When Your Child Wants To Quit

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As he approached 3 years old, you could tell he wanted to emulate everything his older brother did. From the way he dresses, what he likes to eat, to the sports that he plays.

T became obsessed with hockey quite young. It was around three years old and believe it started after watching his older brother play twice a week. He loved watching him practice, be at the games and even would watch NHL games on TV religiously.

He would play in the basement, dressed in full gear, even skates on the carpet, because all he wanted to do was play hockey.

When Z was 3 years old, we hadn’t even thought of putting him on skates yet. We were in no rush. In fact, it wasn’t until Z was 4 years old that he went on the ice for the first time.

But since T seemed mildly obsessed, we figured, why not? We had the gear, (gotta love hand me downs!) so lets get him to try it out.

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We took him out to a public skate with his brother the first few times and then signed him up for lessons. And he seemed to really like it! He managed to stay up for the most part, and when he fell, he got back up. I think he had an easier time learning to stand back up than Z did! We never heard a complaint, he seemed happy, and he got to bring his own hockey stick which he was thrilled about.

He completed two full sessions in the winter and spring, and we just had a break for summer.

I didn’t even think twice to sign him back up for the fall session. He loved it, he talked about it, he still wanted to play hockey, so naturally, he would continue skating lessons.

After the first class, all seemed fine. But 5 minutes into the second class (2 weeks ago), he started bawling his eyes out. I had no clue what was wrong, and ran to open the door of the rink. He fell into my arms sobbing saying he doesn’t want to skate. He doesn’t want to go back on the ice. However, he didn’t explain why. Just cried and cried until I agreed that we can skip this class and try again next week.

I had no idea what was wrong or what had happened, just that he wasn’t happy on the ice. At first I didn’t know if I should ‘give in’ and let him off the ice for that class. Do I force him back on? Do I make the teacher come and get him and take him back?

But then I thought, he’s THREE! And I remembered what I learned from parenting coach Terry Carson at a recent event I went to. He’s not necessarily old enough to take responsibility of his actions and be accountable to see things through. So while he loves or loved hockey, he just wasn’t into skating right now.

We made sure to remind him that if he didn’t learn he couldn’t play hockey when he was bigger. And that in the winter if we go skating as a family, he needs lessons to be able to skate with us. But he kept saying no, so I decided to drop it.

The next week, a day before his Saturday skating lesson, we talked about whether he was going to go. He said no. I decided that was it and I’m cancelling all together. I figured when he is ready and wants to, he will go back. There’s always lessons that he can get back into. And if we wait until the January/winter session, so be it.

He’s just about to turn 4 years old at the end of October. I don’t even know if 4 is the right age to learn about responsible commitment. How old is old enough to hold your child accountable for something? Do we let them just drop out or do we make them finish the season/session?

I know that if it was Z, who’s 7, I would make him finish. But T being still so young, I think I did the right thing. And if he wakes up wanting to skate next week, I’ll tell him he has to wait. And maybe that will be lesson enough.

What do you do when your child wants to quit?

Share your experiences!

xo

D