Should You Let Your Little One Quit a Sport?

by Beth Pocalyko

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Image source: iStockPhotos

I speak a lot in my blogs about how important I think sports are in keeping your children healthy, and a great way for your child to interact with kids their age.

However, sometimes the sport you choose for your child is not the sport they want to play.

My son is playing football for the first time this season. Football is a hard sport; it's physically challenging, and requires a lot of athleticism. There are a few kids - if not half of the kids on the football team - that clearly don’t really want to be there.

Last week during another long two hour practice, I heard a little boy in the locker room telling his Dad he wants to quit football. The boy was crying and screaming as his dad was forcing him into his uniform. This didn’t sound like fun for the parent or the child.  Sports should be all about fun, especially at the young ages of five and six.

The dad was telling his son, “We don’t quit, and we don’t give up. You signed up for football, and you WILL NOT quit. You do not have to play next season, but you are finishing this season."

That made sense to me, but to a five year old? I am sure he is not the one that begged his father to play. The father, I am sure, like most dads, had dreams of his son playing football and signed him up. The kid had nothing to do with it.

So, why make him play the rest of the season if he has given it a good try and figured out that football is just not the sport for him? I too want to teach my kids that we don’t quit things just because they are hard. Hopefully, the father thinks making his son finish the season will teach him a valuable life lesson, not that his son should play football because Daddy Says So.

This boy cries every practice and during games. He is a distraction to the other players and the coaches. I don’t know if, at 5 years old, he is going to remember the lesson of not quitting, or just remember how much he hated a sport he was forced to play.

We have been lucky that Nicholas has enjoyed all the sports he has tried so far. He didn’t love lacrosse, but never asked to stop playing. I don’t know how I would handle it if he truly didn’t want to play a sport, and would only go kicking and screaming.

I feel so bad for this kid every practice.  My hope is that making him play this season (but never again) and not letting him quit is the right thing in the end. I mean, Nicholas hates fruits and vegetables. He sometimes cries and screams when we make him eat them, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to eat them every day.

It might not be the same thing, but when I think that the parents are trying to teach perseverance, it makes me feel a little better when I see how miserable this little boy is playing football every week. It is a long season!!

Help, moms! Would you let your child quit a sport?

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