It’s an age old dilemma that most parents have gone through at one point or another. Do you let your child quit a sport or activity once they join? You will find arguments on both sides of the debate, but the long and short of it is you need to examine the situation first. There are no cut and dry answers to this question. Every situation differs and in some situations, the answer will be a resounding, yes – you need to let your child quit, while in others it is best not to let them quit.
Exploring their Interests
One of the most important aspects of joining extracurricular activities is to explore a child’s interest. There is no way to find out what your child’s true passions in life are unless she is given the opportunity to try them out. Sure, she might think that she loves to dance, play soccer or the piano at home, but once given the responsibility to practice and build her skills in front of others, she might find that her passion is not what she thought it was. Allowing your child to join classes and teams is one of the best ways to help her find out what she might want to pursue as she grows up. So what happens when she decides she doesn’t like the sport or activity any longer? While you could just let her up and quit, a little examination of the situation is necessary.
• Is there something or someone that is making her not like the sport or activity any longer? If so, as a parent, you should see if there is a way to rectify the situation because in this case, it is not that your child does not like the activity, it is one aspect of the activity that is causing the displeasure that could possibly be fixed or changed.
• Does your child dislike the activity itself? If this is the case, then it is typically acceptable to give up on the activity. It might be difficult for team members if it was a team sport, but if it was something individual, such as dance or piano, there is no reason to make the child suffer through practices if your child has no excitement about it any longer.
• Is your child fulfilling your dream, rather than her own? Did you convince your child to take dance, karate or soccer because it was a dream that you always had but were never able to fulfill? It’s okay to encourage your child to try new activities, but if she doesn’t enjoy it, it is time to let her move on to something else.
• Is there a change occurring? Often times children get very attached to their teachers or coaches. If there is a change in the leadership of the activity, it could make your child not want to participate any longer. In this case, it is best to talk to your child and get to the bottom of why she is upset and feels that she needs to quit. Helping your child learn to accept change can be a tremendous lesson in the entire experience and could require a lot of support from you, but in the end your child wins by still sticking to her activity.
Do you want to help your child understand the importance of not quitting a favorite activity? Read KP Baker’s book, “Dance with Olivia – The Dancing Ballerina” and help your child learn to adapt to changes in her life.