When To Call It Quits

Children can be iffy on their wants at times. One minute they want the latest in Dora toys and then the very next minute it’s too immature for them. The same could be said about the flurry of activities available to them. Dance classes, music classes, sports, etc etc. And inevitably you find yourself with a kid who wanted to join soccer and two weeks later decides they hate it and want out. So what do you do? We parents don’t always agree on how it’s best handled. And I have encountered such a parent that either is refusing to listen to the child or is  determined to force something on their child.

So here is my rule of thumb, by all means not THE rule of thumb….just what I use in my own life with my own kids. For things that come in seasons, most notably sports. No matter how much they complain they hate it they finish it. It’s not cheap to put our children in sports….even through the local community center. And I am sorry but I will be damned if I let my child call the shots all the time. WHy do I make them finish the season? To learn to fulfill their commitments. If I constantly shell out cash for my kids to do something that lasts 6 weeks and quit after 2 I am not teaching them to fulfill their commitments. Some other child who really wants to be there has now missed out. And let’s face it, its great preparation for life. As adults we do things we don’t necessarily WANT to do but have made a promise to do and therefore really kinda have to do them. Why not prep our kids for the real world? Seriously, they won’t end up in therapy because I forced my 6 year old to finish soccer (which she only wanted to quit because she couldn’t master it like she does most things).

So what about the things that don’t have a specific seaon? That is where it gets tough. Usually I sit down with my kids and decide on a time frame for them. Most of these situations have a pay as you go sort of plan…..$x for x classes. So they fulfill a specific time frame, say 5 classes, I pay for those classes and if they hate it then they can quit when that time frame is up. Now in the case of scouting groups (Boy/Girl/Spiral) these are more on a yearly membership. I still hold a smaller time frame cause one year is quite a bit for a child. Once they get much older than one year will be fine.

I think it is important to talk with the kids about commitments and dealing with them in the event they “hate” their activity and your the “evil” mom for making them deal with it. The woman and her child that sparked this post is….well it’s volatile. It is so apparent the child does not want to be there. The child is having serious anger issues and instead of dealing with it, it appears the parent is coddling the child……except still forcing the child to stay in the activity. Now it is not a season-type activity. I honestly think more damage is being caused the more she drags him to the activity……and yes she literally drags the child to them. In this case, the child should be able to quit.

So if your about to put your child into an activity or currently have one in an activity that they hate consider my rules of thumb. It may not work for your child but it can help figure your way out. And if your child is doing everything they can not to go, showing major disrespect, and is hateful to the other children involved……PLEASE take note of it and be a good parent and pull them. If it gets to that stage they shouldn’t be there no matter what.

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~ by alegna75 on May 10, 2009.

One Response to “When To Call It Quits”

  1. I completely agree. My daughter was dying to play trombone this year, but complains every time she has to practice or lug the thing on the bus. Too bad! I paid, you play!

    But at the point where it is ruining the time others spend in the activity, enough is enough. Obviously the kid has some other issue going on besides just not wanting to be there – a control issue with the parent, or some issue getting along with the other kids- why make everyone miserable? The child might even have some developmental issues that make it hard for him to deal with the group (been there!), but the parent really wants it to work out for some extra socialization. But even kids with issues know when they don’t want to be somewhere.

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