Should We Let Kids Quit Something Even If We Paid Big Bucks for It?

Mom Moment 83

sad kidI was reading about a mother, Judy Arnall, who paid $120 for swim lessons for her 7-year-old son. When the first day of lesson came around, he didn't want to go. She did the "nudge, but don't force" method and encouraged him to try it out for one day. That's it. He tried it, decided he didn't like it, and that was that. One day of swim lesson ended up costing $120.

Now I know a lot could have been done with that $120. But we shouldn't force our kids into something they don't want to do. Or should we? Granted, I do force a hand-hold when crossing the street, but this is something different. Forcing a child to take a swim class when they've already made up their mind they aren't interested (even if at first they were) could be damaging, right?

It really all depends on the kid. You know that saying "mother knows best"? That might serve us well here. My daughter is the type to not want to try anything at first. She says she's "shy." She's almost 3 and shy isn't a word I'd use to describe her. But when she's new to a situation, that shyness does come out and she wants "uppy now" and buries her head in my chest. Give her a few minutes and she's outgoing, bubbly, and social. She needs those few minutes of reassurance. Just like what happened when we put her and her twin brother in preschool.

We recently moved to a new town and it's been slow going making friends with parents who have kids around my twins' age. I thought a preschool type setting would be perfect for them to play, learn, and make friends and it's just a few hours for three days a week. We scraped the money together to send them and it's been tears each day for two weeks. I may have cried more than the two of my kids combined though, as the teachers tell me as soon as I leave both kids are fine and end up having a great time. I broke my heart to leave her when she was so upset. I thought about taking my daughter out of school because it seemed to be the most traumatic on her. The last thing I wanted to do was to pry my screaming baby out of my arms and leave her. But we stuck with it. Each morning I was able to leave sooner and sooner; and today she not only didn't cry when I left, after school she told me more about what she did in class than she ever had. "We played with markers! And PlayDoh! And show-n-tell with my unicorn! It's was birthday for Hailee!"

I'm glad we stuck with it, but knowing my daughter, I really felt she was going to come around and not be "shy" anymore.

Still, sometimes, for certain kids, losing the money you paid for something is what needs to be done. Hopefully we can recoup at least part of the fees. It's all about trust for the kids. If they tell us they hate something, we have to trust they know what's right for them. Building that trust starts young. I certainly want my kids to trust me once they reach their teens. That's the time I will worry about their choices the most, but with trust, on both sides, maybe we will all be better off.

What do you think? Should we force our kids to stick with something even when they say they don't want to?


Image via Natesh Ramasamy/Flickr


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hanna... hannahsmom238

I make my daughter at least finish the session I paid for. If she wants to quit after that its fine.

kelti... kelticmom

I would at least make them go two or three times to make sure. After that, if they still don't like it, I would let them stop. Why make them be miserable over an extra curricular activity or hobby they don't enjoy?

teach... teacherchick77

Of course I make my kids do things they don't want. And if I paid money for it, they will finish what they started. I won't push it on them year after year, but they also need to learn to try new things to really see what they like and dislike.

jalaz77 jalaz77

I will make my kids finish something they started, always. If they don't like it they probably won't have to do it again.

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Before we sign up for anything I tell him that it will be X number of weeks and he will finish the session. If he doesn't want to continue after that it's fine but dropping out halfway through isn't an option. We go and he will participate, end of story.

cmjaz cmjaz

I would difintley make him take swim lessons if I had to drag him kicking and screaming. That may be life of death one day.

early... earlybird11

Well if you do the right thing and discus with them beforehand whatever the committment is. Then I follow my parents rules of 'finishing the season' it will teach them that they can not bail on committments ! There are responsibilities that come with being children too people, there is good grades, obeying your parents and 18+ years of lessons parents lovingly teach ! Even if its a little more 'forceful' then we would llike

umhas... umhassouna

That's the problem with this place. "We should never force our children to do anything they don't want to!"  Are you kidding? If I decide that something is good for my child, he'll do it. He can either get over his attitude and enjoy it, or choose to be miserable for the entire event.

I really don't understand the mentality of "not forcing" our kids - they don't know what is best, WE do.

Marcella Shambles

Just watch out for extremes.  Especially if all of the sudden they don't want to take a class/lesson of some kind that they had been liking.  Make sure you understand why they don't like it now, talk to them.  A quick reversal from like to dislike could be signalling something is not right with the situation, i.e. bullying,  abuse, etc..  Do "make" them finish something out, but just because you think it's best or you like it isn't a good reason to make them sign up for another session.

butte... butterflyfreak

Huh? So, we don't want to teach our kids that sometimes you have to do things that you don't like. How the fuck are they going to get (and keep) a job when they grow up, then? I would not allow my daughter to bail on an activity that I paid for, especially if I paid more than $100 for it! I wouldn't force her to do it again, but if I've paid for it, for damn sure she's going to finish it! And we wonder where our children get their attitude that they don't have to do anything that they don't want to do. No wonder those chores don't get done and their grades are crap!

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