The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

What to Do When Your Child Wants to Quit

January 14, 2016

Boy playing pianoHaving your child participate in extra-curricular activities is part of raising a well-rounded child. However, what happens if your child tells you that he or she wants to quit? On the one hand, you may want to teach your child to honor his or her commitments. On the other hand, allowing your child to be independent and decide the activities to pursue can also be a valuable life lesson.

Striking a balance between pushing your child to stick with an activity that may have become more challenging, and allowing him or her to quit can be difficult. Consider the following when your child wants to quit an activity:

Find out the real reason why your child wants to quit

It’s natural for a child to feel a little nervous when having to go out of his or her comfort zone, and this may result in resistance to new activities. If your child is generally more cautious, sometimes a little push may be needed to help him or her rise to the occasion. Alternatively, if he or she has a genuine fear associated with the activity, forcing it upon your child may not be the best option.

The key is to try to figure out the root cause of your child’s resistance. For example, does your child want to quit taking piano lessons because of nervousness about an upcoming recital? Talk about it with him or her, and carefully listen to what your child has to say. The anxiety could be founded on something that is untrue or that you can address to help alleviate any fears.

Think about why you had wanted your child to participate in the activity

Why did you allow your youngster sign up for the activity in the first place? For example, did your child sign up for football or the student orchestra or arts and crafts because you had done so at his or her age and you encouraged your child to follow suit, or did your child express a genuine interest in playing an organized sport or instrument or undertaking additional artistic pursuits?

Make sure that the activity aligns with your child’s interests and natural talents. Finding an activity that your child can be passionate about is important for his or her ultimate happiness. If your motive was anything other than getting your child involved in something that he or she finds enjoyable, it might be understandable why your child wants to quit.

Are there any red flags?

There are warning signs that an activity could be a lost cause for your child. Does your child consistently steer clear of engaging in the activity and with any other children involved? Has he or she faked an injury or headache or tried to come up with other ways to avoid participating?

Does the activity build your child’s self-confidence or does it tear it down? Could it have a long-term negative effect on your child in one or more ways?

Pay attention to what your child is saying, both verbally and through his or her actions and body language. If the activity is emotionally draining on your child, the best route might be to allow him or her to quit. However, instead of just quitting outright, talk with your child about trying to replace the activity with another one that he or she is truly interested in pursuing.

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Categories: Parenting Tips
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