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Would you allow your kid to quit? (I did not name the activity because I know from experience that some people have very specific beliefs about it & it will likely affect their arguments.)

Edited by RootAnn
Removed most of my post but left main question for context
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Given that no one is "depending" on his contribution, then, yes, I would let my kid quit.  Depending on the situation, I might require my kid to "finish the season" if that sort of thing would apply, but generally, if a kid isn't happy choosing an activity and there are not promises/commitments involved, then I think that knowing when to walk away from a situation is a valuable a lesson as knowing when to stay to support your team.  

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Yes, I would let him quit.

He gave it a fair shot and stuck with it for a year and a half. That's long enough to get a sense of whether it's a good fit for him.

I see childhood as a time to try out different things. It may take several tries to find one's passion. Let him explore the different things the world has to offer.

Edited by regentrude
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Yes, I would let him quit. I read your post as if *I* was the one who started an activity and later decided I didn’t want to continue.  No matter how good I was, of course I would let myself drop it.  And I would want to give my kids the same respect.   
‘I’ve even quit multiple volunteer activities just because I had grown weary of them.  It’s ok to move on. 

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1 minute ago, Annie G said:

Yes, I would let him quit. I read your post as if *I* was the one who started an activity and later decided I didn’t want to continue.  No matter how good I was, of course I would let myself drop it.  And I would want to give my kids the same respect.   

This. I wouldn't even stay for 18 months with a hobby I didn't enjoy. Most adults wouldn't. 

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After a year and a half, I would let him. Though if he were mid session or season, we would finish out to that end. That said, I might push for a replacement activity depending on what kind of role it was fulfilling for us (physical, social, educational, etc)

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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For our kids, an activity with the criteria you  mentioned (no one depending on him, not part of a team, nothing falls apart if he stops, etc.), we'd probably allow him to quit. 

In thinking about my son and his activity, I'd probably let him quit, although in his case, we pay per month for his activity, so if we'd paid for that month, we'd make him finish it, ya know? Or if he mentioned it at the end of a month, I'd probably ask him to give it a few more tries to be certain and then allow him to quit before the next bill/payment was due. 

If it *were* a thing with a team commitment, or recital, or performance, or anything of that nature, we'd make him stick it out until after the ending thing. 

Also, if it were a physical activity, and his only physical activity of any sort, we would make him choose *something* (even if just at home exercise on a regular basis, bike riding, dog walking, etc.) to replace it so he wasn't losing that aspect. Or, if it were his *only* outside/social interaction outside the family, at all, likewise we'd make him replace it with something (but then that could be church, youth group, a friend group, etc.). 

Basically, yes, you can quit, but no, you can't isolate yourself from people &/or become a couch potato. 

 

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14 minutes ago, TheReader said:

 

Also, if it were a physical activity, and his only physical activity of any sort, we would make him choose *something* (even if just at home exercise on a regular basis, bike riding, dog walking, etc.) to replace it so he wasn't losing that aspect. Or, if it were his *only* outside/social interaction outside the family, at all, likewise we'd make him replace it with something (but then that could be church, youth group, a friend group, etc.). 

Basically, yes, you can quit, but no, you can't isolate yourself from people &/or become a couch potato. 

 

This.  I made my boys keep up their martial arts lessons even when they were ready to stop. I told them that the moment they came up with another physical activity and/or social activity they could quit.  

But they could never come up with an idea for another physical or social activity, so they stayed for a number of years past when they had said they wanted to quit.

My boys are prone to be sedentary and are very introverted. Letting them stay at home and never leave isn’t healthy.  

But that’s just an example of not letting them quit.  If they’d have come up with anything else, (and I made many suggestions that they dismissed), I’d have immediately let them quit.  And if they were already in other activities, I’d have let them quit then, too. 

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I would let him quit when the session or “season” is over. However if it was my kid, I wouldn’t let him quit until he had something to replace it. My youngest has a habit of not wanting to do anything and he needs exercise and activity. So I’d have him choose something new to do before quitting. 

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Depends on what it is. We require our children to take martial arts because we believe everyone should be able to defend themselves if need be. They don't really know we require it because they all love it and only rarely decide they don't want to take it anymore. When that happens we basically say they must finish the quarter and then we'll talk. We have never had to talk about it because their interest returns. 

But I can't think of any other activity that I would continue to require if it weren't some sort of team activity that other people are relying on them.

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I am in agreement with those who say they would make sure the kid has some activity. I have also told more than one child who was expressing a desire to quit something that they could quit if they committed to a different activity instead; staying home and being a hermit is not allowed because it is not healthy for them.

