General Question

SuperMouse's avatar

Would you make him go?

Asked by SuperMouse (30788points) June 23rd, 2009

I am seriously considering joining a gym, so I was able to wrangle a free 30 day pass. All I really want to use the gym for is classes for cardio and strength. I brought my boys with me when I picked up the pass and they spent a couple of minutes in the kids room. When we left my oldest son (10) flat out refused to go in there again. He says he will not go in no matter what because it is for little kids and there is nothing for him to do. I have taken away privileges, threatened grounding, and even told him he could bring the laptop and play with that, but he is still refusing. I really want to take these classes and get in to shape but I’m not sure what to do. How do you decide which (parenting) hills are going to die on?

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36 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

If there is no one else to watch him, then yes. So what if he doesn’t like it; no time like the present to teach him that sometimes you just have to suck it up, not just for others, but for himself, as well.

chyna's avatar

The YMCA that I go to has a gym that boys ages 8 to 80 go in and just shoot hoops. It is not an organized game, just playing around. Is there an area for just basketball with older kids that he might be able to go to?

Aethelwine's avatar

I agree with @tinyfaery. I was made to go along with my parents at that age to their round dancing class. That was torture! You can only take so much Lawrence Welk. It taught me the importance of exercise, even though I hated it at the time.

applesaucemanny's avatar

well you should ask your kid and ask him what he wants, it’ll probably be something simple

eponymoushipster's avatar

on one hand, he might just be attempting asserting himself. on the other, maybe he truly thinks it’s for kids.

the gym i go to, kids under 16 are allowed in the gym with a parent. there was a girl of probably about 9 there yesterday. why a 9yr old needs to work out – that’s beyond me.

maybe get him interested in physical fitness in another way – as an incentive to getting into sports, or perhaps offer an incentive. for example, for every X period of time he goes to the gym, he gets X time (or time extra) for something he likes. when i was 10, that might have motivated me.

if none of this works for you, i’d agree with the above and evoke parental privilege.

btw, is he overweight or anything? does he need the exercise?

disclaimer: i’m not a parent…that i know of.

SuperMouse's avatar

@applesaucemanny do you mean ask him what he wants in order to be willing to go?

Tink's avatar

If he doesn’t want to go can’t he stay with someone else?

eponymoushipster's avatar

i should also note that at 10, i was allowed to stay at home by myself under certain provisos. granted, my maturity probably peaked at 10, but maybe that’s another option to make this thing work: use it as a way to build his responsibility.

SuperMouse's avatar

@eponymoushipster he is a kid with the propensity to chunk up, he could stand to work out.

@Tink1113, I really can’t afford to pay someone to watch him.

@chyna I just applied for financial assistance to join the YMCA, now I am really hoping that comes through!

chyna's avatar

@eponymoushipster Do you mean your maturity peaked it 10 and started going backwards since then? :)

Tink's avatar

@SuperMouse – Maybe an aunt or grandparents?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@SuperMouse ok. btw, i didn’t mean that in an insulting way. just wondered.

well, maybe split it. X days at the gym equals Y days at home, learning to be responsible and allowing some freedom.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@chyna yeah, at 5 i was drinking martinis and reading Chaucer.

SuperMouse's avatar

@eponymoushipster I wasn’t insulted in the least, the kid needs more exercise!

Jeruba's avatar

If this were one of my kids, I would not be insisting if he were as adamant as that. I’d know there was something behind it. If this were one of my kids, whom I know very well, I would be looking for whatever he wasn’t telling me about the experience he had in that room. Maybe he just felt humiliated by being there because he was the oldest by such a wide margin—maybe nothing worse than that. But I would not be willingly subjecting him to humiliation. I would be looking for a reasonable alternative.

MacBean's avatar

@Jeruba: Oh, yay! My first thought was “Maybe there’s a bigger problem, if he’s that stubborn about it…” but then I thought I ought to keep my non-parent mouth shut. I’m glad you chimed in! Makes me think maybe I could raise kids someday without accidentally killing them or something.

I’d ask him what it would take to get him to go, mainly out of curiosity. Then if it’s not totally unreasonable, it could give you a nice jumping-off point for bargaining.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Jeruba and @MacBean I kind of wondered about deeper issues myself, so I’m going to try to dig deeper. This is the kid who tries to be in the room for every single adult conversation (also, his brothers didn’t complain), so it could be as simple as his wanting to run with the big dogs. If however, it isn’t that simple I don’t want to screw it up.

janbb's avatar

I could understand why a 10 year old would not want to go into the “baby” nursery. Is there a lobby or ante-room where he could sit with a book or computer while the younger kids are in the nursery and you are in class? The caveat could be that if he is quiet nd amuses himself he can stay there whereas if he becomes demanding, he has to go to the nursery.

ubersiren's avatar

Is there something he’s allowed to bring with him to occupy himself? I mean he can sulk in the corner with his Game Boy or whatever gadgets the youngsters have these days. A Nintendo DS or laptop or a book… do kids read books still? Or maybe reward him when he goes without complaint…? Just don’t give in. You’re the mom and it’s not doing him any harm to force him to go. Is he allowed to work out with you?

marinelife's avatar

Can you enlist one of the trainers to custom devise a workout for him? Is it the gym rules that he has to be in the kid area? Is there a pool?

