Almost every parent dreads the time when their child comes to them wanting to quit and extracurricular activity. Even though it might not have happened to you just yet it most certainly will so be ready.
In the beginning, it will be a little like this, your child will beg you to join a sport, after-school club, or dance class, but after a while, they’ll either discover that they aren’t enjoying it or something else will come along that piques their interest, or they won’t want to sign up for another season.
And this might really upset you because they happen to be really talented in this sport or activity.
As parents, what should you do when your child wants to quit an extracurricular activity that you’ve paid for and committed to?
Should we encourage our kids to continue with the activity, hoping they’ll learn to love it?
Do we force our child to stick it out until the end of the season?
If we allow them to quit, what will it teach them about dedication and commitment?
And what about the investment you’ve made such as the enrolment fees, equipment, and all of the other expenses that go along with extracurricular activities?
Here are some ideas on how to handle this unique situation you may find yourselves facing one day soon or indeed, right now.
Keep in mind that what’s right for one family may not be right for another. Ultimately, you need to choose a solution that works best for you and your children.
What To Do When Your Child Wants To Quit
- What’s going on under the surface? Is your child afraid he won’t be good enough or that he’ll disappoint you? Is there a personality clash between your child and the coach? Is she being bullied by teammates? Sometimes a child’s reason for wanting to quit an extracurricular has nothing to do with the activity itself.
- Let your child take a break. At this stage of their life, there aren’t a lot of decisions over which they have complete say so. It’s okay to let this be one of them. It is their body, their time and their energy after all.
- Listen to your child. This will do more for your child than forcing her to stick with an activity. Being heard and respected by one’s parents goes a long way in building self-esteem.
- Find a less time-consuming activity. If being on a team means 3 practices a week and a game on Saturdays, your child might be happier with a once a week, hour-long Karate class. Remember, it’s important that she gets free time for playing with her friends, riding bikes or reading a good book, and let’s face it, just plain being a kid.
- If finances permit, give your child the opportunity to experience a variety of sports and activities as possible, to see what really speaks to them. It’s easier for kids to do this with younger children, as kids’ school and work commitments and responsibilities increase as they get older.
- Teenagers tend to get involved in way too many sports or clubs along with their other extra-curricular activities. Be sure to watch this and remind them that they are at a crucial time in their lives where they need more rest than ever before for their good health and academic success.
I know that our son just wasn’t ready for organized sports or at least baseball. He just didn’t like it at the time so we listened to him and gave him the space he needed to find what it is he does like. This worked out really well for our family as our son found his interests and his own healthy pace.
What worked for your family or are you still struggling with this issue?