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For me, it would depend on how the child is spending their time and if they are getting similar benefits to what this activity brings elsewhere.  We encourage our girls to do a sport, do a cultural activity or focus on learning a skill and to volunteer.

For sport and the cultural activity/skill they need to be working towards a goal (be it increasing personal best times / improving the skill / competing / working towards a recital etc).  Not necessarily competing to win, but to keep focussing.

ETA:  My one daughter quit violin, but then did job shadowing at the vet for a year.  This fit into the 'learning a skill' category as at the time she was working towards building a portfolio for getting into vet school, which she subsequently decided against, but she learned a huge amount about animal care.

Then there is also the social interaction and working in a team aspects to consider.

If they have given an activity a good shot - and generally that would be a year - then they can choose another activity in the sport, culture or volunteering slot. 

Edited by Hannah
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In theory I would let them quit as long as it doesn't affect other on a team or such, but it would also depend on why and what, if anything, will replace it.  Sometimes I also have them set goals for finishing the activity, club, or whatnot and then when they have reached that they can decide to quit.  My boys would happily stay home and play on their computers all the time if I let them.  They need outside activities, so they would need to have something else taking the place of said activity before the quitting date.

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Finish out the semester or a natural stopping point. January is actually a really good time for me to have a student not continue  because I usually have some who want to start then, and we just did a recital in December, so except for my teen group (which has a performance in Feb), Jan tends to be a start over point. But for DD's cheer team, leaving between about September and May is just plain hard on the team, and that was one reason why we pulled DD when injuries were going to keep her out at least 2 months in Augusf-becsuse leaving in August wasn't a problem, but coming back in October would have required adaptation. 

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Yes.  I let two of my dc quit an activity that I wanted them in.  One quit because the group wasn't a good fit, and the other quit because a preferred activity conflicted.  Both have chosen to return to the activity in recent years with groups and schedules that worked better for them.  

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I would let a child quit, and I wouldn't make that dependent on picking up another activity immediately or having a replacement in mind. 

Sometimes we need a break. You can always take some time off if wanted and then see what sparks an interest next month, next summer, next year.

And sometimes organized, outside of the home activities are not the only game in town. There are plenty of ways to get physical activity, help others, develop useful and artistic skills, interact with people/learn and practice social skills. Most of that can be learned at home, frankly. 

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I'd let him quit, unless of course it's in the middle of a "season" and people are depending on him to finish it.  (But it sounds like they're not.)

ETA:  I can't really think of any reason why you wouldn't let him quit (again, as long as it's not something he committed to and people are depending on), so I'm curious!

Edited by J-rap
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Sure, I would let him quit. 

Our Boy Scout made it to Life Scout level (one level before Eagle) when he wanted to quit. I wasn't happy about it - it was important to me then that he go on to become an Eagle - but he felt he was just done with Scouts so there was no reason for him to stay. We did tell him he needed to find something else to do outside the house, mainly because he was homeschooled, was shy and introverted, so had few friends and no much else to do. He ended up joining our community volunteer fire company, which has turned out great for him.

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2 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

DH believes that since this kid is good at the activity, he should continue it.

That's unfair. There are people who are good at a lot of things. That doesn't mean they must continue. This goes for adults, too.

It sounds as if he lives vicariously through your son. 

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I’d let him quit, even knowing what it is now. And have actually with my own ds.  I’ve only had one child interested in music lessons. We let him pick any instrument he wanted, he was at an age where he was old enough and disciplined enough to give it a fair shot, and I really wanted him to like it. (I play an instrument). We tried it for a little over a year and then he wanted to quit. I was hoping he’d love it and be passionate about it, but he wasn’t. And that’s ok! So yes, we let him quit. 

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Since this is your child, it is easy for me to encouraging quitting.  Although, I don’t know if quitting is the exact word. Many people come back into music study even with decades away. It might be a different instrument or style, but I really think a positive introduction can lead to future exploration. 
 

That said, I’m making my 12 year old limp along with violin. I’m not happy with myself, or her attitude tbh. Her current suggestion is that we continue to rent instrument but let her drop orchestra. She says she will just play on her own. Private lesson teacher is director of the community orchestra, so relations are tricky. Her sibling will definitely continue orchestra, so even if dd isn’t participating she can’t do another activity at that time due to my driving commitments. For now, I am deflecting major decisions to this summer. Since everything is paid through May. 

