Skip Nav

Should You Let Your Child Quit?

Should You Let Your Child Quit?

When her son decided he didn’t want to be in Cub Scouts after she’d invested a couple years in the activity as his Den Leader, Circle of Moms member Lori S. wondered if she should push him to press on. “Should I force him to continue?” she wondered, fretting that not doing so would teach him that it's okay to be a quitter.

When it comes to quitting, whether the activity is scouts, sports, or violin lessons, there’s no single answer that works for every child. Here's how Circle of Moms members decide what to do when a child’s attention lapses and he wants out.

Find Out Why

Before you put your foot down and demand your child stay in soccer, or feel like you are raising your arms in defeat by letting him quit the team, do some digging to find out what is causing his discontent. “Find out why he lost interest,” says JuLeah W. "Figuring out what is not working about the situation and improving that can make all the difference.”

Mercy K. agrees, adding: “Children need to be heard too,” she says. “It boosts their ego and confidence to know their opinions are heard. Have a talk with your son and get to hear his side of story. You might be shocked. He may change his mind when you both air your views about the matter. Do not insist if he doesn't agree. Let him follow his heart as he might [continue the activity] out of obligation and never be happy."

Explore Alternatives

Instead of just letting your child quit and head for the couch and remote control, several Circle of Moms members suggest helping him find a new activity. As Carolyn S.  explains, it's more appropriate to view a child's change of heart about an activity as a sign of growth and an opportunity to try something else. “Kids do take a while to figure out what they really like. They also may take many different paths before finding the one that's right for them. I would not look at it as quitting, just changing. Which he will do a bunch of as he grows up.”


Debra A. agrees and urges moms to try to spark different interests. “I don't think forcing is going to help,” says Debra A. “What kinds of activities does he do at home? Maybe you can expand on those interests. Take him to museums, theater, plays, and music events and see if anything there creates a spark. My youngest daughter didn't explore any avenue of interests while in high school and it led her nowhere. By that age, I couldn't push her getting involved because she simply didn't want to. I wish that I would have shown her more while she was young in order to give her a broader outlook on things.”

Reasons to Let Your Child Quit

You know your child best and if she isn’t interested in a sport or extracurricular activity, forcing her to participate can develop even further resistance, a point that several Circle of Moms members stress. It can also backfire on you, as Kim S. shares. "Personally I don't [think you should force a child to play]. My son played football for a year and because we pushed him so hard he lost interest.”

Forcing a child to commit to an activity they dislike also sets a mom up for constant arguing. As Sandy G. shares, “If your child doesn't have any interest in doing it and you force the issue, you're just setting yourself up for a battle every time it's time to go."

Heather M. agrees that forcing a disinterested kids to continue at a sport is a particularly bad idea. “Not only will they resent you for it in the long run, they will probably be less inclined to pay attention, which could result in injuring themselves or others. The kids who are very into it will resent the kid who is taking valuable playing time and/or makes a costly error that loses the game. I’ve seen it time and time again with my son's competitive baseball teams. You can always spot the kids who eat, sleep, and breathe baseball versus the ones that are there because mom or dad wants them to play.”


Reasons to Force Your Child to Stick It Out

Then there are the diehard moms who say whether your child wants to or not, it is important to make him push through and stay in the sport or activity because it teaches him not to quit in life. If they start, they must finish. “I feel that if a child asks to join something and signs up they should be made to stick it out until it’s over,” says Sandy T.

Stacey C. and Julie M. agree: “I have been through this with my daughter, " shares Stacey. "She was a wrestler and had done it for a few years, was very talented and won many tournaments and titles. Then one day she just wanted to quit. I refused to let her quit that season, I made her see it through." Julie M. tells her kids that once they start something they have to finish it. “This will teach them to follow through and finish instead of quitting when things get hard, because we all know life isn’t easy.”

Gillian B. also insists her daughter “honor her commitment.” As she explains, "To let her quit halfway through would be giving her permission to give up." She tells her daughter, "When this season/session is over, it’s your choice if you want to sign up again. Until then, you have made a promise to the coach and your teammates to be there. You have to finish the season."

Have you let your child drop out of a sport or activity?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Latest Family