When Kids Give Up Too Easily

Our culture does not encourage perseverance. If we don’t enjoy something then we give up and try something else.  If something takes a little more effort, it’s easier to stop, rather than stick to it.  There are thousands of people who have signed up for a years contract at the gym and have given up within the first three months.  And this applies to children as well.  Parents give in too easily to their children’s requests like: “I don’t want to do football anymore – it’s too cold” “Whats the point of practising my guitar, I hate it, it’s boring” “Tuition is boring, I don’t want to go anymore” And then as parents, we become confused because on the one hand we want to give our children freedom to express themselves, to make their own choices but on the other we want them to learn to see things through for their own good. So how do we tread this difficult line?

I got a call from a young mum yesterday whose 6-year-old daughter has been attending my centre for 6 weeks.  She said she wanted to stop the tuition because her daughter didn’t want to do it anymore and was throwing a tantrum in the background 5 minutes before her lesson.  The mother, who also has 2 other children was “fed up” and I think that she had given up.  So who’s in charge here? I asked her.

1.  You need to explain to your daughter that not all education is fun.  When your daughter struggles with a maths problem and then gets the answer correct, it gives her an enormous sense of achievement.  If our children never struggle, they will miss out on knowing what it’s like to achieve.

2.  You need to finish what you start.  Leaving a course half way is like abandoning a vegetable patch in the middle of summer.  It will take hard work on your part because you will be the one bringing her to lessons.

3.  There is a purpose to having this extra tuition.  Your daughter will become more confident in class and will have a better understanding of the work at school.  She has gotten used to the teacher and is making good progress.  This will make your life easier because she will not struggle as much with homework.

4.  Given the choice of having tuition or playing with siblings at home, ALL children will choose to stay at home.  So it’s not just your daughter.  My son does this as well.  Children pick up signals from their parents and your daughter probably knows that if she cries and has makes a fuss she can get away with doing anything.

So my advice is, to carry on regardless of how many tantrums and fights you have to put up with.  In the end you are the parent and you are in charge. Perseverence is a life skill that everybody needs to develop and maintain.

I’ll finish with some inspiration from the great Mohammed Ali.