyball. Practice or games are Monday through Saturday.

March-May is track.

April-June is softball. Her team is in two leagues. They have 44 games scheduled.

June-August has volleyball camp, summer basketball and various summer art classes at the local university.

Now Tina is campaigning for Student Council. Student Council is all school year and they are required to work concessions during home basketball and volleyball games. Tina plays both sports so I don’t know how she can be a productive council member.

She’s also in band and chorus.

My question- Do you think Tina wants to do all of these activities or do you think she is pressured by family?

Do you know anyone who likes to be overscheduled like this?

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25 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

Why not just ask “Tina”? That’s the only way to know, aside from massively obvious signs of stress.

ragingloli's avatar

I know that I would have hated it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t know. Some people do thrive on insanity like that. Does she like it>
I’m pretty sure they’d give her a pass on the concession stand deal, for obvious reasons.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@XOIIO. Well, duh. I was hoping to hear if others know someone like this and what their thoughts are.

canidmajor's avatar

It kind of makes me wonder if it’s less about enjoyment and more about either, as you suggested, pleasing the parents, or perhaps not being home for whatever reason. The kids I knew who did that never gave the impression of being happy with their lives, they were just frenetic.

Seek's avatar

I think I would have disliked it, but I never had the opportunity to find out. I did a couple of school plays and took an acting class once, but that’s it.

My husband’s niece and nephew are/were similarly overwhelmed with extracurriculars. My sister in law lives vicariously through her children, whether they like it or not.

The niece hated every second of it, and ceased all extracurriculars as soon as she escaped high school. The nephew thrives on attention, so there’s no telling how much he actually likes it and how much is relief that he’s the center of attention.

DoNotKnowMuch's avatar

This is the norm where I live. Much of it is driven by cultural expectations and appears to be largely motivated by parental competition. Most of my 13-year-old daughter’s group of friends are very overscheduled. In fact, many of them swim or train for sports every single day. One of them is moving to California next month to start training for the olympics (synchro swimming).

When I ask my daughter if her friends enjoy their overscheduled lives, she says that there is really no way to know. Their lives are, like most kids, out of their control to a large degree. And with these kids, decision-making is not really an option they can afford. They just seem to make the best out of whatever it is they are doing.

They hardly complain that they’re not really around to just hang out, have some free time, and be kids – probably because they really don’t have the time to miss something they’ve never really had. The pain and frustration really hits friends of these people who don’t have schedules that are that busy.

My wife and I consciously reject the overscheduling thing. My kids can do one activity per season (if they want). My daughter has taken part in Destination Imagination for years, and my boys do soccer or DI, depending on the season. The rest of the time, my kids are free-range. When the boys get home from school, they drop their bags in the house and leave. We occasionally see them around dinner time, where we fight with them to do some homework. On the weekends, they will often be outside until well after dark. My teenage daughter does a lot of homework during the week, or hang out whenever her busy friends are around.

Cruiser's avatar

No HELL NO! They enjoy pleasing their parents is all and they grind out all the activities so they feel their parents will love and appreciate them more. Trust me on this one….I went though a very difficult cathartic period of time with my overachiever who snapped from all the pressure and I had no clue it was that hard on him as he was always smiling throughout it all. He simply did not want to disappoint his parents and suffered needlessly.

Mint's avatar

Yes, I do know people who enjoy being overscheduled like this. Overscheduled, in reference to what you personally view as excessive time commitments. I hope I understand your question correctly.

More often than not, we are products of numerous environments. Environments that exist and emerge throughout our lives, continuously shaping and defining who we are. In my honest opinion, the most influential of these is at home with our parents. Normalcy is first bred here.

I believe Tina could answer either way.

If she has learned that tasks, liked, or disliked, lead to production and that ultimately production is good, then she could very well enjoy being busy.

If she has 7 friends in first period who all love hanging out together at the park after school and she is the only one having to go to basketball, maybe Tina will feel the longing to have more time for other interests. She would answer as such.

I believe she wants her schedule to be as it is.

Mariah's avatar

I was that kid, and no, I sure as hell didn’t enjoy it, but also no, I wasn’t pressured by my family. My family very much wanted me to relax for the sake of my health.

I can’t explain really what it was. It came from within. I had to be perfect. I wanted to go to a top college. My self esteem was tied to my achievements.

I’m glad I got over that for the most part.

