When to Make Your Child Stick with Something and When to Let Him Bail
I took piano lessons for one week. I took ballet and tap for six months. As a kid I didn’t know what I was interested in and I floundered a bit.
Thank God my parents were understanding and allowed me to quit, because eventually I found something I loved and I stuck with it.
I am the same way with my kids – for the most part. I don’t want them to give up on things easily and I sure don’t want them to just think they can bail out on things when they get tough.
I do not want them to stick with something that makes them miserable, however.
What if I had a child in soccer and after the first season he wanted to quit to join the chess team?
While participating in chess tournaments he finds that not only does he love the game he is a genius at it and – BOOM – there is my retirement plan.
If I had forced him to continue on with soccer, maybe he would never have known about his penchant for chess and I’d have to support myself on Social Security in my twilight years.
There are times that kids shouldn’t quit. If they are on a team, then it is unfair to the whole team if they quite partway through a season.
If they love what they are doing but having a hard time mastering the skills they need, perhaps encouragement is a better choice than letting them quit.
Four of my kids are in karate. The boys love it and they are doing really well. My youngest daughter doesn’t like it much and she doesn’t put a lot of effort in it, yet I won’t let her quit. Why?
In this case, I want her to be able to defend herself with confidence if she needed to. In our society I consider self-defense to be a necessary skill for a successful (and ongoing) life. To me it’s different than wanting to quit piano.
What’s your philosophy on this subject? Let them quit or make them stick?