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Well, when it comes to music study, I can really see both sides of this.  I kind of forced my kids to take music lessons from like preschool age to age 12.  After that they could quit.  They both chose their own instrument after going through a kindermusik style program.  Well neither wanted to quit at 12.  I do think for music, it takes more than 18 months to be proficient enough to be fun.  And I think music can be a good part of a full education.  I feel like it was especially important to my kids who have an easy time with academics.  It taught them to learn something incrementally, patience, how to work one on one with a mentor, how to build a practice habit, how to really listen,  etc.  7 years of music lesson was one of the BEST things I did during my own childhood even though I absolutely didn't love it every day by a long shot.   One of my kids said regularly she couldn't wait to quit coming up to age 12 and has now been at it going on 4 years on her own volition and added another music lesson.

That said, I totally know not everyone sees it that way.  When people ask me about success with music lessons I say the #1 ingredient to success is to be an engaged and enthusiastic music partner with your kid.  But at our house, during the elementary years, my own response would have been the same had the kids asked if they could quit math or grammar.  It was just treated as school - non-negotiable.  No one asked to quit. Everyone homeschools and sets their curriculum differently.  We don't do Latin here other than roots, but if that works well at someone else's house that's great.  

If I had a homeschool kid that literally had no other regular outings during the week, I wouldn't be a fan of that either.  It would be too easy for all of us to just turn into hermits.  Even at early ages, we'd have 2-3 outings a week of some type or another.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Your dh could take lessons himself, if he regrets not learning to play.  It's not too late.

One of my dc has played piano for many years and plays beautifully, but I let two quit piano after giving it a good try. They weren't interested in continuing, and the conflict wasn't worth it.  One of them went on to play a different instrument and became an excellent musician.  The other did not. Everyone doesn't have to be a musician. 

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9 minutes ago, parent said:

Music builds many other skills.  The skill of general listening, of ear training, helps with math, with intervals and fractions.  It is essentially another language and helps when learning languages.  Very important that it teaches how to practice and drill to improve.  It expands the brain.   Music is also one of those skills that is appreciated as you gain proficiency.  It is the one thing my kids are not allowed to quit. 

Do you think you gained nothing from your own musical experience?  It is interesting that you say certain people are talented.  I have adopted the Every Child (and parent) Can philosphy (read the book), and i guess I believe that all people have music in their spirits.  And I believe that persistence and dedication can suceed where talent fails.  Talented people have it easy, until they reach the limit of their talent.  Then they fail because they never learned to practice etc when tbey couldn't just do it the first time.

This is ridiculous.  What instrument?  We do suzuki method which is very parent inclusive and i do not understand how a teacher would not allow you to help.  I know how being in a small town limits your teacher options.  Can he try a different genre of music?  If he is playing classical violin, could he switch to fiddle.  If piano, maybe jazz or gospel.  Or even change instruments though genres is better as he can maintain current skills.

My kids started Suzuki lessons early and I totally get this.  I just feel like the whole treating of music study is different.  I feel like the kids and families and teachers look at it differently from the get go.  And not every kid is amazing and goes on in music by any stretch.  We are in a VERY large program.  I've watched hundreds of kids over the years and we've gone to institutes.  I actually was a very early Suzuki violin student so I grew up in Suzuki too.  It was more like "we're a family that does music" and not "You will do this music kid whether you like it or not!".  It wasn't punitive.  It just was.  And it was mostly a joy.  And I know it benefited me and my kids far beyond music.  Both my kids can be high strung, perfectionists, anxious and I felt like over the years it was almost theraputic.

A teacher reprimanding an involved parent needs a slap down IMO.  

Anyway - I do think your DH is being ridiculous.  He could model this by learning and practicing every day and seeing if his kids want to follow.  Not "you will do this because I didn't".  That makes it punitive.  

If he likes to sing, might there be a youth choir somewhere he could join?  My 2nd kid is my violinist and her "second instrument" is voice.  She LOVES singing..  And now gets that her ease with it is really rooted in violin study.   I didn't at all mean to imply you were hermits Root!.  My oldest kid before about age 12 just needed forced outings, activities, and structure and tends to default to hiding with technology which I kept right reigns on prior to teen years.  My younger kid is always pushing for more.  

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Probably, given that it was not your choice for him to join and nobody will be hurt by his quitting.  I would probably make him finish out the season if there was any value in doing so.

