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Thread: Allowing children to "quit" - where do you draw the line?

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    Default Allowing children to "quit" - where do you draw the line?

    What is the line between encouraging a child to keep going, even if it's difficult - or allowing them to quit? If playing saxophone is too demanding, do you encourage them to try harder? Or let them quit? Is quitting just giving up? I'm just curious where people draw the line?

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    Well...this is a big "depends". I personally think music is cricially important and my girls take piano and I will make them continue it barring any complete breakdown in our relationship.....however.....as it's an instrument that can be played independently, it doesn't matter to me if they learn really fast, really slow, whatever...as long as they are trying. If the saxophone is "too demanding" what does that really mean? They can't keep up with the rest of the band, they don't like it, they can't read the music? It's not cool? I think more needs to be said about why they don't like it/can't do it or want to quit. If it's really too challenging to keep up with the rest of the group, I'd support letting them "take a break" at the end of the school year and decide whether to join up again next year. Being last chair in the band even if you are trying really hard might be very discouraging.

    I do think it's important to "quit" at a reasonable time - e.g. not quit a sport right before a game.....piano right before the recital.....etc. I think it's unrealistic to think that our kids will know what activities/sports they will be good at and/or like before trying them, and it's not fair for us to not let them bow out gracefully. Unless it's a truly horrible experience, I'd make them finish the season or school year and then stop.

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    Marion1 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default I think it depends...

    Is the child quitting something that they wanted to try? Are they quitting just because it isn't as fun as they had hoped or are they really struggling?

    I think all things should be a choice but nobody is going to like everything - you have to find the right fit.

    For example, my DS takes trumpet lessons through school. I'm not sure he even likes the trumpet but he likes the idea of playing an instrument. In this case, it was his choice and should he choose to quit I'll be ok with it.

    On the other hand, we paid for a lifetime membership for TaeKwonDo as opposed to $1200/year. If he decided to quit TaeKwonDo I would not feel comfortable with it until I understood why just because I paid for it and it is a HUGE saving overall.

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    Default I also think it "depends" on a variety of factors. m

    First of all I am starting to backpedal a bit in terms of the whole "activities" and lessons thing...not that my kids have done much at all (maybe one activity here and there, one week of day camp, etc.). Nevertheless, I am determined to keep things very simple for them, especially during the school year.

    I like what someone once said, that it's highly unlikely that one of my kids is truly going to be the next soccer (or basketball or gymnastics) superstar so why not let them try some things and enjoy themselves. I like that they are learning and playing and building confidence and making friends. I particularly like scouts, because of the variety of ways the kids can engage in life-enhancing skills (not just being on a sports team or playing an instrument....but trying to earn the patches, going on camping trips, etc).

    OTOH, they also need to learn that these things cost money, and also the time invested and the effects of their participation (or lack thereof) on the rest of the group. IMO, kids old enough to have chosen an activity should be able to come up with a really good reason to stop it. But....I think up to a certain age (maybe 12 or so?) it's not completely fair to expect a child to truly realize that s/he is going to like a particular activity/sport/lesson. That's why I will only allow a brief foray (i.e., the parks and rec course which is usually 6 weeks or so) into a desired activity before signing up for a full (and costly) season or extended lessons.

    I have a good friend who is just beyond overboard (IMO) in scheduling her two dd's. One is clearly less inclined to go full-tilt and is a bit more of a homebody. During winter break she literally had to ask her mom to PLEASE stay home and just play one day. Even during school breaks she has them on the go from dawn to dusk. Not saying YOU are like that, but when a child is asking for a break it's definitely time to consider it and have a very probing conversation about it.

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    zoeyz is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doe
    What is the line between encouraging a child to keep going, even if it's difficult - or allowing them to quit? If playing saxophone is too demanding, do you encourage them to try harder? Or let them quit? Is quitting just giving up? I'm just curious where people draw the line?
    I'm all for cutting your losses under the right circumstances. We haven't run into too many quitting scenarios yet, though.

    DS wasn't wild about basketball this winter and probably would have quit early on if I'd let him. I felt like the benefits outweighed his reason for wanting to quit though. He needed the exercise and socialization during the winter, and learning it was going to give him confidence to play the sport and socialization in the future, which is something he needs. He didn't really want to play because... he didn't really know how to play. He still doesn't love basketball, but he had a good experience with it in spite of it not being his favorite thing.

    Same DS said he didn't want to play baseball this year. He had a really good experience with it last year, and it was really worthwhile for him, so I was surprised. Turned out he was just kind of burned out from having just finished the basketball season, and concurrently with scouts. I told him he had 2 months of no sports before baseball started, but let him make his own conclusions. He changed his mind and decided to play. In this case, I think there may be some fear involved, as he switches from coach-pitch to kid-pitch, where kids get hit with the ball.

    With violin, I may let him quit after this (his first) year. His reason is that he'd like to try a wind instrument next year. That's a good enough reason for me.

    Quitting a team sport mid-season is not something I'd want to happen, and I wouldn't be surprised if we encounter it this spring with the kid-pitch baseball. Not sure how we'll work through that.

    In your saxaphone example, if the problem was that it's too hard or too demanding, I'd look at the schedule and the teaching methods and maybe find a way to back off the intensity. If the child just doesn't like saxaphone, I'd probably look for a different kind of instrument or maybe chorus.

