When And How To Quit: Guiding A Child's Decision Making When They Want To Give Up
Mom, I Want To Quit Now!
When my grandson expressed his loss of interest in continuing his membership in a club, his mother was at a loss for words. She thought he enjoyed the weekly meetings, and this past summer hadn't he thoroughly enjoyed his camping experience? He couldn't stop talking about how much fun he had with the group. So over a phone call, she asked if we would talk to him about his decision to quit. And, could we just mention to him how important it is to keep commitments?
This discussion brought back memories of how much I loved playing the piano when I was a child, but I hated the weekly lessons. After three years, I was not dedicated to practicing and unmotivated to continue. Looking back, I now wish I would have continued on with my lessons, but what could my parents have done to change my mind? Or, was quitting the right thing to do at the time?
Quotes and Proverbs On The Subject Of Quitting
Failure is the path of least persistence. —Unknown
All things will come round to him who will but wait. —Longfellow
Work hard and give it your best shot; never be a quitter. —Charley Taylor
Hitch your wagon to a star. —Emerson
You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try. —Beverly Sills
Winners never quit and quitters never win. —Unknown
Do You Feel Like Quitting?
People Who Didn't Know How To Quit
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Role Modeling Perseverance Prevents A Quitting Attitude
My mother taught me perseverance when I was about eight years old. I wanted to learn to sew pretty dresses like the ones she made for me, but with my limited abilities as a child it was clear that I needed beginner's lessons. She handed me a square piece of cloth and a large blue button. By following her example, I managed to almost sew the button onto the cloth. Almost! I realized it was going to take some work to learn how to sew. I wanted to give in already.
However, my mother, seeing my disappointment, gave me some praise and encouraged me to try again. After several attempts, I did learn how to sew buttons tightly onto cloth. And I can hear my mother's voice in the shadows of my mind, "train up a child in the way he should go and, when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Book of Proverbs)
When we role model perseverance for our children, we teach them to do their best and to keep trying. Children are hesitant to take on new things, but we can encourage them through our positive role modeling around the home. When you face an obstacle or problem do you easily give in or do you try to find a solution?
Hearing a parent use positive speech during difficult times deepens a child's understanding of perseverance and strengthens a "can do" attitude. For example, using phrases like, "this is really hard work but I'm going to see this through to the end.", teaches your child that quitting is not an option.
Your support of your child's efforts will help him or her to learn perseverance. Here is the key, you must allow them to face the task alone, if you offer too much assistance it will lead to enabling behavior. My mother was wise to role model the skill of sewing and then to guide me through positive praise until I reached my goal.
Next time you get a chance, watch your child's behavior when she faces a challenge. How does she handle it? Does he think through the problem and try to find a solution on his own? Or, does he come running to you for assistance? If the task is something that they can handle, guiding them through the situation, and not doing it for them, will help them to develop creative problem solving skills and perseverance. This is a sure way to help them know the joy of accomplishing difficult tasks and that quitting is a last resort.
Books Leading To Discussions On Quitting
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When Is It OK To Quit?
This is the most difficult decision to make as a parent on behalf of a child. You are faced with a decision that could possibly make them a "quit for life" person. It will set a precedence for future attempts at learning new skills, joining team sports or clubs, keeping a job and other important life decisions. Too many people around us quit when the times get a little rough. They walk away from marriages, families, friendships, jobs, pregnancies and even personal beliefs. You want to help your child to make decisions based upon a good analysis of the problem and to see if there is a workable solution.
Consider the following questions in helping your child to make the decision to quit.
- Am I influencing my child in any way through my thoughts and actions. Am I saying things that are leading her to believe she is going to be harmed or disappointed in her efforts?
- Is the task appropriate for her age? Am I allowing her to be set up for failure? Will it provide her with a feeling of accomplishment?
- If I allow him to quit, will this set a standard for quitting future endeavors? Is this action a chucking of responsibility and commitment to his efforts?
- Is there something he is not telling me? Is someone not treating him well or a threat to him? Is there a hidden fear I am not seeing or believing?
- Do I need to support her with more enthusiasm? Will it make a difference to her in quitting the task or challenge?
- Is the task challenging enough for him? Perhaps the task, club, sport, etc., is leading to boredom.
After considering these guidelines, you may be led to allow your child to quit for good reason without guilt. Talking with your child about these ideas will help both of you to understand the whole picture and to make a good decision. You will allow your child to gain some understanding on how to use critical thinking skills in solving problems.
After Careful Consideration . . .
Have you ever quit something and knew it was the right thing to do?
© 2012 Dianna Mendez