To quit or not to quit? Deciding when to let your child back out of an activity and when to make them stick it out.
We’ve all heard the famous clichés: “If you quit now, you’ll be a quitter for the rest of your life.” Or, “You made a commitment, you have to keep it.” As parents, a big part of our job description is teaching integrity and instilling a strong work ethic in our offspring. Often times, this means being the bad guy when our children want to give up on an activity they originally begged to sign up for.
But, is making a child continue with something they dislike always necessary? As with most things, I think there is a lot of gray area in making decisions like this. Although there are times when your child should certainly “stick it out,” there are other times when discontinuing an activity might be the right thing to do. Below are a few things to consider when deciding if your child should quit or not:
Determine why your child wants to walk away: Does he truly not enjoy the activity, or is something else going on? Is someone being mean? Is your child having difficulty mastering something or is she frustrated? Figuring out the reason your child wants to give up on something is an important factor in deciding if you should allow her to walk away. Sometimes she might just need a little extra help in getting over a hurdle; or maybe it’s time for some adult intervention to settle a dispute among kids. Often, simply addressing an issue will bring the joy back to an activity.
Will your child’s exit cause a problem for the rest of the group? If so, this might be the perfect time to teach your child a lesson about commitment. If quitting only affects your child, it isn’t as big of a deal as when it affects others.
Is the activity short term or long term? If you’ve signed up for a month long activity, it might make more sense to stick with it than if it’s a commitment that lasts for several months. Even the most committed adults don’t want to attend an activity they dislike every week for an entire year.
The bottom line is knowing your child and his patterns. If he often gives up on what he starts, perhaps you should try to understand why this occurs and address the issue. But, if she most often sticks with an activity until the end, and she just doesn’t like something new, there probably isn’t any harm in simply walking away.
Parenting can be difficult at times. Your child’s pediatrician and teachers are great resources who can offer valuable insight to situations like this. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them.
Kelly McIntire is a children’s author who believes that magic and adventure should begin in childhood and last a lifetime. Her books include Time Twistedand Adventures in Fairy Meadow.
Visit her website at www.kellymcintireonline.com for more information, or follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/kellymcintirewriter/?ref=bookmarks.