There are some things I insist on my kids doing, and I also don't want them to be couch potatoes or social drop-outs in general.  Part of it is long-term "life skills / health" stuff, and part of it is, we just need to get over a hump and then they will probably be glad they stayed.  But when they have been really unhappy, I have let them quit despite theoretical benefits of staying.

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Just saw that it's music lessons.  I do force my kids to take music lessons.  I seem to be in the minority on that in my community, but I feel the benefits far outweigh the annoyance of it being required.  My kids do not hate the lessons; in fact one of them has admitted that she likes them; but given the choice, yes, they would probably sit and watch TV.

If my kid was tone deaf or had some kind of psychological issue with the lessons, we'd probably quit.  I let my kid quit her favorite "sport" (recreational gymnastics) because she did not feel a fit in the new class she aged into.  Missed a lot, but it wasn't worth the mental strain.

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11 minutes ago, SKL said:

Probably, given that it was not your choice for him to join and nobody will be hurt by his quitting.  I would probably make him finish out the season if there was any value in doing so.

There are some things I insist on my kids doing, and I also don't want them to be couch potatoes or social drop-outs in general.  Part of it is long-term "life skills / health" stuff, and part of it is, we just need to get over a hump and then they will probably be glad they stayed.  But when they have been really unhappy, I have let them quit despite theoretical benefits of staying.

 

I agree with this.   I think my 2 things would be music and something active.   My kids have been studying violin for almost 4 years.   I am not musical and neither is dh.  They loved it for awhile, liked it for awhile, and now my 2 older ones would drop it if I let them.  I won't though.  I told them they are taking lessons until they graduate high school.   I believe in all that is teaching them.  The only reason they want to quit is because they want to be pro dancers and want to spend every second doing that.   They have great teachers and I think at some point they are going to thank me for making them stay with it.  I think it is helping with their dance, helping their brain, and heck it is fun to be able to play some music.   

Again like SKL if there was something really bad, or they were replacing it with something else I would consider letting them quit at the end of the semester or year. 

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I see your point about being the only sibling who has to take the lessons.

I guess I would continue to a logical point and see if he still wants to quit.  Depending on his age etc., maybe discuss with him why continuing may be beneficial.  Is there any chance he would continue on his own at home?  Maybe you could offer that as a suggestion.  Maybe after being away for a while, he will pick it up again on his own.

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I am a proponent of recreational music, just like recreational sports. I taught for years at the prep program for the University music school, which was a strong Suzuki program, along with Kindermusik leading into traditional. And while many kids thrived, I saw kids as early as 5-6 who were on the route to burnout, and many who had burned totally out on music by age 10. I wish I could say that I was only asked once which instrument looks better on college applications, violin or piano, for a child who was not even in kindergarten yet.

 

I now teach at a city-run community center. I run semester long sessions, and while many of my students continue, I get a lot of people who just want to try it out and see if their child likes it. On a given night, there might be senior citizens doing yoga, men working on Kendo sword forms, moms chatting and making pottery in the art studio, teen dancers doing a zombie dance for an upcoming flash mob, another group of teens studying for the ACT, a kids' pom team, preschool ballerinas, and recreational basketball all at the same time. My daytime students share the hall our studio is on with the preschool program. A lot of my parents want a specific time slot because it matches a class or activity another child in the family is doing. 

 

And I love it. The expectation is that the kids are having fun and learning something new. That's all. Some of the kids may end up more serious about music, and that is great. Some won’t. It’s OK. My lessons don’t look that different from other teachers, we do recitals, and some of my kids do the regional piano festivals with outside adjudication. But the feel is very different. And it is far far easier for a teen to drop in and try out a session, or for an adult to return and try it out when the whole focus of the center is recreation. And it’s a lot easier to quit a recreational activity. 

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Music does teach so many lessons, but I think forcing a child to take music lessons could very well be teaching them to hate music lessons. 

Dd is a violist majoring in Music Ed. She quit piano and just continued with viola her junior year of high school. I would never want to suck the joy out of playing an instrument by forcing my child to continue, no matter how talented she is. 

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Has he never liked the lessons or is this a recent development?  With my children I've found that the enjoyment of playing a musical instrument goes in waves.  There is the beginning thrill as the student progresses rapidly through the most basic material followed by a period in which the student's progress slows.  It is easy to get discouraged during this lull when the student has enough skill to play simple tunes but not the skill to play the pieces he really wants to play.  Enjoyment returns when the student is able play some pieces he likes.

If your son enjoyed lessons until recently, I would encourage him to stick it out for a few more months.  Talk with the instructor, she may be willing to teach him some pieces he wants to play.   

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