When your child wants to quit a sport

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When your child wants to quit a sport

When you have a child that has signed up for something, a sport or an after school activity, then they announce they are going to quit. It brings up a couple of issues. The first is the issue of commitment. Your kids said they wanted to do something, they signed up and they committed, so should you make them follow through? The other is the reality is that they may not be the best one. Maybe they recognize that and they just don't feel that they can keep up with everyone. I think the issue of commitment is a really important one. I would pre-negotiate commitment. If you can, before your child signs up for something new, make a deal like, "We're going to try this for at least this many sessions or at least this long. I don't want to hear if you do or don't like it until this amount of time. Then we can talk about it." Pre-negotiating takes the commitment phobia off of the table. If you haven't pre-negotiated, be reasonable. Maybe say to your child, "I'd like you to try it one or two more times," but there should be some flexibility in there because sometimes there's a very real reason why your child is not following through and you want to investigate. Now, when your child is not very good at something and she recognizes that and you recognize that, sometimes they need you to save them from the situation. I do think there is a value to playing up, to not being the best. We are so used to telling our kids that they are so fabulous, so wonderful, and they are so great at everything. There's a great learning curve for children to not being the best one on the field and to completing a season and realizing that learned how to participate. Maybe you are the worst batter on the team or maybe you are the slowest runner, but you did it. Celebrate what they did. So I've said to my family, "At the end of the season, you have the choice to opt out next season, but we are going to finish this season." Generally, there isn't much resistance to it at all, it's fine.

Watch Cara Natterson, MD's video on When your child wants to quit a sport...


Expert Bio

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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