Is Quitting Bad for Your Child

Is It Ok for Your Child to Quit?

Newsletter Aug 14, 2022

‘Winners never quit, and quitters never win’ – have you heard this before?

Perseverance is undoubtedly a gift. Whenever children pick up a new activity at school or a new hobby at home, it is important that they stick to it for at least sometime. This will allow them to explore and develop an interest in this activity. A child who has started reading a book should be able to read a few pages to determine if it is worth continuing or not. In today’s competitive world, the ability to persevere and overcome challenges is key to success at work and in personal relationships.

However, along with perseverance, it is also equally important to know when to quit or whether to quit. Think about it… we are blessed with so many options today – be it books, puzzles, games, vocations, creative pursuits, hobbies etc. How do we decide and choose without trying? If we need to open our mind to experimenting and trying new things; we also need to be ok with exiting what is not resonating with us!

Quitting or giving up on something is not necessarily a weakness. Forcing children to stay put with an activity they dislike, makes them miserable. On the other hand, children who work up the courage to drop a disliked activity feel more in control of their life.

So, when is it okay for children to quit?

One tactic is to make principles to help them distinguish between good and bad reasons to stop something.

Also read: Help your children speak for themselves

As discussed in our last newsletter about improving the child’s decision-making skills, whether to quit or not is also a decision children should be allowed to make. When children do not feel like carrying forward, make a list of questions as to why they would rather quit than try harder or longer. ‘Is it too easy?’, ‘Is it too challenging?’, ‘Would you rather learn something else?’, ‘Do you want to try it again in the future?’ These are some examples of questions you can ask children to help them decide. Trust the child’s decision and help them take ownership of their life.

Here are a few tips that will help you navigate alongside your child & know when to shift gears without facing major setback!

Trust the Process

Keep in mind that all children are different. What is good for your friend’s child may not be good for your child. Do not criticize your child or discourage them when they want to quit an activity.

Come Up With An Alternate Plan

Make a list of activities, pick something, and just try it. You can nudge them by saying ‘If you don’t pick something, I’m picking something for you, and if you don’t like it, you’ll never have to do it again’. Often, hobby or vocation choices are made basis popularity in the media. Allow them to try from a range of sports or hobbies before settling in. Encourage them to do what interests them.

What do you think? Do children need to learn beyond the classroom?

Engage Them in Problem-Solving

Make lists of pros and cons together to help your child assess whether it’s time to quit and move forward. Remind them why they started the activity in the beginning. Take the time to talk about it, you’ll recognize the difference between a child wanting to quit for the right reasons or simply not persevering.

At the end of the day, perseverance and quitting are equally important. We have a cultural bias against quitting and tend to view it as cowardly. Quitting can be empowering and may open up newer avenues for your child’s development!

“Quitting is leading too”
— Nelson Mandela



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