Commitment is difficult, even as an adult. There are things we want to do and things we need to do. We have to commit.
All good and bad traits are learned. We don’t inherently know how to commit or be respectful or even be punctual. For a child, this is a learned trait that is vital to their success – whether it be in school, in a sport, learning an instrument, or in their future adult life in the business world.
For many children (and actually, many adults, too) quitting is the easier route. But what do we learn from quitting? Not as much as from commitment.
There are a few reasons a child may feel they want to quit (emphasis on the word want):
- They are bored.
- They are overwhelmed or overworked.
- They aren’t having “fun”.
- They don’t like the people involved.
- They don’t like being told what to do.
Every child develops differently and tastes and interests can change rapidly when you’re young and learning so much so quickly. What’s important is teaching children that even though they may be feeling one or many of the reasons listed above, they ultimately made a commitment to that activity and need to see it through.
Children don’t often have the foresight to see ahead of their consequences – quitting or committing. It’s our duty as parents to help them see this future and to offer them healthy options for them to make their own decisions.
How can we do this? Consider these methods:
1. If your child is resisting and wants to quit, tell them they made a commitment and must follow through. If at the end of that commitment they still do not want to participate, they can choose to not re-enroll in that activity. Make it a point that they have to go to all remaining committed events/activities.
2. Ask your children questions such as “do you think it’s okay to quit?” or “Do you think you’ll feel bad if you don’t finish?” Many times kids just need a little push to intrinsically think about the consequences.
3. Talk with your children about your commitments and how you handle yourself when you don’t want to do something. This could be as simple as stating “I may not like it right now, but I know I’ll learn more and be able to do more later on.”
4. Consider using different terminology. Instead of commitment use the word “promise”. The meaning is the same, but your child’s interpretation may be better understood with words that are more relatable to them. Ask your child if they would break a promise versus breaking a commitment.
5. Many times children want something else before they’ve finished out a current commitment. Explain to them that only when they finish something and show you that they are capable of following through can they do more. This also helps them with goal-setting and responsibility.
At the end of the day, we want our children to thrive and be able to learn the importance of sticking to their guns and following through. While it may be a bit of a battle convincing your child to stick with it, it’s worth it in the end for them to learn this valuable lesson.
For more parenting tips or for more information about our martial arts programs, click here.