Thursday, August 27, 2009

When is it OK to Quit?


We are not quitters. Our family motto is Never Ever Ever Give Up (or something like that). I'd love to quit a few things. In fact I have a whole list of things to quit. I'd like to quit dishes, cooking, laundry, I should really quit the Ben and Jerry's.... anyway, you get my point. Besides, this post isn't about me, although I'm beginning to think it should be.

Anyway, my question is this: When is it OK to let your child quit something?

I think we are going to let Will quit playing the violin. He has played for a year and a half and the only reason he ever wanted to play was because his little brother Henry started playing. He hates it, and I hate the fight over practice and lessons. It is just not fun. I should say though, that he has the most beautiful long fingers and neck and is physically built to play the violin. He does quite well when he's not fighting it .... It is just not for him.

Many of you know that I played violin as a kid. In fact, I played all through high school, college, and graduate school, played professionally and taught. And then I QUIT.... after all that I quit. The analysis of me as a quitter is probably best suited for a post all on it's own so I'll get back to the question at hand.

When is it OK to quit? You can't do everything forever. How do you encourage stick-to-it-ive-ness (isn't that a word?) and still allow your child the opportunity to move on? What message do they take away? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this issue.


comments

19 Responses to "When is it OK to Quit?"
  1. Childhood said...
    August 27, 2009 at 7:49 AM

    I think what you did is right... your child wanted to TRY something. I think that is the key. He TRIED it out on his own accord and didn't like it.

    You know what? He will find something else to TRY and he will like it and he won't quit.

    Doesn't he do Tae Kwon Do or something?

    I think you are nurturing a healthy desire to try new things rather than saying it's OK to quit.

  2. Knit Purl Gurl said...
    August 27, 2009 at 7:51 AM

    I think in life, nothing is forever. It is okay to quit or rather set things aside as priorities change. I encourage my kids to "try" things. To get a sense of what they like and what they don't like. And just because I put my DS in soccer, doesn't mean he will love it or excel at it. So I think it's okay sometimes to dabble. Kids need to understand that pursuing hobbies and interests makes them a more rounded person. But if they hate it, sometimes it just strengthens their resolve not to try other things. I think you exposed him to something that he obviously has a talent for, but he doesn't like it. So I don't consider that quitting. I consider that you giving him options and exposing him to things he may not have tried on his own. :)

  3. abc123vn said...
    August 27, 2009 at 7:57 AM

    Aaron and I have talked about this and what we will do when a situation like this shows itself at our house. While we have a while before we have to deal with this, we have decided that we think if they WANT to sign up to do something they have to stick it out for a season or a semester depending on what it is - sports a season, any lesson type things what amounts to a semester (usually if you pay for lessons for a specific period of time they are cheaper so for that period of time)but what we have not decided on yet is if it is something that we signed them up for without their input - which will probably happen BEFORE they choose their own things. We hope that they use the time to decide what they really like and don't like before they get old enough to really over schedule themselves plus give them a chance to try new things and keep the commitments they make for the time they made the commitment - such as they committed to play baseball for a season not for their whole life so they play for that season but never have to play again if they don't want to. Just my 2 cents plus some...hehe

  4. Michele McGraw (ScrappinMichele) said...
    August 27, 2009 at 8:27 AM

    Fiona - You didn't quit playing the violin. You moved onto other things. Quitting to me is when you don't even try.

    And with kids, they try things for all sorts of reason. I think 18 months is a long time in kid years and if he found the violin is not for him, then let him move onto something else. He's not quitting.

    And while I'd love to say that it's as easy as if they choose it, they finish it. Sometimes it's not. Have you ever signed up for something and then just found it wasn't feasible to do and then changed your mind? I have. I think of it as a learning experience and not quitting.

    My DD asked for 2 years in a row to take dance starting at age 3 and she screamed and it was torture once it started. Both times, we pulled her out because it was not fun for anyone to listen to her scream. But each year she gives it a try again. I hope I'm teaching her that if at first you don't succeed, try try again.

    And you never know, in a few years, Henry may decide he likes the violin and want to go back.

  5. Randi Troxell said...
    August 27, 2009 at 8:39 AM

    even though i have no kids yet... i think he did a great job by TRYING for a year and half... and if he hates it this much... then i dont think its for him...

  6. septembermom said...
    August 27, 2009 at 9:32 AM

    I think you're making the right decision. He did give it a try for a significant amount of time. I'm sure that he did learn and grow from the experience. Maybe there is another instrument in his future.

