Letting Your Child Quit: The Pros and Cons

Jan 13, 2022

We have all been there. Your child signs up for a new sport, hobby, or activity, and they start out all giddy and excited for this new experience. However, a few weeks or months go by, and all of a sudden, they’re coming to you begging to let them quit. What do you do? Let them learn that giving up is the easy way out? Force them to continue something they hate? There’s no easy solution to this predicament, so let's take a look at the pros and cons of each side.

Making them stay with it

It’s entirely natural to want your child to finish what they started. Lots of people grow up with this mentality, which then translates to them wanting their children to do the same. Taking this route helps to teach kids the importance of perseverance, discipline, and confidence, which are all essential skills that carry into adulthood. When children are allowed to drop out of anything they decide they dislike, it teaches them that this is the easy way out. Making them stay with it teaches them that even when things get difficult, it’s worth powering through a bit to see if there is improvement. It is important to keep promises and commitments.

Letting them quit

It is also completely natural to want your child to be happy by not forcing them to do anything they dislike. This helps to teach them that it’s okay to walk away from things that are no longer serving them. Not only that, but listening to your child and their desires demonstrates trust and support, which strengthens your relationship. There is undoubtedly a major stigma around quitting, and this stigma can sometimes make kids feel pressured to continue something they dread.

Each side of the coin clearly has its ups and downs. According to sports psychology consultant, Eric Bean, says that “quitting is never really a black-and-white issue.” The best way to go sometimes is to simply pry for a bit more information on what it is exactly that is making them want to quit. There usually is an underlying reason, and having that additional information can help you to navigate what the right decision is. One important thing to keep in mind is that having the ability to trust your children is an invaluable skill! Trust that there is a genuine reason behind their desire to quit – and work together to find a resolution that will have the best results for everyone.