Are our expectations appropriate?
When children sense pressure on them to perform, and they feel ill equipped to reach the level expected, they start considering the activity as a burden.
Have we understood the child’s natural interest and inclination?
With all the exotic, multiple choices around, it is quite likely that the parent wants the child to try something he never got to do — it could be robotics or origami. However, it is wise to take a step back and check if the activity or pursuit is in line with the child’s temperament, stamina and, of course, interest.
Some tips to minimise the chances of a child quitting:
- Decide your priorities as a parent — it could be physical activity or involvement in music. Then, let your child choose what she wants to do within this domain — it could be karate or basketball, or vocal music or an instrument.
- After your child has chosen an activity, find out and then explain what it takes — getting ready on time, the hours of practice, rehearsals for concerts — to drive the message home, show the impact it will have on your child’s schedule (lesser play time or television time). Take the child to a trial class for beginners so she knows what to expect.
- Discuss and agree on a commitment — school year or school term or three months. In case of a team activity, a eason/annual performance.
- For academic courses, have your teen speak to seniors, let her go through the text books and assignments to understand the kind of work is expected.
- If the child is interested in many things and wants to cram them all into her schedule, suggest that some be set aside for school holidays — when more time is available and exploration can be done in leisure.
Inculcating persistence in your child – Some Dos and Don’ts
Praise your child for the right things — learning, hard work and effort, rather than just talent, intelligence or results
Instead of saying “You are an ace at Maths,” try “You tried that sum for 10 minutes, you were at it. I appreciate that”. Shifting the focus on effort rather than results empowers your child to try, to take risks, to keep going. When the child is less afraid of failure, she is also less liable to give up mid way. Amit Agarwal, finance professional and father of a four-yearold-boy says, “I emphasise on the experience of participating, rather than winning.”