It is generally accepted that persistence is essential for success and happiness. However, in their research, two scientists found that the persistence of unattainable goals in certain cases can be a detriment to health and well-being, especially for adolescents.
What does this mean for parents? If you are pushing your children to continue an activity that they do not like or in which they are not interested, you are likely increasing their stress levels — and yours too!
Sometimes all it takes is for parents to assist their child in setting new goals. This may help the child re-engage in the activity with a renewed definition of success. However, if goal redefinition isn’t working, consider quitting the activity if:
- the child complains constantly before, during, and after the activity;
- the child is not advancing as fast as his/her peers and is frustrated;
- you must constantly push the child to practice the activity;
- the child does not speak about the activity with pride or excitement.
What about the money invested in the activity?
If you have paid for a session, you may want to finish it and explain to your child about obligations and commitment, especially if the child is playing on a team such as soccer or basketball and other people are depending upon your child. If you have paid in advance, whether or not you continue with the activity, your money is already spent. The question is, do you want to spend your time pushing your child to participate in an activity he or she doesn’t like? Your time and your health and those of your child are usually worth more than money. Review the situation, ask questions, and bail without guilt if that is what is right for you and/or your child.
Remember that saying “no” to something you don’t really enjoy means you’ll be able to say “yes” to something that you may really enjoy.