Things to Consider When Your Child Wants to Quit 

If your child has been complaining of quitting an activity, he was so excited to get enrolled in, this article is for you! 

Before finding ways to convince them, let’s look within and approach this in a more sensitive way.

  • Fearing about the child’s Adult Personality. According to a co-author of the famous book – The Self-Driven Child: The Science And Sense Of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives, William Stixrud, the first thing we as parents need to understand is that enrolling children in any kind of extracurricular activity is not because we are in the process of raising a ‘fixed’ individual as an adult. Stixurd mentions in an article in The Washington Post that the one thing parents must realize is that their children will not forever be how they are right now. Peer pressure can have an important effect on his choices. There is a fair chance that your child who wants to quit right now wants to play the same sport five years later because all his friends are joining the team. So don’t be troubled thinking about what he could become if your child wants to quit now.
  • Dopamine and Cortisol. If your child wants to quit an activity maybe, sometimes, you can blame the hormones. Dopamine is the reward hormone, whereas Cortisol – the stress hormone can have an impact on their decisions. Based on the decision of their child to quit now, don’t label them as a quitter, and certainly don’t approach them with this mindset.
  • Keeping an open mind is so important while dealing with such a situation. So, imagine your child comes back from a sports activity, which he sorely lost, and declares that he hates it and does not want to go back ever; as parents, our first impulse would be to scold and give them a stern ‘no’ in response. However, what ideally needs to be done is to understand that in that moment it is more about their emotions rather than their rational choices. Listening and understanding would be more helpful than dismissing them. This could even strain your relations, especially if they are in their adolescence. Hence in that moment let it go. Try to empathize with them and discuss the topic maybe a couple of days later.

‘What to do in such situations

It is obvious that a detailed script of a pep talk has already started to prepare in your head as soon as the shock subsides inside your head. Your kid’s declaration of “I want to quit,” needs immediate action. But what you include in that script will impact a lot on the outcome, so read through.

1. The right kind of Motivation.

Teach them from the very start that it is growth that they should be focused on, rather than the result. You need to make them understand that hardships are part of life, but if we keep giving our best, that is what will matter the most in the future. Kids can just be discouraged due to fear of failure at times. You can give them their own examples of how they would have overcome some fear in the past and assure them that they can do it again.

Also, teach them about the important lessons of life.

2. Taking a break.

The professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine, Stixrud also recommends parents to explain to their children the difference between “I don’t want it” and “I don’t feel like it.” Kids need to realize that there are feelings that can temporarily make them not like something. Giving a few days to think over it and then rethink their decision will be a good idea.

3. Investigate the Cause.

If even after trying everything, your child still wants to call quits, it is time to really listen to their concerns. There might be a bully or a coach who is too strict, or just a gradual realization that this particular activity doesn’t interest them at all. If it is feasible, you might want to intervene, otherwise, it will be a good idea to just stop, and do some more exploration.

Understand that it is not uncommon for children to want to quit an activity they have joined after school. But the matter shouldn’t be dealt with either with total ignorance or with total acceptance when your child wants to quit. Examine carefully and then take the next step of action. 

Happy Parenting 🙂

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