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    CDB is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    If the activity is clearly making them absolutely miserable, then you let them quit. If 'practising' or simply 'going to' the activity is the miserable part, but actually doing the activity is fine, then you keep encouraging, IMO.

    I'll give you an example...

    Our DD's play ringette (like hockey). Occasionally they'll bemoan having to go to a game, but that's usually because they don't want to transition from what they were doing. They had a teammate that not only did not want to go to the game, she cried through much of the game, really didn't make any effort to try and play, had to be coaxed off the bench for a line change with a look of fear and misery plastered all over her face, etc. Finally, after 3 months, the mom made the wise move to withdraw her DD from the sport. This child was heartbreakingly miserable and this particular sport was absolutely NOT for her!

    I also rate individual sports differently. If you've signed up for a team, you finish out the season (unless you're as miserable as the little girl above!). If it's an individual thing, I'd encourage to finish the term but then approve taking a lengthy break from it.

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    cathyd is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    Default As the others have said, it just depends.

    As child I was involved in numerous activities. I took dance lessons, piano lessons, acrobat classes, Camp Fire Girls, etc... I'm sure there are times I told my mom I wanted to quit, but I don't ever remember being completely miserable and never cried or anything about going to a class.

    I am the type of person that, if I make a commitment to something or someone, I'll go out of my way to keep that commitment. I try to instill that same philosophy in my kids. However, I have 2 boys (ages 6 and 9) and I've let them quit activities that they cried about going to and were completely miserable doing. I started my older DS in gymnastics at a young age. In 1st grade he was asked to join the pre-team class. That class was a 2 hour class and was pretty much all work and no play. My DS hated it. He begged and begged me to let him quit. Then he finally just put his foot down and wouldn't even go out on the gym floor to participate. It was clear the he didn't want to do it. Even though he was extremely good at gymnastics he just did not want to do it anymore. I was extremely sad, but had to let him quit. I tried on many occasions to take him somewhere else for classes, but he was totally against it.

    My younger DS played T-ball when he was 4. He really didn't like it at all and was glad when the season was over. The next year (when he was 5) I asked him if he wanted to play baseball and he said NO. Well, I signed him up anyway thinking he'd change his mind. NOPE! He hated it. He played 2 games (which I forced him to do). Then he baulked! He wouldn't even get out of the car for the next couple of games. DH and I begged and pleaded, but I had to let him quit during the season because I couldn't make him play. It was really my fault for signing him up when he didn't want to.

    I'm much stricter on things like swim lessons. I've basically told my kids that they will take swim lessons until they reach a certain level. I'm lucky in that both of my kids are good swimmers. However, I had to start younger DS later because he was much more fearful of the water as a toddler than my older DS.

    So all of this to say that I don't think this is a black and white issue. If quitting an activity affects an entire team then the decision should not be taken lightly.

    Cathy

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    (just to clarify, there is no saxophone or saxophone issue - just an illustration)

    I also think that children should probably stick it out till the end of the "session" if it was their idea to participate. DD is in Tae Kwon Do right night (has a belt test tonight) and some days she REALLY doesn't want to go. I would like for her to continue, since she does enjoy when she is doing it, but I think the time commitment (4.5 hours a week @ age 7) is just too much. She really wants to do gymnastics - I think we will have her finish this session and then let her take the summer off and do a session of gymnastics for her...

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    Well, going through a struggle with this now myself. My DS (8) is extremely introverted. Large group situations completely overwhelm him. My rule is that he must be involved in one outside activity. I do this because I want him to be exposed to a variety of situations, otherwise he would never leave the house. He gets to pick the activity.

    He has been in swim lessons for awhile now and is quite good. He had gotten tired of going and kept begging to stop. I said, "Well, then we have to think about another activity." He said, "Baseball." So, I said, "Fine, when baseball seasons starts, we'll stop swimming."

    The first day of baseball practice was last week. He refused to participate, he was terrified, begging and pleading with me to take him home. I didn't force him to participate, but I made him sit on the sidelines throughout the practice to listen and watch. When we got home, we talked over why he was afraid, etc. We worked it out, and hopefully, he will participate in the next practice. This is his third year of baseball. The first two seasons started out like this, and it ended with him having a great time and loving baseball. From an outside view, it may look like I am forcing him to play baseball. But, I am not. He picked it as his activity, we signed him up, paid, committed, and as far as I'm concerned he will finish out the season. If he doesn't want to play next year, fine.

    So, I guess to answer your question, alot of factors would play into letting my child quit or not. Did they pick the activity? Would others be affected by their decision? Did I invest alot of money in the activity? What is the reason they want to quit? Generally, though, if it's an activity with a definite end date (like a sport season, or a session of music lessons) I would make them finish out the season/session.

    [This should be under the OP's post...sorry.]

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    pepperlc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
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    There are some things i'll bend on and some I won't. I won't allow my kids to give up swimming lessons no matter how much they scream and cry during class. You have to know how to swim and I think its a being cold issue more than anything else.

    We allowed dd to give up gymnastics because she hated it. I also allowed my dss to give up gymnastics too.

    We are doing tball for dss right now and I don't know if we will allow them to quit without trying to do it an entire season.
    karen

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