What to Do When your Child Wants to Quit

Most parents have experienced their kids wanting to quit a sport or activity that they had previously begged or promised to stick with through the season. You may not know what to do when every practice and game becomes a battle or tantrum. If you are unsure what to do when your child wants to quit a sport, follow our tips to decide what to do.

Before Signing Up

Before you sign your child up for a sport or extracurricular activity, talk about your expectations. Make sure way ahead of time, that even if your child decides he doesn’t like it, he has to finish the season and go to all the practices and games. Talk about a sport or activity that you played when you were younger, that you persevered through or that you quit and wished you hadn’t. Many adults know the experience of looking back and wishing they had stuck with swimming or playing an instrument, kids don’t have the benefit of hindsight, so share yours with them.

When you should not let them quit

When your child has been playing an instrument or sport for several years and decides to quit, that can be difficult to understand, especially when the move to loving the instrument or sport to hating it has happened quickly. Experts say you can usually expect this around middle school. Often children are resistant to the time commitment, perhaps wanting to spend more time with their friends. This is a very normal part of growing up.

In this case, you may be looking back at years of time, money, and effort and be reticent to throw it away for what you believe is a temporary distaste. Try to be understanding in this case and offer to reduce weekly lessons for a while, to one or two days a week instead of three. When your child is not practicing or playing, give him ample time to spend with friends, so he doesn’t feel left out.

You may also try giving her the opportunity to try new instruments or sports. If she is burned out on piano or soccer, let her try flute or tennis for a season. She may find that she misses her old instrument or that she loves it. In this case, it is not a loss, but a gain of a new skill.

When you should let them Quit

There are times when it’s okay to let your child quit and it won’t teach them that quitting is the answer for everything. Quitting something that can have advantages, teaching autonomy, and sometimes just leaving a situation that is really not enjoyable. As long as it’s not a pattern or habit, quitting once can be empowering for a kid. Especially, if your child is trying something new, has given a good effort, and found that he just doesn’t enjoy it.

Find out why your child wants to quit. Is it because there is a personality conflict with a coach or teammates, they find that the first few weeks are much harder than they expected, or they really don’t enjoy the sport. Some reasons can be solved with your intervention or encouragement. Others are good reasons to let this one lie.

Should you Let your Child Quit?

When your child comes to you with the desire to quit an activity, you can help teach them a valuable lesson about perseverance or self-care.