Quitting Extracurricular Activities: When to Say 'Enough' (page 2)

Quitting Extracurricular Activities: When to Say

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Updated on May 28, 2013

Defer the Decision. Sometimes, doing nothing is the best course of action. If you’ve paid non-refundable fees or your sports star is committed to a team, consider forcing her to see the season through, unless the reason for quitting is so severe (bullying for example) that continuing isn’t wise. Giving it some time before you make the final decision may also change your kid’s attitude. If she feels the same after a few months, you’ll know quitting is the right choice.

Assess Ability. What if your child is unusually talented? Should you allow her to waste talent that could potentially earn a scholarship or allow her to compete at an elite level? First, you have to decide if your little athlete really is that talented. This isn’t something you can decide alone, and Nelson says even coaches can't be trusted here, because they may have a financial stake in your kid. Only a disinterested third party, or measure of accomplishment—winning high-level competitions, for example—can tell you if your child’s abilities are unusual. Nelson says that most highly talented kids stay motivated, but parents should be sure that their children are motivated to follow their own dreams—not yours. If your youngster is only doing an activity to please you, she won’t stay interested for very long. She has to want it herself to be truly motivated.

Ultimately, parents are driven by what will be best for their child in the long term. If your child doesn’t want it, you’ll be doing more harm than good by insisting on the issue. A little push or some motivational incentives can be good, but if she’s determined to stop, you won’t achieve anything but resentment by forcing her to continue. And as the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder, so who knows? After a break, your kid might realize how much fun that activity was after all.

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