Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

August 27, 2018

When your child wants to quit! What to do?

I just read an excellent article written by Emma Walker on the website For Every Mom, she tackles the issues of childhood defeatist attitudes and quitting. As a parent of a teenager and a tweenager, this hit home for me.

My wife and I often discuss the reality behind success and failure as it relates to self defeatist attitudes and work ethic. I am convinced and have been for a long time that some of the reasons for my

successes were born in my youth. As a child, I was scrawny, petulant and annoying at times (or so I was told). I was the third child. Having to fight for air time at home, was the norm (hence the annoying moniker). I often had to outsmart, or so I thought, my much older dominant brother to make it all work. To believe in myself did not come easily. It was like Fight Club with the deck stacked against you physically.

Luckily, my parents loved and supported all of my hair brained ideas. And there were many. The house belief structure was that it was expected that you must follow through on a project, sport or job if you initiate it. There was no quitting until the prescribed end was met. Boy did that suck as a child. It is really hard to stick it out when you disliked something even when it was your idea to start in the first place.

The Emma Walker article: there is a point where the parents in the story address a child that wants to quit a sport. The parents reflected on the situation and realized that quitting sends the wrong message and if the child was to quit, at least they were responsible for talking directly with the coach about what she could have done better on the team and what else she could have gleaned from the experience before quitting.

This is a reasonable request. It sets the child up to succeed by dealing with a difficult situation personally and seeing it through.

For the rest of the story, hit the link below. It is better for you to read it than get my paraphrased version.

Suffice it to say that the end result is beautiful and fulfills every aspect of the "hard work pays off" mantra.

Make the hard choice by expecting your child to finish anything that they start. Love them through it. Help them if necessary. But above all, let them struggle to succeed with the knowledge that you are there if they crumble.

Love and logic makes sense,

Dr. M

Emma Walker Article