Dear Ashton: As a parent when do you decide that you’ll let your kids “quit” something? Something you know they’ll succeed in and love, but have to learn to deal with the initial pains of adversity or discomfort? How do you determine that something just isn’t for them, or that they need mental toughness and need to stick with it? My son started a new activity today and was excited to do it. But once he saw a certain kid was also involved, he says he lost interest and no longer wanted to do it. How do you determine the difference and when to really let them “quit” something? Is there ever a right time to let a child “quit”? Thanks!
– To Quit Or Not To Quit
My nine year old son recently told me that he was ‘trustable.’ I chuckled when he said it because, honestly, I did not think it was a real word. To my surprise, it was real!
Here’s a little back-story… we were having a conversation and he felt like I didn’t trust him to take care of his headphones. He was right, because his track record for breaking them was strong. However, when he said that to me with sincerity, I stopped and realized I was conveying the wrong message to him. I was trying to make him behave more ‘trustable,’ but was actually making him feel less ‘trustable.’ I was making my negative expectations clear – I expected him to break the headphones. That is the opposite of what I wanted. I wanted him to take care of them. How had the lines of communication gotten so twisted? Easy – and it was my fault! (more…)