As parents, we only want the best for our children, and we’ve been told time and time again the benefits that playing sports can have on our little ones’ lives. However, many parents face the day when their child turns around and expresses their wish to quit their sports team. Every parent deals with a tough decision: let them quit or encourage them to continue on in their sporting endeavor. If this sounds familiar to your current situation, consider the following facets to help your child stay committed.
Consider Who Originally Chose the Sport
Before throwing up your arms in confusion, take a step back and remember when the topic of this particular sport first arose. Did your child ask to play a particular sport? Or did you sign them up for something that was convenient and inexpensive? Perhaps you chose a sport that you loved as a child. Remember that your child is not your carbon copy. What you excelled in may not be something they enjoy, and it’s important to take their preferences into consideration; after all, they are the ones who have to suit up for practice and games, not you. As your child gets older, you’ll experience a great deal of pushback, as they learn their likes and dislikes. If they’re not passionate about the sport, forcing them to play won’t help—it may even make it worse.
Talk to Your Child
Don’t get angry, don’t guilt your child, and don’t jump to conclusions. The first step of action should be an open conversation. Sit down with your child and ask where their desire to quit is coming from. It may be that they’re burned out from the combination of daily practice and the demands of school, they may have a desire to try something else out, or perhaps there was an event that happened with the team or at practice that you’re not privy to. By encouraging this line of communication, you can show your child that you’re ultimately on his or her side and only looking out for his or her best interests.
Set New Goals
Setting new goals is important whether or not your child decides to continue on in their sporting career. If talking to your child results in a renewed desire to keep up with their sport, it’s important to capitalize on this time to help them remember why they joined in the first place, and point out the positives that dedication to their sport could have on their time. It could be an improved social life, college aspirations, or fitness. Have your child write down these reasons and frame them in their room or in the family room for a constant reminder of all the good they’re getting out of their favorite sport, even if they don’t always enjoy heading to those long practices. You can add incentive; it may be new equipment when they hit one of their goals. For example, say your daughter plays softball and has a goal of hitting her first homerun this season. Check out softball bats for sale, and let the idea of new gear inspire her even further. If your son is a soccer star, look for soccer cleats online—they might be just the thing to have him running harder in practice sprints. Having something tangible to look forward to can be a powerful motivator.
If in contrast, they decide they truly wish to no longer take part in their previously played sport, sit with them and make new goals in other areas. Are they looking to play a new sport? Or would they like to try something in the creative realm? This is often a great time to barter; many parents make a deal: they can quit their sport, as long as they replace the time spent with something productive in another way. It might be a creative class at a local college during the summer, it could be online art classes for kids on ThriveArt.com, or anything else they’ve expressed a genuine interest in. It may be up to you to find the positive; quitting doesn’t need to be a negative, it could be the door through which they find their next passion.