Kids who are quitters
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Michelle - posted on 11/18/2011
my son is 9 yrs old and he likes to quit everything he starts. We are still paying for karate and he hasn't gone in a year. He wanted to play football and 4 days after starting would cry when it was time to go but my husband wouldn't let him quit. So now its cub scouts and of course he is ready to quit again. He currently wants to lean guitar. I'm glad i found this i thought it was just him not something they go through
Tracy - posted on 07/23/2009
Hi. I think it is fairly typical behaviour in a child of that age (at least that's when most of us start noticing it). Be encouraging, but dont over-praise when it's not really due, as kids are smart and realise they didn't deserve it. Also, if a child asks to do something, be it a sport, musical instrument etc, and then want to give up after a couple of weeks, DONT give in! Make sure when they start that it's clear if they do it then they must finish out the term (at least) before they quit. Children need to be taught to push through things they dont like and to try to improve. This will make for a succesful adult in future. We as parents feel we have to keep our children "happy" all the time, however our job is not make sure they are constantly happy and cushioned from all the nasty knock, but to teach them how to overcome them. I'm no expert, but I do have a 12 yr old daughter who try's to avoid doing stuff she's not good at, I think it's human nature. I do it too! I try to follow my own advice, for her (and me!), sometimes it works, sometimes they just aren't interested, which is fine, as long as they tried. Good luck : )
Erin - posted on 07/22/2009
I hear ya Marci...but with Vaughn, he quits when he isn't winning or if it doesn't turn out the way he expects it to. He is also very shy and I cannot seem to get him to want to get involved in ANYTHING these days. I wish I had some solutions!
Hey - I've been thinking more about this thread, and bingo, when i got to work this morning I found myself going off to a training course on "resilience" or the ability to bounce back. I think this is what we are talking about here.
OK - so what did I learn? I found out that there's a huge body of research on this and that we are not alone! Just google "resilience in children" and you'll see. I found out that it's all about learning to take a positive attitude towards life and adversity. Many of us have a habit of being negative (and we don't even realise it unless someone points it out to us), and we pass this attitude on to our kids.
I was thinking today about this - why did a person like Nelson Mandela survive 27 years in prison but then come out and be able to lead a country, while another person would have fallen apart? Was it just his genetics or was it something he learned from his parents?
Emma - posted on 07/18/2009
Hi i wish my Son would quit sometimes. he is so singal minded, if he wants my computer mouse, his fave thing at the moment, he will spend the whole day finding ways to get it. He is only one now, bit worried im going to end up on the other end of the scale with him, my daughter is better she only spends half the day trying then moves on to somthing else.
Rochelle - posted on 07/15/2009
unfortunately i have the same problem. not with my kids, but with me. somentimes i wish my kids wanted to do a little more pergect job. i wouldn't say a "quitter", but a perfectionist. i know that my desk is cluttered, but if i don't have the time or energy to clean it off "right", then i won't waste time doing it at all (i'm not a fluffer and stuffer, everything has to be put in it's place or out where i can see it so i can find it). i laugh and tell everyone i have ADD with a touch of OCD, which is not a good combination. it can be very frustrating, i'd like to not always be so picky, but i can't stop. it's part of my personality and i have learned to accept it. i believe taht God gave me this personality for a reason. it has helped me stay organized and in control in my career as a nurse. i thing as your daughter grows up you will notice shel will become more of a control freak. I didi take the lazy way out as a child (like shoveing everything under my bed when i had to clean my room), but that all changed at puberty. at the age of 15 or 16 i began filing the mail i received in alphabetical order by sender and my room was spotless. i think it will all work out in time, u just have to be patient for now. but continue to try to instill in her good working ethics, reward her when she does a good job, and when u know she could do better encourage her and show or tell what she could do next time to do a good job. i hope this has been somewhat helpful and good luck to you both.
Mindi - posted on 07/15/2009
My 7-year-old daughter had the same problem. We started doing "challenge treats". This means that any time one of the kids meets a challenge, they get a treat. The challenge is up to me (but their input is welcome). Challenges have included reading a book that is harder than you've read before, learning a new skill in one of their sports, etc. My daughter has stopped whining about things she deems "too hard", and she doesn't quit anymore. We have talked a lot about how important it is to try new things, even if they're hard at first, and to keep trying and do your best. The treat is up to you. My kids are happy with a sucker or popsicle. It doesn't take much, but they'll happily work for it each time.
Xiomara - posted on 07/15/2009
I am wondering if it is the age as I too have an 8 yr. old who has the tendency to quit. He is very talented in sports, piano, reading, and legos. His problem is that when it's time to move to the next level he just wants to give up and stay where he is comfortable and successful. Example: with piano he wants to stay at the song he has mastered rather than the next song his instructor assigned for him to work at. This summer he has no interest in reading, my guess is that he doesn't get the school reward for the minutes he reads so he is not motivated. I tryed to give rewards but he is not interested at all, he just wants to enjoy summer is what he said! *sigh*
It's frustrating to us too that he does not take instruction from either my husband or myself. As soon as we are there to encourage him- wether it be an assignment or sport, he whines and starts trying to quit, saying he just can't do it. We don't want to overwhelm him so at times we do back off and tell him we will let him figure it out on his own and do it his way.... which he then ends up quitting!
