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May 20, 2014



I am a firm believer of not quitting until the session or season is over. With this said, I do have one exception.
My daughter is four years old and recently went to swim class only to find out her teacher was sick and wouldn't be able to teach that day. Her replacement teacher made her feel uncomfortable and scared and she refused to swim.
I asked her to get in the water and just sit and watch the class in an effort to show her that quitting wasn't an option, but also see that the other students were not afraid. This worked until the replacement instructor tried to take her hand and guide her into the water, at which point she cried and got out of the water afraid.
I hugged her and told her that it was okay to be afraid and that I was proud of her for trying.
I also told her that it was okay to “go home” from class early that day.
The point of my story is that every situation is different, each child is different and every parenting style is different.
We walked away with her knowing that it was okay to be afraid and that I, as her mom, allowed her to have and share those feelings.
We used the experience as a learning experience for her to understand that is okay to have feelings and not be afraid to share them with me.
She went to class excited to swim the very next week.
Quitting is a strong word for young children.
I will continue to teach her that when she signs up for a class or sport to see it through, within reason.


I'm of the belief that once you commit you don't quit. If it's a team sport the entire team is dependent on you. If you quit you jeopardize the success of the team. I always encourage my kids to try something out, but if it's a sport they have to be there for the season. I really wanted my kids to stay in band, but they didn't care for the teacher (neither did I), it was 0 period and I was paying for both of them. The teacher said at the beginning of the year you had to commit until the end of the semester. Through thick and thin they were there, but in Jan. they both decided they didn't want to go anymore. They followed the requirements and committed until the end of the semester.


My daughter, 10, was in martial arts for years. A couple of months before she would test for her second degree black belt, she really started to hate the classes. I insisted that she see it through to the test, after which we could take a break. She tested, passed with flying colors, collected her new black belt, and hasn't wanted to return since. Maybe she will go back, but it will be when she wants to.


My rule is no quitting until the season or session is done but as a mom I know my kids and should listen when they tell me they are done. My daughter loves volleyball and signed up for the 6th grade team. All the 6th grades "make" the team, really just a learning time for next year. We knew that "Z" was afraid of the teacher/coach before practices had began but had know idea how bad it had gotten until a week before the season was over. My daughter had stop eating on days of practice or games and when we made her eat would vomit before practice out of fear, please understand there is no eating problem and she loves to eat lol. After a dr visit we found she had dropped a little over 12lb and for a child that is 5 foot and started at 97 her dr became worried and we soon got to the bottom of the problem. Next time I will listen to my kids


In our house, if you sign up for an activity which has a season, you must finish that season. If it is a month to month activity, you may quit at the end of a given month. That said, I generally try to make sure my kids have an opportunity to try out an activity before making a commitment. As a parent, I want them to try lots of things, but I fully expect they won't enjoy all of them. Many parents sign their kids up for non stop activities and then wonder why their kid wants to quit.


I really appreciate Holly's insight. My parents let me quit everything but piano lessons, which I had to complete through 8th grade. I grew up a consistent quitter; I never learned what it meant to see something through until a college boyfriend told me to finish out the year of rowing if begun freshman year. He said that I should finish strong so I wouldn't have future regrets. I did, and I wound up loving the sport and winning medals! I came back for a second year.
There's a trend to allow quits, and while it is wise to teach kids to discern their limits, I think commitment and follow through must be engrained first. Otherwise I can't see how a child will learn how far and high they can go!
I have 3 children and hope to welcome more in the future.


I believe you generally should finish the season or whatever timeframe you signed up to play/compete/practice etc. However, if your kid is clearly miserable and hates it to a large degree, that is not worth the lesson. The kind of stress and dread that comes with being forced to do something that is very unpleasant can have long term effects and there also could be underlying reasons that they hate it so much that aren't apparent on the surface.

So, generally I believe you should stick it out but in some instances it is okay to call it a season early. You have to know your kid and know if they are just being lazy or if they truly hate what they are doing. There will be many opportunities to enforce a no quitting mentality and some battles are not worth the scars.


Anyone who lets a seven year old play tackle football has questionable judgment in my view. I would be rejoicing if my son stopped badgering me to let him play a sport that every medical professional I have spoken to believes should not be offered to adolescent or pre-adolescent boys. Setting aside the safety issue, for me, it is important to teach my kids that they have some level of control over what happens in their lives. If something is making them miserable and unhappy and they have the power to change it, they should change it. There will be plenty of miserable things in their lives that they can't control or change. Extracurricular activities shouldn't be one of them.


Well, everybody has their own rules and ideas about child rearing. Personally, I actually agree with Bert and Katie. These are young children, not soldiers, and yes, we need to encourage them to build up resilience. However, they need to have some decisionmaking and control over their own lives and not live by "set in stone" rules which can never be broken. This world is not just black and white, live happens and we need to deal with it on an individual basis.


I think the child should give activity at least several tries before quitting, but I don't believe in sticking it out at any price, if it comes to begging and tears it's not worth it. I wouldn't give up on education or proper behavior, the activities should be voluntary. With that being said, if there is a pattern of quitting after short time - I wouldn't let start anything new for a long while, so that he/ she really want it and learn to commit.


I think it's unfair to say someone who lets their kids play tackle football when they're 7 has questionable judgment. I feel if my son was to ask me to play, yes of course I wouldn't like the idea of him getting beat around the field, but before he starts I would make sure he knows that he could get hurt really bad. But if that's a risk he wants to take, he should be able to take it. It's just another lesson you can teach your kids. I want my son to grow up knowing that taking a risk in life is good. I don't want him to just give up on his hopes and dreams. But you better know, were gonna have some good insurance!! As far as quitting, I agree with a lot of people on here. My parents wouldn't let me quit anything that I started. And sometimes I didn't like it, but sometimes I ended up enjoying it so much I did it again. It's just another lesson I need to teach my child. Don't ever give up, follow your dreams, take risks in life, you will go far, and you will look back and be able to say, I did that!


