Quick Tips for Parents if Your Child Decides to Quit Sports
While it is true that some young athletes set their future goals toward being a professional athlete one day, many others lose interest as they get older and eventually face the difficult decision to quit sports. This can be tough for some parents — especially if the child is athletically talented and doesn’t necessarily have to quit because he or she is no longer good enough to play.
The #1 reason why kids play sports is to have fun, and usually the #1 reason why kids decide to quit sports is because they no longer have fun playing. Other less prevalent reasons for voluntary quitting include ongoing nagging injuries and developing other interests in life. So what should you do if your child decides he or she wants to quit? The following tips are designed to help you navigate through this transition:
- First, try and understand your child’s reasons for wanting to quit. Ask open-ended questions (“Tell me about why you feel this way?”) and listen to what he or she says without judgement.
- If your child identifies a specific reason, try and determine whether the reason is long-lasting (i.e. your child tells you she hasn’t had fun playing for years) or transient (i.e. he tells you he doesn’t like this year’s coach). Obviously the longer, enduring reasons should be looked at very differently than a coach who will not be your child’s coach the following year.
- Discuss various options with your child – like possibly taking a season off rather than quitting altogether. Sometimes a short break can make a big difference, especially when it comes to sports burnout.
- If the question of quitting comes up during a season, try and encourage your child to finish the season if at all possible. Of course, if your child is injured this may not be possible, but it really is important to learn the importance of finishing what you start.
Your child may eventually want to quit sports, but this doesn’t have to be a bad experience for your family. Take note of all the wonderful experiences he or she has had in sports, and all the invaluable athletic transferable skills he or she has learned while competing — by doing this you will not only lessen the stress associated with quitting, but also maximize your child’s athletic experience.
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