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When Your Child Wants to Quit: 4 ways to balance your desires with their decision

If your child wants to quit a sport or activity, it should ultimately be their decision.

In the world of parenting, one of the age-old battles revolves around a common scenario: a child wanting to quit a sport or activity while the parent is determined to make them stay.

Mental Performance Coach Ashely Kuchar suggests that parents need to detach from the outcome and allow their child to make their own decision.

Reach out to Ashley at for expert help in handling these tough conversations.


How to Help Your Child Make a Decision When They Want to Quit

Understanding the Reasons

The first step in addressing this challenge is understanding the underlying reasons why a child wants to quit. According to Ashley, the primary reason often boils down to one simple word: fun. When a child no longer finds an activity enjoyable, it can stem from various factors such as pressure, conflicts with friends, or an overly demanding coach. The key is to dig deep and discover the real cause.

Psychological Factors

Parents might wonder if there are specific psychological factors at play that make children more prone to wanting to quit during certain stages of their lives. While it can vary from child to child, there may be times when kids feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of a task. It’s essential to consider their perspective and emotions, especially when dealing with younger children who might not fully understand why they feel uncomfortable.

Empowering Decision-Making

Ashley emphasizes that the ultimate decision should rest with the child, but parents play a crucial role in guiding them through the process. Parents should encourage open dialogue, asking questions like: why do you want to quit? What are the pros and cons? What’s beneath these feelings? Even if a child struggles to express themselves, it’s essential to help them explore their emotions and motivations.

Exploring Options

One of the keys to resolving this issue is to provide children with options. If a child wants to quit because they’re not having fun, parents can help them find alternative ways to enjoy themselves or build friendships. Perhaps trying a different sport, taking a break, or talking to a coach could lead to a change in perspective. It’s important to consider what will benefit the child most.

Quitting Criteria

Determining when it’s acceptable for a child to quit can be challenging. While it’s natural for parents to establish quitting criteria, such as completing a season, these criteria should be flexible. If the child’s well-being is at stake, sticking to rigid rules might not be the best approach. The focus should be on ensuring a positive experience for the child.

Detachment and Growth

Throughout this process, parents should practice detachment, putting their child’s well-being ahead of their own desires. It’s crucial to remember that regret, if it arises, can be an opportunity for learning and growth. By approaching the decision thoughtfully and with support, the likelihood of regret diminishes.

Helping children navigate when they want to quit sports and activities requires a delicate balance of understanding, empathy, and thoughtful decision-making. Ashley’s advice highlights the importance of empowering children to make their choices while offering guidance and support. By following these principles, parents can navigate this challenging aspect of parenting and help their children thrive.

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