Making it as bearable as possible is good, but in the end he needs to go. Ten is too young to stay home alone. He will get over it.

mangeons's avatar

Maybe work out something where, if he can arrange to stay at a friend’s house (different friends, not just one) anytime you go to the gym, he doesn’t have to go. If that’s not possible, maybe say he can stay home alone, but with a lot of rules, no answering the phone, no answering the door, no having friends over, etc.

If you feel he isn’t old enough to stay home alone, then make him go. Tell him to bring some stuff to do, and maybe tell him that he could be the supervisor of his siblings, tell him that he’s in charge of them. That might make him feel more grown up, more of the caretaker than the one being taken care of.

FiRE_MaN's avatar

baby sitter? but you dont have to call them a baby sitter just have someone watch them while you do. maybe a close by family member?

Supacase's avatar

I was thinking the same thing as @ubersiren. See if he would be willing to take his game, book, magazine, whatever and just sit in the corner away from the babies.

If not, he should still go. You’re the mom. Life isn’t always fair and we don’t always get what we want – tell him that. My mom did and it sufficiently pissed me off enough to make me forget about whatever else I was mad about.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m surprised they don’t have a kids’ room with basketball, volleyball and other physical activities. We went to four different facilities before we chose the one that had full family access. There were classes just for the 8 – 10 age group.

I ended up having exactly the opposite problem with my son, he wanted to spend every minute of every day there.

Jeruba's avatar

Yarnlady has a good point. A 30-day free pass is great, but maybe that should not be the deciding factor. Why not shop around a bit? Perhaps if you find a place that suits the whole family, you could say “I love this place, but I’m considering joining ~~‘s Gym instead because they offered me a 30-day free trial membership. Can you do anything for me in terms of a tryout before I have to decide?” Even if they don’t have a deal, it might be worth forgoing the 30 days to invest in a longer-term relationship that makes you happy without making the kids suffer.

Darwin's avatar

Our YMCA and our YWCA both have classes and activities for kids your son’s age, and the health club we belong to does, too. And the kids classes (except for really formal ones like tennis, karate and gymnastics) are free and range from swimming and basketball to working out on special kid-sized equipment. Is this gym with the free pass just a gym or is it a family-oriented place? If it is the former, then you might consider following @Jeruba ‘s advice and either hold out for the Y, wait to do it until your kids are back in school, or check out some other places.

Depending on where you live, you could start getting back in shape by proposing some sort of daily activity, whether going for a bike ride with your son, going to the park and playing frisbee toss with him, or even just walking around the block. That would give you a head start and maybe even remove some of his chunkiness.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Ask him what he thinks the solution is. Tell him you have to go to the class. You not going is not an option. What would he like to do during that time? Ask him to give you three choices.

MissAusten's avatar

How long are the classes? At 10, he’d probably be OK to stay home. My daughter is 10 and has been begging me to let her stay home alone next time I have to run to the store. When I was her age, my parents started leaving me home to watch my younger brother, and by the time I was 12 I was home alone all day while my parents worked. If you have smoke alarms, a phone, a list of important contact numbers where he can easily find it, and locks on the doors, you son should be fine for an hour or so.

However, if you don’t feel he’s ready for it, I agree with the others that you should just put your foot down. Let him choose how to entertain himself while you go to the classes, but make it clear that you are going and that this is one time when he will have to sacrifice a little for someone else. Having a kid that age, I can totally see how being stuck with the “babies” would feel like the ultimate humiliation. I’m sure the two of you could compromise on a way to have what you both want. I like @PandoraBoxx‘s idea of asking him to give you three choices. Good luck!

janbb's avatar

I like Pandora’s suggestion and Miss Austen’s. I think enlisting him in finding the solution will make him feel more grownup.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t see why it should be his problem. He didn’t cause this situation. His mother did. Why shouldn’t she take responsibility for solving her own problem? If it’s something she wants to do, it’s up to her to find a way that works without using brute force on a powerless person. Consulting him is one thing; putting on him the burden of facilitating her desires is quite another. In my opinion, that teaches the wrong lesson (entitlement rather than figuring out how to accomplish your own goals).

SuperMouse's avatar

I just heard back from the YMCA, they approved my request for financial assistance! Problem solved!

Thank you all for the great input!

mbubbles's avatar

find a babysitter. if you can’t, just tell him that he has to go because you need to work on those classes. it’s important to you. also, how old is/are your other son(s)? if they’re close to his age you could suggest games for them to play together. also, he might find some new friends. my mom made me do something like that when i was his age, and i didn’t want to, but i enjoyed it.

sanbuu's avatar

Work with the kid if he is not willing to help you. What i mean is, trying doing something with him once or twice a week. This way he won’t feel like his getting the raw end of the stick all the time. Just a thought

MrBr00ks's avatar

Uhm yea, I would make him, tell him it is an opportunity to interact with his sibling vs. being chained to the radiator.

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