Should you let them quit?
Such a difficult question! Many parents struggle with knowing if they should allow their kids to quit something that they’ve committed to, like a sport or type of lesson. On one hand, you want to teach your kids responsibility, accountability, and follow-through. You want them to push through when things get challenging, so they learn determination and grit. After all, this is what makes a successful adult, right? On the other hand, what if they’re miserable? What if they truly hate it? What if everyone’s quality of life is suffering because of all the complaining, fighting about it, and maybe even tears? Is that a battle worth continuing? When is enough enough and when do you put your foot down?
Start by asking your child these questions:
Why do you want to quit? Is it still fun, but just challenging? Is it not fun anymore? Does it fill your heart with dread or fear? Does it not excite you anymore? How would you feel if we let you quit? Have you given it your all?
If they calmly explain that their heart just isn’t in it anymore, don’t make them feel like a quitter. Tell them that trying something and giving it your all is good enough. Kids are supposed to try many things before they find the special things that speak to them. You wouldn’t tell your best friend to stick with a job that makes her truly unhappy, would you? The same goes for kids. Don’t let them just sit around eating potato chips and watching TV all day either, but help and encourage them to try different sports or lessons or activities until they find the one(s) that really speak to them, fill them with joy, and make them happy. Help them experiment. Help them learn to love new and different things. What they end up liking may surprise you both! And no one would have found it unless they tried it out. They may not end up being the best at one thing, and that’s ok. They can be good at lots of different things, or just okay at something they truly love. If they don’t enjoy something anymore, encourage them to move on.
Responsibility will come through the chores they do at home. They will learn accountability by finishing their homework every night. They will learn determination when they want to buy something someday and you make them work to earn it. Teach them to not fear quitting if that thing isn’t serving them anymore. Don’t let them grow up thinking they have to stick with a career that makes them miserable, just because that’s what they got their degree in. Show them that it’s ok to pursue their dreams and whatever makes them happy! You might just end up taking your own advice in the process.