Can parents or guardians force a child to participate in extracurricular activities against the child’s will?

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Can parents or guardians force a child to participate in extracurricular activities against the child’s will?

Specifically, sports. I realize that parents have the rights to make the majority of legal decisions, especially for essential things, but with something as frivolous as a sport, and participation be forced? And is there any kind of law on either the state or national scale to support an answer?

Asked on August 5, 2012 under Family Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Even if you could legally, practically how would you enforce it?  If the child sits on the sidelines or stand in the outfield and does not move what would you do?  As a Judge to hold them in contempt of a court order and throw them in to jail?  What ever your concerns are for your child - and I am sure that they are concerns born out of love - you are going to have to find a way that incorporates their voluntary participation in the end, don't you think?  Good luck. 


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