03 Aug
Quitters Never Win? Guess Again.

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My soon-to-be-in-high school daughter joined the cross country team for her new school. From the first day of practice she has hated it and wants to quit. Do I let her become a quitting quitter or do I stand behind her and push?

Signed,

Push? Or Pull?

___________

Dear Push or Pull,

Your question is one that all parents face at least once in their child’s life. For example, when I was a kid I wanted to quit my clarinet lessons, but my parents wouldn’t let me because they’d just shelled out $100.00 for the god-forsaken instrument, and they thought it was important for me to stick it out. Fortunately, after two weeks of me playing music that sounded like a pair of horny wildebeests mating in a Nigerian cesspool, they began to see things my way and allowed me to stop my lessons. I, and every other human being within in a 10-mile radius, was very relieved.

Now that I’m an adult, do I regret not learning the clarinet? Well, yes and no. “Yes,” because I missed my chance to later get a tight, spiral perm and become the shiksa Kenny G. But also “no” because after I quit the lessons, I found my passion for playing high school basketball and went on to become the skiksa Dr. J. (What can I say? I gots game.)

I tell you that story because while I fully believe parents need to instill the traits of perseverance and commitment in their children, they also need to know that not every activity is going to be a perfect fit. Cross-country running   requires a ton of dedication, and luckily, your daughter realized this before she got too far into it. (And hopefully before you paid too much into it.) Therefore, while I wouldn’t ordinarily advocate quitting a team where others depend on you, in this case I say no harm, no foul. Let it go.

The next time she wants to try something new, let her know your expectations from the beginning, and tell her that you feel it’s crucial she sees something through to completion. Chances are she’ll find her “thing” soon enough.

And for your sake, let’s hope to God it’s not the clarinet.

Sincerely,

Wendi, TMH

5 Responses to “Quitters Never Win? Guess Again.”

08.03.09#1

Comment by Kay.

My son did the same thing with soccer – and I was the “you have to finish what you started” mom. By the end of the season? We couldn’t stand each other.
After that? He knew the rule. If he wanted to sign up for something, he was expected to complete a certain number of weeks or lessons before I would even consider letting him make the decision to give it up.
Since she hated it from day one, I’d let it go… or this is going to be one LONG season for both you and her!!!

08.03.09#2

Comment by christy.

Awesome response. My parents let me quit a few things before I found my niche too – thank god – no one wants to hear me screech my way through violin practice – no one!

08.03.09#3

Comment by GrandeMocha.

The rule at my house is you have to finish what mommy paid for. Gymnastics lessons were month to month. At the end of each month I would ask if he wanted another month, when he said no, we stopped. He wanted to quit during rehersals for a show. I said no, but you don’t ever have to do another show.

I say make the kid pay you back for whatever you have invested in CC and let her quit THEN.

08.03.09#4

Comment by grandmother of 5.

I totally agree with Kay—-Im glad I havent had to finish all the things I have started that “looked and sounded fun” until I saw it wasnt for me—-If quitting becomes a habit–then I agree with GrandeMocha!!!!!!

08.07.09#5

Comment by Heather.

My son, the wildlife warrior one, would like for you to play the clarinet. He wants to know what mating wildebeests sound like.

Consider Checking Out...