  7. Mrs Cooper said...
    August 27, 2009 at 9:39 AM

    The rules I give my kids have always been, you get 2 weeks of practice. if you can't swing it you can quit. If you make it through the month, you have to finish til the season is over. Can't quit just because you don't like the coach or it's too hard. You have to quit because you can't balance practice and homework and studying. And believe me I'll know. Is that too strict????

  8. Cheryl said...
    August 27, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    It is hard for me to let my kids quit anything. My rule is to finish the season if it is a sport, or school year if it is a school thing. My daughter wanted to quit Soccer after 2 years, and she was really good. It just wasn't her thing. I let her quit even though I was bummed. Sometimes we have to roll with it. Even though sometimes it is hard.

  9. Shady Lady said...
    August 27, 2009 at 10:11 AM

    I don't see that as quitting. He had never played before. He tried it and now he's done. My parents decided that I would take swimming lessons. I hated it. I didn't want to go. I told them. I cried. They made me...for years. Now I hate the water.

    I took piano lessons and decided to quit them, too. Do I regret it? Yes. I wish I could play now, but if I really, really wanted to I could still take lessons.

    Just my two cents!

  10. La'Tonya Richardson said...
    August 27, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    You made a very good argument, he hates it,and it's not fun, and only want to play because his little brother plays. That's good enough reason!

    Barry Sanders, walked away from professional football, and millions of dollars because it was no longer fun for him.

  11. Brandy said...
    August 27, 2009 at 12:24 PM

    I haven't had any children who want to quit at anything yet, but I would like to believe that if they have given it a try and feel it's not for them well then let them move on. I believe every child should get to experience a bit of every skill and see what makes them happy and if the current skill has been tried for enough time, well then it has been long enough for them to determine if they like it or not ;-)

    Great post btw! Wonderful tips/points!

  12. Jendi said...
    August 27, 2009 at 12:45 PM

    I think it's fine to let him stop taking violin and try something else.

    Hey - if I play piano for a Casual Friday will you dig out your violin and play something? Dare ya...

  13. Jennifer said...
    August 27, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    If he doesn't have the heart for it, then there's no point in continuing lessons. It's time to pull him out and save yourself some time and money. It's not quitting, especially if he's been at it for over a year!

  14. Heatherlyn said...
    August 27, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    I think part of being a kid is trying something new and finding out if it is the right thing for you. So if he really hates it, he can quit.

    That having been said, we wouldn't let our kids quit a sport in the middle of a season. They'd have to finish it off to the end of the season.

    And our kids don't have a choice about the piano. None of them HATE it though. But they are stuck with that one. It's just good for their brains. And everyone whoever quit the piano regrets it.

    There might be a different musical intstrument he likes better.

    Did you actually quit or just get really busy? It seems that you could pick it up and play again if you wanted to. :)

  15. Laoch of Chicago said...
    August 27, 2009 at 1:02 PM

    There are so many interesting things to do in this life that it is fine to pursue only the things that exhilarate you and not pursue things which do not interest you.

  16. Peggy said...
    August 27, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Fiona;

    I think you can quit when you're done. It can come at any time during the process. When I say done, I mean when you give it all that you can and you have nothing more to give...you're done.
    I believe in fighting til the end, but my end not beating a dead horse so to speak!
    BTW i invited you to a meme over on my blog. Hope you can join!

  17. WhisperingWriter said...
    August 27, 2009 at 3:09 PM

    I personally think you should quit when something stops being fun.

    My parents forced me to stay in piano lessons even though I started to hate it. I was miserable. I vowed never to do that to my kids.

  18. Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...
    August 27, 2009 at 5:05 PM

    I don't think you can consider him being a 'quitter' when he's tried it for a year-and-a-half...had he only tried it for a day-and-a-half, then maybe he could be labeled...but not since he's given it his best shot! :) If he doesn't enjoy it, and it's no longer fun for him, it's definitely time to quit and find something he loves and can be passionate about. :)

  19. Connie Weiss said...
    August 28, 2009 at 6:31 AM

    I think if they absolutely hate it...they should quit.

    When I was growing up, my parents were given an old piano and I was taken to lessons. The teach taught the Suzuki style lessons and it was too hard for my little 10 year old brain. And her breath smelled like dog poo.

    Later they had a different lady teach me and she was from our church and made me play hymns. I hated that too. I wanted to play FUN music.

    Long story short...I loved playing the piano but the instructors I had made me HATE it.

    Does he really hate it? Or is there something about the learning process that he doesn't like?

 

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