I think it depends on the personality of the kid. Extra curricular is for kids to have fun learning something they really enjoy. Some kids may like everything and some may not. The parent knows the child best and can judge the way child reacts to various situations. There should be a middle way and a set limit. If the child finds something really terrible and scary I don't see a point in continuing as they will not enjoy it and will not love what they are doing.

Robin Cox

Every child and circumstance is different. I suffer from OCD and perfectionism, among other things. I never allowed myself to quit, even when I was being abused. Years of therapy taught me to "quit" when appropriate. I learned not to pass on my bad habits to my kids. Neither of my kids are quitters, although I always left the decision up to them. Teach your kids to keep their personal power.


I am a commit dont quit mom ! Its important to me that I raise responsible, hard working and well rounded children. If they start something they must complete the year/season/ term before not continuing the following year, and there must be a valid reason to quit. And "its too hard" is not a valid reason. They have to understand others are counting on them in a team sport and that others have put in the effort for them as well. That being said, I let my children decide their own activities and love them to try all different sports and creative outlets. My rules aside from seeing the term through are, that they have to give it their all ...all the way through, even if they don't plan to return. And that their school work must always come first. They cannot overload themselves with sports and activities so that their grades suffer. They will be adults some day so along with the privilege of decision making they must possess the integrity and responsibility. Mom to four girls 15,11,10 and 3 and one boy 18 months. .. Choir, band, track,softball ,chess, skateboarding, and STEM ! Busy and worth it.


Also, in response to the comment about not allowing a child to participate in a sport (tackle football) because it could possibly be dangerous is a fear based decision! At any age, all sports and many non sport activities can be dangerous... Riding a bike can cause injuries, so would you not teach them to ride ? Or would you teach them safely and provide them with protective gear ? The same goes for contact sports. To give kids an unhealthy fear that they otherwise dont possess is to stunt them in the future. Btw, did you know that statistically cheerleaders have more injuries than their football player counterparts alot of the time ? So do gymnasts and dancers, football is not the only sport that CAN cause injury. Let them play and push themselves in healthy safe ways with coaches that know what they're doing . Dont turn your children into scaredy cats.


I love Jen's method of parenting, and believe I'll apply a similar method when my little girl arrives. Childhood is about self-discovery, and I want to provide my kids with the opportunity and freedom to explore their interests—to find out what they’re good at and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy doing. If they’re busy suffering through one commitment just for the sake of not quitting, they may miss out on other opportunities which maybe they will enjoy, and can help them to grow and shape their future. Of course I want to instill a sense of responsibility and follow-through in my children, but, as an adult I know that not all commitments are created equal. Some things deserve to be given a real effort before moving on to something else. Other commitments need to be carried through to completion. And yet other circumstances call for a dead halt. I hope to teach my children to make the best decisions about which option to choose in any situation—and to balance their own happiness and well-being with that of those around them.


Wanting to quit is a judgement call made by a child that should be fully granted at the very moment that a child wants to quit. No questions asked. Obey them immediately.

They may actually even be sensing some danger, or feeling some pain that could be harmful. And often, kids can't precisely communicate why they want to quit. Even if they are just unhappy, nothing good is ever going to come from forcing a child to do something that they are not ready for.

NOW...that said, making your child a "winner" or to be the most successful they can at something is completely different and independent from quitting...so let's not confuse the two.

Quitting, is often very different than "giving up".

All great minds and all great athletes know when to quit and the importance of quitting. It can actually be a very valuable and smart option. So...teach them when and how to quit, THEN teach them how to win...and teach them how not to give up when the situation calls for a 110% effort.

Diane Tipton

When I was 6, my mother decided that since she always wanted to play the piano it would be the perfect thing for me to do. I stuck with it for five years, struggling through lessons that bored me. Practice sessions were traumatic for both of us. But I steadily plugged on. At 8, I wrote a letter to a TV station to audition for a place on a talent contest as a singer. My mom tried to get a teacher for me, but no one would take on a student for only a short time. So, I tried out with piano, and didn't get on. At 11, I locked myself in the bathroom and said "No more!". After much crying of both our parts, I was allowed to stop my piano lessons. Shortly after, we received an ad in the mail about a voice teacher in our area wanting students. She was hesitant because of my age, but after hearing me, she agreed to teach me. I LOVED it. No one had to force me to practice. My mom had to tell me to stop. I was in several shows in my town, received a full scholarship to college based on my voice. I met my husband in college choir. Music has become my refuse when things get overwhelming. Letting me quit was the best decision my mom ever made. It influenced my life for years to come. The trick was to find something that I wanted to do, not something she picked out for me. If your child hates football, try something else. And keep at it until you find their passion. Of course, if they asked to be on a sports team they cannot let a team down in the middle of a season. But after that, let the child take the lead in what they want to learn.


I have regretted quitting piano class - but the pressure was so great that it was not fun any more - I think in my case, I just should have had lessons and not competed in recitals until I felt I was ready.


I think there are several good points to different people's comments. I believe that once the commitment is made, it needs to be stuck to. (I even try to make sure a coloring page gets completed,lol.) Especially in instances where there are other people involved. When your 'quitting' will affect not just your child, but the whole team. I always talk with my child though. You need to communicate with them, ask why they want to stop. It could be just that they changed their mind (in which case, sorry but you made the choice, you need to finish this, but you don't need to sign up again.) Or it could be something more. Are they hurting in some way? Somebody making them feel uncomfortable somehow?? All different things. So, for the most part, you need to finish what you started but you need to communicate :)

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