My son wanted to quit swim classes.
I asked him why and he gave me a litany of reasons that were all centered around the same theme: He felt like he wasn't making any progress and he had been in his current level for a long time. He said he hated swimming.
Knowing that he had been in a bad mood at the beginning of class, I told him we could talk about it more later. When I brought the subject back up, he said he still wanted to quit. I told him that I thought it would be a mistake he would regret later on and asked him to see how he felt after his next class.
He went to another swim class. He was in a much better mood at the start of the class; he swam really well. He now has a set date to graduate from his final level.
Since then, he told me that he was glad he didn't quit. And while I am happy that this was the outcome, I have to remind myself that there are going to be times when I have to help encourage him to quit something.
As parents, we push our kids. We give them nudges to succeed and not give up and to be their best selves. We do all that. And then we forget to check in with them and help them prioritize and let things go and relieve the pressure. Our kids desperately need our help to relieve the pressure.
I think back to my senior year of high school, when I was taking all these advanced classes, including AP Calculus. The first couple of classes scared me. I imagined long nights of slogging through the work and never feeling on par with the other students. And then I had a brilliant thought: My career goals didn't include a heavy leaning on math. I could probably drop the class and be fine.
So, I did. And I was so much happier that I could make that change and that my Mom never pushed me to still take that class. I hope I have that same level of clarity when my son is older and needs a nudge to let something go.
Do you think your child needs to let go of some of their activities? Tell me in the comments.