When I became a mom, actually when I started reading copious amounts of literature on raising children, I realised that as a parent it was important that my sons take up one sport and one musical instrument. It doesn’t matter what sport and what instrument – they must do them both. I was sure I wanted the discipline that comes with learning an instrument and the lessons that sports would teach my kids. Now, the process of falling in love with something is arduous. It doesn’t happen overnight and neither are you born with knowing what you want to do. And therein begins the great cycle of joining something, trying it out, quitting it, and acknowledging the fact that it isn’t for you.
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But with everything else that is thrust upon a parent as soon as their child is born, the decision about what classes to send your child to also rests firmly on a new parent’s wobbly shoulders. How is a parent to figure out which instruments are good to learn, or which sport is best suited for her child? Sure, peers and trends in society are a way to go. But why not also go with the following reasons:
- Try picking a class/sport that you enjoy so you can pass on your enthusiasm for the activity to your children in turn motivating them to try it out.
- Try choosing an activity that is completely new to you so you can learn alongside your child thereby showing them your eagerness and enthusiasm to learn something so cool!
- How much a class costs. Now keyboard lessons may be way cheaper than cello lessons. The classes may vary in cost but who is to say one instrument is better than the other. Budget can be a great deciding factor.
- Try and choose a class that doesn’t require too much travel.
When to let your child quit
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled, ‘When to let children quit’ talks about how quitting may actually be a good thing. The article says, “There are serious benefits to letting things go, and they are best learned in childhood. Quitting allows focus and passion to arise. Children can practice making decisions at an age when the stakes are low, preparing them for adulthood. It can also reduce tension in a household, allowing parents and children to expend energy on school. Quitting can make way for precious downtime.”
If you think about, when children want to quit, they may do so for a number of factors, but it is always the parents that feel terribly about it. They tend to measure quitting of the class through the amount of money and time spent so far on the class. Â The article also cites examples of a few children who quit their classes gradually. So basically they knew enough of the art to know they wanted to quit and not pursue it further. Such lessons can and should be imbibed at an young age in order to raise independent, clear minded kids.
So when your child wants to quit a class think about it in the following ways:
- Why quit: Find out the reason behind wanting to quit a class.
- Is there an alternative: Has your child realised he/she wants to learn something else? Maybe something they are passionate about, or something that has recently caught their fancy and they are curious about?
- Gradual withdrawal: Find out if instead of quitting it would make more sense to reduce the number of classes thereby cutting back the pressure.
- Take a break: Maybe it would make sense to come back to it once pressures such as exams or other commitments are out of the way.
The past week we have seen and read about Malvika Joshi and the importance her mom placed on the happiness of her child. So much so that she pulled her out of school so she could ensure Malvika pursue things that brought her happiness. Think about it, isn’t there a lesson in quitting too?
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