This article originally appeared on the MommyNearest mobile app where I am an “Expert Mom” and weekly contributor. To read great daily content and find the best places to hang out with your kids in the Chicago and New York metropolitan areas, download the app HERE for free.
Whether your children are involved in sports, music, theater or academics, most extra curricular or recreational activities involve being committed to a team. Often times, kids can become bored with the same routines and activities. This leads to a continued lack of interest and, in some cases, the desire to drop the activity altogether. So, we ask, is it acceptable for children to give up in the middle of something that they’ve committed to?
When my daughter Maggie was five, we learned about a no-audition theater company in Naperville called Kidz Kabaret. She was intrigued at the idea of singing, dancing, and acting on stage. After learning what would be required of her should she want to participate in an upcoming show, Maggie understood that it was a big time commitment and yet she still wanted me to sign her up.
The production that she would be a part of was “The Wizard of Oz” and she was cast in several supporting roles, some of which had a few lines of dialogue to remember. Additionally, she had several songs and dances with choreography that she would need to learn. The rehearsal season for a show is about ten weeks, once per week, and then it intensifies in the last two weeks as the cast practices on stage with costumes and sets.
About eight weeks in, Maggie came to me tearfully and said that she wanted to quit. She was frustrated at the amount of work, she didn’t like that she had to practice at home, and “it was hard”. I gently reminded her that we talked about the work that would be involved before she had even signed up and that she made a commitment to her cast. I explained to her that it was important she finish what she started and if she really didn’t enjoy the experience after she was finished, she would not have to participate again.
Maggie fought through it and ended up loving the experience so much that she has gone on to participate in five additional shows. But the story isn’t in that she found an activity that she truly loves. No, the real story is that I didn’t let her off the hook when she was getting frustrated by the increasing demands of the program. I didn’t allow her to quit on neither herself nor her team. As parents, we usually only want our kids to be happy, regardless of the impact on others. We never want to see them struggle, but, for me, teaching my daughters that honoring commitments to others is a valuable tool that will only benefit them later on in life.
So, I ask you, would you have let your child quit? Have you ever been faced with a similar situation and how did you handle it?