Are we raising a generation of Quitters?
Someone recently told me about an article called “The Quitter Generation?” written by Kim Kiyosaki. Kim Kiyosaki is married to Robert Kiyosaki. He wrote the financial book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”.
While this article did not provide answers to the question “Are we raising a generation of quitters?” It asked a few questions, which as parents, I feel we need to think and reflect upon. How do we deal with our kids wanting to quit? Quit an activity, quit caring for the family pet, quit a job they don’t like or bigger things like quit school or even quit being a productive part of society? (Living in your basement sleeping or texting all day? YIKES!)
Press reset button too often?
I like how Kim points to the reset button on so many video games. She links being able to quit anytime the game gets tough to learning that it’s becoming equally as easy for teens and young adults to quit in getting ahead or growing up in life. While this is a convenient comparison, I don’t think it’s that simple with kids. Most kids will tell you it’s only a game and life doesn’t work that way. And lots of parents are worried about their young adult children not quite getting the hang of being an adult and all the responsibilities that go with growing up and succeeding in life.
At some point in time, we will all have to help our kids navigate through quitting something. The trick is to examine both your views on quitting and what your child will learn about quitting. Sometimes the activity is not the right match for your child. Is there really any value in telling your child they have to slug it through something that doesn’t work for them for the whole season if they really don’t take to the sport? Or are you letting Junior quit every activity and time he complains “it’s too difficult?” or “I don’t want to practice” or “ this is boring”.
Perseverance a valuable life lesson
I do like Kim’s challenge to “Do you take it on, create new solutions and face your fears.” I think this can be a great suggestion and brainstorming actively for you and your child if the situation warrants creativity to resolving a challenge. While she is trying to sell us financial solutions, I believe Kim does hit the nail on the head when she states, “Overcoming great obstacles makes you stronger and smarter. How one handles adversity determines a person’s level of success in life.” This is a lesson I want to impart to others. It is important to learn how to deal, face, and cope with adversity. It’s going to happen to you and your kids at some point in your lives. A line from one of the Batman movies comes to my mind; “We fall down so we can learn how to get up.” Part of life is, learning how to deal with difficult people and difficult situations and completing tasks we don’t enjoy. It’s not fun to have to do difficult subjects at school or doing tasks at home we don’t enjoy. Quitting, procrastinating or running away from problems or challenges does not teach us how to solve or overcome these difficulties. Nor does it teach of children how to persevere through tough times.
Perseverance is one of the valuable life lessons we can teach our children. It’s important to learn at an early age that when we do have to face challenges and persevere through tasks, assignments and activities we don’t like or don’t do well. I’m not suggesting that you force your child to finish ever unpleasant tasks or course in life but that quitting too often and too soon is not a life skill you want your child to be used to. As a parent myself I understand it’s a fine line for you as a parent to balance between letting your child quit and helping your child learn new skills and develop their perseverance muscles.
Take the time to discover what is underneath your child’s wishes to quit. I must say, I begrudgingly let my child quit music lessons which were important to me but not to her. She has here own tastes in music even if she can’t play Bach or Beethoven, she even showed some sort of interest in the idea of conga lessons which I thought was strange. But after letting music lessons go, she signed up for art classes. And now I have beautiful works of pottery to admire because she blossomed in the environment that matched her personality and skills. For me, I want my child to acquire the skill of perseverance while respecting their opinion and personality.
Read more from child psychologist Michele Borba about quitting and solutions for parents on how to deal with their children quitting.