Coloma's avatar

I think it depends on the child/teens personality, temperament and energy levels.
We are not all created alike and more high energy extroverted people tend to thrive on high levels of activity and social interactions while a quieter, more introverted type might find a taxing schedule to be mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. I always had my daughter involved in one activity at a time except for a couple years where she was involved in a club and music lessons. Personally I’m not a believer in over scheduling kids, I more of the free range kinda parent and while I told my daughter she had to stick with something for at least a few months, if she really disliked the activity I let her quit without any disapproval or guilt tripping.

There has been this huge trend in the last 30 years to send your kids off to preschool when they 3 years old and to over schedule them. When I was a kid, aside from a short stint in the Brownies and Girl Scouts kids came home after school to play and relax.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

It would be impossible for them to say if that’s the only thing they’ve ever known. Most kids want to please their parents and families. If asked, they might say they love it, but how can they know if they haven’t had any opportunity to spend long periods of time just shooting the breeze, playing and being kids?

I met kids like this when my children were younger. I always felt it was too much and that it placed undue stress and pressure to achieve on children. We want them to be active and to try new things, but when they have a schedule like the one you’ve presented here, I don’t think that’s healthy. Where is the time to read a book? To talk to their girl or boy friends? To go to the cinema? To just lie back and watch the clouds go by?

I wouldn’t want my life to be so scheduled, so why would I do that to my child? I also think it sets kids up to think they have to achieve to a certain level. I’ve seen young people who feel that way at my university. From the young man who felt he had to study Business and Law even though he wanted to be a tradie and fix cars. To the young girl who was quite hysterical because she only got 98 on an essay and she had to know what she did wrong so she could fix it for next time. I think this sort of extreme scheduling sets kids up to believe they have to constantly be achieving something and to possibly feel they are failing if they don’t meet our expectations or if they just want to chill out.

chyna's avatar

This sounds like my nephews’ life. They are in travel everything, football, wrestling, basketball and it’s all year round. In their case, it is the parents pushing this. I feel like they never get to stay home and just chill or hang with friends. But that is me watching from the outside.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

All great answers. Thank you. I really was hoping to hear all sides and know if a teen could enjoy being so busy.

I do have an idea that Tina is pressured. My daughter was good friends with this girl for a few years until sports took over Tina’s life. I’ve had Tina over to our house and spent time with her on girl scout outings. The girl if very spoiled and whiny if she doesn’t get her way. Tina would get upset when Emily wouldn’t play soccer with her during recess. The two grew apart, and honestly I’m grateful.

Tina’s grandmother recently made an eye-opening statement on facebook. She shared a memory of Tina playing piano from three years ago with the caption: “I was hoping Tina would be ready for The Voice by now. Oh well.” :(

smh- Yes she used a sad face. Tina may enjoy all her activities, but there’s not doubt she’s being pressured by mom and grandma.

Coloma's avatar

@dammitjanetfromvegas Bad Grandma, like the poor girls only value is in her productivity. Kids that are valued more for their accomplishments rather than their being are set ups for eating disorders, drug abuse and all sorts of anxiety coping behaviors. Remember, we are human beings not human doings. I had a friend that was gifted but also seriously pressured to play piano and she has anxiety and stress related somatic symptoms. Stomach aches, back aches, all internalized stress from the pushy parents.

Seek's avatar

Gee, if she loved the music enough to want to try out for talent competitions, why not allow her to focus on her music and not toss her into eleventy kabillion other extracurriculars?

Too many irons in the fire makes for bad pressing and burnt clothes.

SavoirFaire's avatar

In general, no. I’m sure there are some who want that sort of schedule, and we could easily identify them by simply letting all teens choose their own extracurricular activities. But in most cases, such a heavy schedule is not chosen by the teens themselves. It’s chosen by their parents for various reasons. I grew up with a lot of kids like this, several of whom attempted suicide at one point or another due to stress or fear of not meeting expectations. Call me crazy, but I don’t think that’s the sign of someone who is enjoying their life too much.

Cruiser's avatar

@Seek That is the crux of the issues I faced with my son when he had his melt down. I quickly took an inventory of his elective activities outside of 4 out of 5 AP classes he had….
Jazz band playing both piano and bass 3 days a week…
Boy Scouts one day a week plus campouts on the weekends…
He had a part time job and his own small engine repair business he started when he was 14…
A girlfriend…
Autos Club
And MC at the local talent open mic talent show once a month…
plus he was expected to do his chores and cut the grass etc…

On the outside we saw he did all these things with ease….we found out the hard way inside he was tortured with the overload that was thrust upon him….he just did not have a clear path in his head to say help me….this is too much!

