Being a parent is a balancing act on so many levels. One area that I struggle the most with is knowing when to push my kids to persevere, and when to let them quit. I want them to be committed when they sign up for something, but I also want them to be able to bow out if they are in above their head. How do we know what the best choice is? It depends on the circumstances, of course.
My husband and I decided a few years ago that we would take up skiing as a family. I skied sporadically with friends as a teenager, and he’d never been on skis a day in his life, but there’s a ski hill less than an hour away from our house and it seemed like a sport we could enjoy as a family. We enrolled the kids (and us) in lessons and made our way to the hill for said lessons.
The first day of lessons for the kids was a hard one. There were tears (Many, many tears) and while I don’t like to see my kids cry, I knew that it was one of those situations where I had to walk away and leave it to the experts. When we met for lunch, the kids had dry eyes and had found their balance. By day three of their lessons, they were off of the bunny hill and taking the chair lifts to ski down mountain runs. Now, they can ski black diamond runs without even thinking about it. If I’d let them quit that first day, they’d never have known the joy and excitement they now live when we go skiing.
My three kids are in their second year of piano lessons, and they’ve all caught on quickly. Two of them have an “ear” and can sit and play music without using books that sounds beautiful. The other kid is good as well, and has learned so much, but isn’t so excited about it. I want him to complete at least two more years, because every pianist I know said they went through periods of hating lessons but are now so thankful that they completed lessons and can now play any piece of music put in front of them.
We have a lot of discussion before signing up for things, which helps our kids to own whatever they’re signed up for, but they still sometimes want to quit. We reinforce the reasons why they need to not quit.
How do you handle it when your kids want to quit?