Ask Alfonso: How Do I Motivate My Lazy Son?
I love what you’re doing Alfonso… it’s about time people smarten up and hear some cold hard facts about the fitness industry!
My issue is a bit different. I’m active, so is my husband and one of my sons. I have another son (younger) who’s 12 that wants nothing to do with exercise. He won’t play sports at school or take part in family activities like running, biking or hiking.
He’s a happy kid – just lazy! Although he’s a straight A student (honor roll) and in other areas of his life he’s well disciplined. And he’s not overweight – we eat really clean as a family. I’m just worried that later in life he’ll have issues if he doesn’t start to become active.
I know you have two boys. Do you have this problem and can you make some suggestions that may motivate him?
Hey Yolanda! How are you?
Isn’t it amazing how two children can be so different from one another? In my case, both of my kids love playing sports and are quite active in school. But my older son Joseph likes to ‘workout’ more than my younger son (although he’s coming around!)
In most cases when people don’t like to exercise, regardless of age, it’s usually because they just haven’t found the right type of exercise. I’ve met plenty of people who absolutely hate the gym and lifting weights but have fallen in love with Yoga or whose passion became swimming. And I know people who’ve tried classes and ended up in the weight room on a regular basis. It’s simply a matter of trial and error and eventually most people end up finding something they love.
I can also share some experience I have with both of my sons that may help. My older son is quite competitive and when we play family games like basketball he always tried to outperform his brother. After a while my younger son didn’t want to play much because his older brother was always trying to beat him and well…do what older brothers do. In this case I intervened and let both of my sons know how I felt about ‘one-upping’ each other and sportsmanship and explained that you don’t always have to be first. Now I’m not saying this is the case but perhaps your younger boy feels like he’s living in your older son’s shadow? Maybe you can ask him if he’d like to go out with just you or your husband and see if you get a different answer. Or ask him if he’d like a friend from school to join in the activity? And may I also suggest martial arts or boxing? I have yet to find a boy that doesn’t want to punch or kick something! Plus they learn a true skill.
I’m going to base my next suggestion off of your son’s academic track record. Clearly he knows the value of hard work and discipline paying off because of all the time he spends studying to get those straight A’s. Why don’t you implement a reward system for activity time? Maybe if your boys both perform chores, housework, exercise 2 – 3 times per week, etc., then at the end of the month points are tallied and a reward is given for hard work? This isn’t a competition between the two and each reward should be individual and specific to each child. Lastly, the types of activities you’ve mentioned are usually of long duration. I suggest asking him to go for a 10-minute series of sprints, circuit of jumping jacks, pushups, sit-ups etc., or even just running the stairs in the house. I think he’ll say yes to 10 minutes as opposed to a hike, bike ride or long run. Heck you can even start at 5 minutes – he’ll definitely do that!
This is a tough spot to be in. On one hand you want your boy to be active but on the other, if you push him too hard it can create ill feelings towards exercise for a good part of his life. I think that if you try a few of my suggestions one is bound to work and we can get him on the right path. Keep in mind that he’s only 12 and as he approaches high school everything is going to change – especially how much he cares about his ‘look’. His testosterone will be in high gear and he’ll more than likely want to start or be on some sort of regimen. I hope that helps. Good luck Yolanda!
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
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