“I wanna quit!”
Almost every parent out there has heard these words, or a form of these words, from their child at one time or another. What do you do when your child wants to quit?
Certainly every circumstance is different. We all agree that we want to teach our kids perseverance and tenacity. Romans 5:4, teaches us that perseverance builds character. But, rather than giving your child a simple yes or no answer here are a few questions to consider when your child is wanting to quit:
- Is this an activity that is crucial to the core of their faith or development? There might be times in your family when your child says, “I hate school. I wanna quit”, or “I hate church and I don’t want to go anymore.” In our family, both of those were non negotiable. School isn’t optional until they’re 18. If you’re child says they hate school, listen! Then discuss other options for school but the bottom line is school has to be a part of their life until they’re about 18. Similarly, with church we helped our kids understand that our faith in God as a family was very important to us and that church was not optional until they were out on their own.
Different activities at church were optional. For example, in one of the churches we served, they had Music Makers. Basically, Music Makers was a children’s choir program. Our son hated it. After lengthy discussions and a fair trail of the program, we let him quit. Music Makers wasn’t crucial – it was optional.
- Who are the adults involved in the situation? I think this question is important for several reasons. At the most basic level you should know every adult involved in your child’s life because they may or may not be the person you want influencing your child. Secondly, the adult might be able to shed further light on why your child wants to quit.
When one of our daughters wanted to quit soccer, we first allowed her to vent all her feelings. Most of her feelings about quitting involved the coach. In discussions with her coach we began to understand that the coach was not a good fit for our daughter and that she had valid reasons to feel frustrated. But, we didn’t want her to quit immediately. The coach was not dangerous. He was simply not a good fit for our daughter. After talking with her and her coach we encouraged her to finish the season and then assured her she could quit.
- How long have you felt this way? This question is important because kids often feel like they want to quit something after one bad day. In that case help your child to understand that everyone has rough days but that with perseverance the rough days can turn into good days.
It’s important to be listening to your child and to track how long they’ve been saying they want to quit. For example, if your desire is for them to stick with piano lessons and you keep hearing them say they hate piano, it’s time to analyze if you’re really listening to the desires of their heart or your heart. Teach your kids to give different activities a fair shot in terms of time they try it but then, if they really don’t enjoy something let them pick something different.
As you listen to your child’s heart and desires, ask God continually for wisdom. As you bow before Him and genuinely ask Him for wisdom, he will allow you to listen to your child’s heart more intently and to help your child make wise decisions. I’d love to hear from you and so would the other parents who read this blog. How have you dealt with those words, “I wanna quit!”