My Son Doesn’t Want to Participate in Any Activity

25 August, 2019
Q My 10-year-old doesn’t want to participate in music class. He doesn’t want to participate in anything – last year it was karate – and when he doesn’t want to participate, he says he “doesn’t feel well”. I don’t know what to do.’

Answer

 In this counseling answer:

•You could ask him what he is interested in so that you may be able to engage him in activities that he truly likes.

•You may also wish to observe his interests and work around those as far as activities. In this way, if he is shy or lacks self confidence-if you offer him something that he likes, that he may engage in at home he may be more likely to feel confident when doing these activities in a group setting.

•Find out what his special interests are and try to find classes that relate to his interests.


As-salamu Alaikum,

Thank you for writing to us.  Your son may be feeling self-conscious or socially awkward.  At this age, while children are becoming more independent, they are also becoming more aware of themselves in a social context.  He may have low confidence and feel he cannot complete an activity as well as the other children, or he may just be suffering from shyness.

At this age, he is prepubescent. As you know, a lot of changes are going on within him emotionally as well as there are beginning changes in his body as his hormones are waking up.  Please do have a talk with him (if you have not already) or have his dad speak with him about puberty and what to expect in regards to feelings, urges, self-perception and bodily changes.  Assure him it is normal and encourage him to ask questions.

My Son Doesn't Want to Participate in Any Activity - About Islam

As he is a boy, it may be best if his dad talked with him as he could share some of his experiences as a young boy going through pre-puberty and puberty.  By discussing these important life changes and growth with your son, it may alleviate any fears or concerns he may have if any.


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Insha’Allah you could ask him what he is interested in so that you may be able to engage him in activities that he truly likes.  You may also wish to observe his interests and work around those as far as activities.  In this way, if he is shy or lacks self confidence-if you offer him something that he likes, that he may engage in at home he may be more likely to feel confident when doing these activities in a group setting.  Insha’Allah please do find out what his special interests are and try to find classes that relate to his interests.

You may also see if you can invite one of his friends to join him in an activity or a brother.  You may also want to see if any of the boys at the Masjid he goes to are involved in activities and get him involved with them.  Consider insha’Allah study groups for boys at the Masjid as well as fun activities at the Islamic center geared for pre-teens.

While I am not sure where you live, I do know that in major cities in the US the Islamic centers offer many activities for teens and pre-teens.  Some are educational and others are for fun, sports or other interests.  If your son has someone to share activities with, he may be more willing to participate and feel less self-conscious (if indeed he does feel this way).

While you are concerned now and rightfully so, please rest assured that this is usually a normal phase that some children go through.  As they get a little older they quickly outgrow it and you may wish he was staying home more often rather than attending various activities!

We wish you the best.
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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.