Children and teenagers who play a sport may at some point decide to quit. This decision can become a big challenge for parent-child relationships. Sports quickly becomes a huge part of your family’s life and a significant portion of family’s expenses: practices several days a week, traveling to competitions, buying costly equipment, not to mention many of your child’s friends are a part of his team. This is why after a long period of child’s being in a sport quitting may to be painful for his parents, especially if their child is a promising athlete. Anyway, your main role as a parent is to support your child and her decisions, so that she knows you'll by her side, right or wrong. So, does this matter that you should just let your child quit the sport? Of course not - your main goal as a parent is to work through this situation with the child and make this as positive experience as it could be. Below you’ll find 6 things to do if your child wants to quit a sport in order to help your child go through this and make the right decision.
- Let your child talk and listen active. Listening is the key word - at the very first stage let your child know that you completely understand her feelings so you can learn more about why your child wants to quit. When a child understands that his feelings and opinion matter it helps him to maintain a positive attitude towards the situation and be more cooperative on the quitting matter.
- Identify the main reason why your child wants to quit. Children may want to quit a sport for different reasons, for example when they are not experiencing improvement or they don’t have good relationships with other team members, or they feel like they aren’t good enough for the team or they don’t like the coach. They also may want to quit because they want to try another sport or extracurricular activity, or just spend more time with their friends and family.
- Talk to other parents to figure out if there are the same issues with other children in the team. Attempt to speak to as many parents as possible. In order to provoke honest responses refrain from hasty appraisal judgments, just explain that you are trying to help your child to handle the situation. If you figured out that other kids in your child’s team experience the same problems, you’ll probably have more chances to resolve the problem if you involve the coach or other related staff or sometimes even the owner of the business.
- Think over if it is possible to eliminate the reason why a child wants to quit sports. Now when you have found out the real reason your child wants to quit you might be able to come up with a solution. In most cases there is something that can be done to make your child more comfortable with his sports experience. Discuss with your child the ways that can make the difference towards his attitude to his sport. You may decide to change a gym, a team or a coach, or take less classes to free up time for any other activities or just for the rest.
- Talk to your child to explain the real commitment. If your child really wants to quit in the middle of the season, talk about the importance of her having a responsibility to her team and need to finish out the season, to honor the commitment she made to her teammates. Immediate quitting should be saved whenever possible for times when your child’s physical or emotional health is being affected. In this way you show your child that you accept quitting with conditions and thus become on his side.
- Let them quit. Sometimes, despite your best efforts and those of your child, you’ll find that a certain sport is simply a bad fit. Explain your child that after quitting sport must be replaced with a healthy and beneficial activity - not playing video games and watching TV. At this point, you may just have to let them quit. Ask yourself as a parent, “why I want my child to play this particular sport or to be a part of this particular team?”. When you’ll get the answer, you’ll be able to start looking for many other ways to realize your dreams without making decisions for your child.
Allowing your child to express her feelings and make her own decisions to find her place is an important part of parenting. That's why when your child wants to quit a sport, it is important to let her do so. This adds up to a child’s self-esteem and sense of self. Support your child's decisions and be there for him. Let your child know that whatever activity he chooses, you will be there, supporting her.