Should a Child Just Be Able to Quit?


When I was a kid, I usually wasn’t “in” anything (outside of school/church) because (a) I wasn’t keenly interested, (b) my parents didn’t push stuff, and (c) my parents didn’t have the means to pay fees or cart me (and my 2 siblings) around for extracurricular activities. I tried a few things and was allowed to quit. I happen to be an extreme introvert and having to do “social” stuff with people I wouldn’t necessarily choose as friends made me feel awkward. I couldn’t perform well if I did have talent, because of the social pressure. Bah! Even the individual activities was not for me because it would eventually involve performing, something I was too shy to do.

So, what did I do with my time? Sit on the couch and watch MTV? No. I did watch some TV, but I also taught myself how to play the piano, played with neighbors and siblings (I was actually very active as long as it was for fun), read, wrote prose and poetry, did crafts, helped around the house, earned my own spending money, and contemplated life a lot.

I do think I would have like to do something like gymnastics or Karate, but it’s no tragedy that I did not.

My daughter is currently in dance. She’s 9 and I feel that it’s very important to keep her active. With my child in today society, I feel I have to keep my daughter active year-around. And that means being in organized activities. Two nights and one morning per week are “organized” while the rest are unstructured. So far, it doesn’t seem like too much.

I won’t let my child just quit something unless they have an alternative they will attend. I have several reasons for this, actually. One, our life is hectic and the regular schedule helps to keep this mama sane! Two, my daughter needs to move and it’s too hard to find spontaneous opportunities throughout the year. As a full-time working mom, I can’t accommodate too many divergent choices! I believe that my child only tolerates dance and no longer enjoys it- I just don’t see that spark in her eye any longer. The alternative would be to sit for hours playing on IPAD or watching TV for hours. No thank you! I did choose programs that are purely recreational, so there’s no pressure, right?

I believe that a child should not be able to quit mid-season if quitting would mean letting down a team. Other than that, if my child wants to quit, I’d ask why. If it’s just some anxiety that will more than like be resolved by continuing to try, I’d totally discourage quitting. But mostly, I’d probably just ask, “What are your plans to stay active if you do decide to quit this?”

If you’d ask me again in a few years, I will probably have a different answer than I have today. But for now, I decide these things for my child.

Tammie Sauer is a thirty-nine year mom to her 9-year old daughter, Katie.  After divorcing her daughter’s biological dad 8 ½ years ago, she and Katie moved from Texas back to Oklahoma (which is where Tammie calls home) where she met her current husband in an ICU where they both worked.  They’ve been happily together ever since.  Married for three years now, they believed that the best next step would be for her husband to adopt her daughter, Katie.  Currently, they are in the process of the adoption and are adjusting to the many changes that come with this new family dynamic.  Tammie loves to cook, sew, and write.  Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter: @tammieandkatie.


4 thoughts on “Should a Child Just Be Able to Quit?

  1. I think it’s interesting in that you haven’t followed your parents’ style. And I didn’t really understand why the shift since you felt that you had a happy childhood without the structure, and you didn’t just watch TV. Is there a reason you don’t think your daughter could have that same, structure-less childhood?

    • I think that for some kids structure is necessary. My eldest was spiraling out of control last year. We had her sign up for extracurricular activities to keep her from dwelling on the bad stuff. My other daughter is a different story! She has anxiety and we have to be careful that she doesn’t take on too much.

  2. I love this. I firmly believe a child should not be able to quit mid-season either. We had a rule growing up in our house because my twin brother and I were always every active: no quitting. If you find out you don’t like something, well guess what? You made the choice and to commitment to participate in the activity, so you will see it through. If after that season of whatever sport or activity was done, then the following year, we did not have to join/sign up again. It teaches responsibility and commitment. Just because you end up not liking something, or think it’s too hard, or “not fun” does not give you a reason to just walk away. Life does not allow you to do that.

  3. We, too, have a rule about not quitting mid-season. It’s important for kids to learn to follow through and to know that when they’re part of a team, they have a responsibility to it. It’s also powerful when a kid discovers something they aren’t good at, but still finishes the season out. Every season we discuss, but every season they’re all doing something.

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