How to Quit the Quitting Habit: Why Kids Give Up Too Early and What to Do About It
Mistakes aren’t the end of the world—they’re a marvelous, messy, necessary part of it. Quitting before you can fail is a natural impulse, but forgoing failure means shutting down a whole world of invaluable lessons and confidence-building successes.
Fortunately, we’re experts on transforming mistakes into awesome opportunities to learn. Here are some common reasons kids throw in the towel, along with helpful hints for keeping them on track to try boldly, fail bravely and try, try again.
Some Of The Top Reasons Kids Give Up
Many of the great excitements of childhood—things like learning to ride a bike, making new friends, trying out for a team, or tackling new concepts in school—are exciting precisely because success isn’t a sure thing right out of the gate.
Some setbacks that may make kids want to throw in the towel:
- Lack of progress
- Perception that they’re not progressing at the same pace as their peers
- Apprehension around letting down a team
- Being scolded by a coach, teacher, parent, or other authority figure
- Parental expectations are too high
When adults help kids to view their mishaps as opportunities to grow and persist rather than reasons to quit, kids learn that failure isn’t forever. The next time your kid experiences one of the setbacks of childhood, you have an exciting opportunity to help them become more determined and reflective.
How to Prevent Your Kids from Quitting Early
At the beginning, learning new things can feel like a real undertaking. One of the best ways to help kids to stick with it is to prepare them for the learning curve. Have a chat about what’s coming up and introduce the possibility that your child will struggle—and that that’s totally okay. Questions like “What do you think will be your biggest challenge?” and “If that happens, what are some ways you might try to overcome it?” will help your child understand that they’re not expected to excel right away and communicate the importance of being determined.
Test It Out
You’ve got a game plan. You’ve talked with your kid about some challenges they might encounter. They’ve come up with ideas on how they’ll overcome setbacks. They’re excited. They’re ready. And of course, things may not go exactly according to plan. Your kid could encounter an obstacle they hadn’t anticipated or stumble in some unexpected way. Fear not; it’s all part of the process.
Check in with your child from time to time, focusing on learning more about how they’re feeling about their new undertaking. Here are some questions to get you started:
- I heard you practicing violin last night. How’s that going for you?
- What’s something you love about this?
- What’s one challenge you didn’t anticipate? How are you working to overcome it?
- Are you pleased with your progress so far?
- What’s something you’re excited to learn?
If your kid expresses their desire to bring down the curtain on something, show them that you’re listening to their point of view. Work with them to understand the challenges they’re feeling, and give them space to share with you without the pressure of action planning right away. Whatever you do, be careful not to confuse your child’s goals and interests with your own.
If a child is truly having a hard time with something, the job of a parent is to be there for them.Show your kid that you’re proud of them for being courageous and determined by trying something new, even though it’s hard. This normalizes struggle, reinforces the idea that failure is not a permanent state of being, and fosters strong self-esteem to keep pursuing this endeavor (and others).
Sometimes kids can articulate their thought process around quitting. If they explain the pros and cons, consider alternatives. Demonstrate your desire for them to stick it out and commend them for thinking critically.
Present Different Scenarios
Help your child understand all the choices available to them. For example, they might love gymnastics, but not the kids in their group. Quitting gymnastics altogether is one option, but so is working to improve their relationship with their peers. If it’s something more than your average tween tiff, you may explore other options together, like moving to another timeslot or changing clubs.
In most cases, quitting is just one of many possible options. Normalize struggle, encourage kids to think proactively about potential challenges, and support them as they work through setbacks. Your kids will emerge more confident, more self-assured, and better equipped to persist when the going gets tough.
At Galileo, we believe it’s essential for kids to approach obstacles with courage and determination. And the best part? We think it’s a whole lot of fun, too.. Our enthusiastic and talented staff are passionate about encouraging our campers to think and act like innovators, all while having the time of their lives. To learn more about camp locations in your area, click the button below.