I would love to know what we need to do to encourage him as we already use the love and logic concept, we praise him all the time (which makes me wonder if that has led to this problem too as he always wants to be THE best at EVERTHING) and have many open discussions on perseverance. ???
Dawn - posted on 07/15/2009
I have just started reading a book about this. The book is not just for what to do with children, but also adults, or even yourself. I am a teacher and it was recommended at an excellent seminar I attended. I think it will give me insight as to how to help students with this "mindset." The book is MINDSET by Carol Dweck. I haven't read enough of it yet to give you any simple advice, but I expect that it will explain how to show your child how to grow out of difficult situations.
Also, I had a student like this who turned into a different child when he didn't understand something or couldn't do something right away. It took a LOT of encouragement (and frustration) but every time I wouldn't allow him to quit and I guided him through so he could see that he could do, it was a little less difficult to get him to try with less frustration the next time. He began to learn that he would face challenges and that he could get through them. When he did on his own, it was always a very proud moment.
I just read your question and thought as I read it I wonder if she has a daughter that is 8. Then at the end you state you have an 8yr old daughter. I too have an 8yr old daughter:) I am finding that some of the trouble you might be experiencing is due to age and they are starting to really experience the world outside of just themselves and have this fear of failure or judgment. I don't really have all the answers but I help my daughter by reflecting on things she likes to do and does well when she is experiencing fear in trying something she feels she might fail at. I tell her to use the same attitude with her accomplishments in trying something new. If she fails in her eyes I tell her that the first time she did the "thing" she does well she didnt do it perfect the first time either and look at how well she is doing now. If you dont fail at something how do you learn or get better? Lots of support and encouragement to do the task not to do it perfect. Most of all I make failure or "non perfect" a fun thing to experience. We always seem to reward accomplishments...why not reward what we might look at as failure. At least your learning something and that is success is it not. Not at least trying is giving into fear and that is failure. I hope this helps. I truly believe this is a stage that needs encouragment and support. To truly teach our kids that failure is giving up... burning your first cake... at least you made it!
Elizabeth - posted on 07/15/2009
I have 4 kids and my youngest (9) is sometimes the same way. His problem seems to be that his 10 year old brother, whom he idolizes, is pretty much good at everything he puts his hand to. My suggestion is to let your child pick out what she wants to try, and then encourage, encourage, encourage! In our case, both boys played baseball, but the skill level gap started growing last year. My youngest decided to quit baseball (after getting hit by the pitches one too many times, I think!), but chose to try golf instead. This is something that is just "his," none of his siblings do it, and even though he's not great at it yet, it's his special thing so he keeps at it. His siblings are very good at encouraging him, too. Let your daughter pick out an activity that she wants to try, and just keep encouraging her, cheering if it's a sport or dance, displaying her artwork, etc. We also do "Love and Logic" and have statements such as "I give (fill in the blank here with a special treat or priviledge) who try their best and don't give up."
With schoolwork it can be kind of tricky, but I have also had a conversation with my 9-year-old after talking to his GT teacher. If he gets a paper that isn't perfect, it doesn't really matter at this age, as long as he tries his best - nobody looks at your 3rd grade report card when hiring you! So.... we had this conversation.... I gave him permission to say the following if I see a paper that has a low grade, as long as he did his best. He says "Mommy, it's just a paper. It's not the end of the world" or something like that. Now, we did discuss the difference in doing your best and just goofing off so that as long as he does his best, the grade doesn't matter.
Yeah - my nearly 7 year old son is absolutely a quitter too. I really despair. He gets enraged if his lego creation doesn't work, and literally throws it across the room. I think it could be his nature and there mightn't be so much I can do. Actually, when I think about it, I'm probably a quitter too! I guess the best we can do is to keep on talking them through it, and when they do keep trying at something, to notice it and congratulate them.
Oh - I have tried to talk to him about other people and tell heroic stories about how they worked hard at something to achieve their goal, in the hope of getting the message across. I've been reading an old fashioned novel (called The Little Princess written about 100 years ago) to my kids and there's a lot of talk about a little girl who keeps her chin up despite terrible troubles. I can see my son listening intently and thinking about it, so who knows, that might help.
User - posted on 07/15/2009
I don't have a child in that situation, but I WAS a child in that situation - so I think I can at least give you some ideas.
1. Praise any effort and progress, no matter how small.
2. Find something that NOBODY else that they know does - for example, I clogged (country-style of tap) - since I didn't know anyone else that did that - I didn't have anyone to compare myself to!
3. Keep encouraging them!
4. Please don't "hide" criticism in compliments - "You did great in ____, but what about _____ ?" The areas of improvement can be another conversation entirely.
Good luck to you both!
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