We cut out scouts and his part time job and some chores and he rebounded very quickly.

JLeslie's avatar

Impossible to know without asking her. She might love it. I would have hated it, but I think it would have been good for me to have had a few more afterschool activities than I did. Once I hit Jr. High I pretty much stopped doing much of anything after school except for a very short stint I took tennis lessons. However, I did work about 3 days a week from the age of 14 through the end of high school.

Unofficial_Member's avatar

Sounds to me like extracurricular lessons. If they are, then Tina has no other choice but to do them just like everybody else at school. If those are clubs or electable lessons then surely she’s the one who picked the lessons and I don’t think she’ll follow an activity she doesn’t enjoy or have any interest in. You did not state how long each activity consumes Tina’s time in a day. I believe so long as she has at least 8 hours sleep and 4 hours of free time then she can be as busy as she desired.

If this is what her parents force her to do then as a pragmatic person I must say that they need to stop forcing their daughter on these useless sports. If they try to do tiger-parenting then it’s more beneficial for their daughter to learn scientific lessons.

Yes, I have seen many Asian tiger parents with their overly-scheduled kids but none of them spend too much time on sport field. I guess those parents value mind over muscle and I can’t blame them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good Dad, @Cruiser!

My oldest was the only kid who had anything close to that in gymnastics. She started when she was 8. As she progressed in levels the schedule became more and more grueling, but she loved it. For the last two years she had practice 4 days a week, including Saturdays, and then she had meets on top. When I’d tuck her in bed at night she’d go, “I have gymnastics tomorrow!” saying it like, “It’s Christmas tomorrow!” She just loved it.

Rarebear's avatar

My daughter picks her own activities. She’s 15. She does not enjoy being over scheduled but she is pretty good at saying “no”. She has a lot of homework though so she doesn’t do a lot. Mostly it is a sport (volleyball or swimming) and debate. These are all from her—we actually tried to talk her out of doing debate but she insisted

dxs's avatar

I wonder the same thing. There are so many summer programs I applied for where students are learning math/science/etc. for six hours, Monday to Friday. I thought to myself: Wow, do these kids actually enjoy being confined to a classroom for a whole nother month, cutting into their summer? I surveyed my eighth grade advanced math class, and only 2 out of the 26 of them disagreed to the statement “I like math.” Most strongly agreed. So maybe they do, but as some the other Jellies mentioned, you don’t know what you don’t have. Children aren’t really taught to question much, either. Study, study, study. Work, work, work. Keep your mind focused on that and only that. Discipline. If you speak out, you will be punished. Let’s be real—this shit still happens. I’m skeptical that it’s for the better of the child.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Unofficial_Member “Sounds to me like extracurricular lessons. If they are, then Tina has no other choice but to do them just like everybody else at school.”

That’s not what “extracurricular” means.

“If those are clubs or electable lessons then surely she’s the one who picked the lessons and I don’t think she’ll follow an activity she doesn’t enjoy or have any interest in.”

Unfortunately, we can’t take that for granted these days. A lot of kids are pushed into these things by their parents (usually because they “look good on a college application” or some other excuse).

Stinley's avatar

My older daughter is a teenager and does swimming and scouting type activity. She is doing an award (Duke of Edinburgh) which involves the swimming, helping with a group of younger scouts, and has chosen to learn to cook. The bit that concerns me is that her motivation is half because she enjoys it but also half because she is thinking about university and her application – having the good grades and extracurricular activities is better than just the grades. It is her choice – she has given up maths club for example.

My younger daughter does an activity most days after school and more at the weekend. She really wants to do them. She has paid for an after school club herself with birthday money after I said I couldn’t afford all of them. I think it would be different if she came home after school but we both work so she is in after school care anyway. (Yes, I pay for after school care and after school clubs which run at the same time…). At the weekend she goes swimming which she hates but I make her as it is important to learn to swim. She has a Musical Theatre class which I tried to drop but she wanted to go so badly that I gave in. It gives her a lot of confidence and this can be no bad thing as she struggles with her confidence. She’s not going to be an actress or a swimmer or a gymnast but if these help her to be a confident person and able to enjoy the benefits this brings, then to me, it is worth it. She can give them up at any time. They cost me a fortune!!

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