Never Make it Easy for Your Child to Quit!
One of the biggest reasons why you should never make it easy for your child to quit is the 100% regret rate of every adult that took martial arts for a while when they were kids, got discouraged (or bored, which is just another code word for the same thing), and quit. Every adult that has spoken to me about this have this one thing in common: Karate was easy and fun at first, but after a year or two in, the moves got a lot harder and not quite as much fun as they advanced through the ranks. Think about that. 100% of the adults that used to take martial arts for an extended period of time (that has ever spoken to me about it) regrets the day they quit and never came back to it!
What a sad and terrible story to hear! Here is the honest truth, from an adult perspective you can easily see that you have to work hard to get a big pay-off in pretty much everything. In martial arts, it could be higher levels of confidence, winning trophies, or even becoming a black belt one day. You have to discipline yourself to achieve your goals in life. Unfortunately, children don't have the perspective of an adult, so they judge activities primarily by how much fun they have doing it and not so much by the benefits of the activity. You can and should still have fun while doing martial arts, but as a child advances, higher levels of discipline and focus is required.
This isn't to say we should ignore it if a child is unhappy with going to Karate class. Not at all! If your child is starting to get discouraged or is unhappy with something, you should talk to the instructor about it. They instructor should be able to help you and your child deal with the issue. If the root problem is just that training is getting harder, maybe the instructor can schedule an extra session for your child to get some extra help. Instructors often deal with a lot of different children and personalities, so they may not notice that your child is becoming discouraged. If you let the instructor know what is going on, they can start encouraging your child and offer solutions.
When should a parent consider letting their child quit? Parents have to be careful of what they teach their kids. If your child really wants to quit, you should talk with them first and also talk to their instructors about it. Most of the time, you can figure out what is going on and help them. Usually, it isn't that they don't like Karate, but they want to quit for other underlying reasons. Your child may not even know how to articulate what they are unhappy about. When you are young, emotions can be hard to understand and deal with. Good parenting and good coaching is the solution here. There are good reasons to quit things, but allowing a child to quit too easily teaches them the wrong life lesson. For instance, if your child joined a baseball team and wanted to quit, they should stay and honor their commitment to their teammates for the duration of the season. When your child makes commitments, they have to learn to honor those commitments and follow through even when it is tough.
The hope of this article is to help curb that awful 100% regret rate among adults who quit their martial arts training when they were kids. Life is short and no one should have to live with any regrets. Parents should not make quitting too easy. Quitting can easily become a habit that leads to self-sabotage even into adulthood. If your child tried martial arts classes and never liked them it is definitely okay to let them quit. However, if your child enjoyed martial arts, has been doing it a while, then all of a sudden wants to quit, you are more than likely dealing with some form of discouragement. If your child is going through this, make sure you inform the instructor of your concerns so that they can address them.
We hope this article can help the martial arts parents out there to keep their children happy with their training and keep them motivated!