Mini-Episode: Should We Let Our Kids Quit? Making Decisions Through The Lens of Your Family’s Values

About this Episode

On this mini-episode of The Brainy Moms Podcast, Dr. Amy Moore and Dr. Jody Jedlicka discuss their feelings on whether it’s ok to let your kid quit an activity (such as sports or music lessons). Weighing the pros and cons of things like keeping your commitments vs. supporting your child or teen if they feel overwhelming anxiety or dread related to the activity, our co-hosts engage in an honest discussion about the tough choices parents need to make, and how these decisions can be supported by viewing them through the lens of your family’s pre-established values. This was a reflection discussion following their interview with Dr. Melanie McNally. Be sure to tune in to Dr. Melanie’s interview next week!

About Dr. Amy Moore

Dr. Amy Moore is a cognitive psychologist at LearningRx in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the headquarters of the largest network of brain training centers in the world. She specializes in cognitive training and assessment for neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD, brain injury, learning disabilities and age-related cognitive decline. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed medical and psychological journals and presented at conferences around the country. She has been a child development specialist, education administrator, and teacher of teachers with a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in early childhood education. Dr. Amy has been working with struggling learners for 25+ years in public, private, and government organizations, so she knows a little about thinking and learning. She is also Editor-in-Chief of Modern Brain Journal, a TEDx Speaker, host of the Brainy Moms podcast, a licensed pastor, and a board-certified Christian counselor. Dr. Amy is married to Jeff Moore, a retired Air Force fighter pilot now working as a surgical nurse. They have three incredible sons (ages 18, 22, and 24) and a very mischievous but soft Siberian cat. Originally from South Carolina, Dr. Amy has called Colorado home since 2006.

FB and LinkedIn: @amylawsonmoore
Watch her TEDx talk, Lessons Learned from Training 101,000 Brains
Read her research:

About Dr. Jody Jedlicka

Dr. Jody is an audiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with auditory processing disorders. She is also a certified success coach and trainer, and the Director of Support at LearningRx World Headquarters in Colorado Springs. Originally from Wisconsin, Jody has been married for more than 33 years, is mom to 3 adult children, grandma to 5 grandchildren and dog-mom to her rescue, Mikey. She spends her free time with family – traveling, biking, exploring breweries and restaurants and cheering for Milwaukee Brewers baseball. She also co-hosts another podcast, The Sisterhood of Success, with her sister.

Email Dr. Jody: [email protected]

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Read the transcript for this episode:

DR. AMY: So I asked Dr. Melanie about those kids who start things but then want to quit because they find that they don’t like them or they’re not passionate about it. And so, one of my kids was like that. He really struggled to find something that he loved and didn’t create anxiety and that he felt confident about. And he was one of those kids who, if he couldn’t do it right away, that fear of failure took over. And so, we did not force him to stay in activities created that sense of overwhelming anxiety and dread, right? I did not want to drag him out of the car to participate in something. Lacrosse is the first one that comes to mind. He hated it, like hated it. And I felt like. I’m not going to force my kid to suffer through this activity that he hates. And so when I asked her that, it’s interesting that she said, you know, “If it’s your family value that you follow through on commitments, then her recommendation is that you make your child follow through on that commitment until the end of that season or whatever the time limit is.” So, I either feel like a terrible person for suggesting that I don’t value honoring your commitments, but at the same time still hold to the idea that I don’t want to torture my child. I don’t know. What are your thoughts?

DR. JODY: I think there’s value in your child knowing that you’re willing to listen to, you know, what his thoughts and feelings about that are. But I also, I’m a terrible parent because I handled that wrong too. But, I mean, I had a child too who would start things, get excited about them, but as soon as it seemed like it got hard, she’d let it go. And I’m trying to think back of if we would make, I believe we’d make her finish the season, but I don’t know that she hated it that much, you know, that she would do that. But I’m thinking of, you know, playing musical instruments, things like that. And I’m sure, because she reminded me of this recently, that there was a musical instrument she wanted to play. And we were very much like you, where we wanted them to just experience a lot of different things. And if you’re interested in it, sure, let’s do that. I think this one was taking violin lessons and I couldn’t afford a violin and I think my answer to her, much to my dismay now, was, “You don’t really stick with things. I’m not going to go out and buy a violin and have you quit, you know, and then I’m stuck with a violin.” And that was so the wrong way to handle it. And I know that now, but you know, hindsight is 2020 and—

DR. AMY: Well, how do you think you should have handled it?

DR. JODY: I mean, I feel like I should have handled it differently than creating this idea in her head that she quits things. You know, that that is a characteristic of her. And that’s the part that I regret. I’m not sure how I could have said that differently, but I’m sure I could have thought of something.

DR. AMY: Sure. Maybe you could have said, well, we can’t really afford a violin.

DR. JODY: So that may have been part of the conversation. That absolutely could have been the thing that I focused on, or “Let’s start saving for a violin.” And maybe by then she wouldn’t be interested in it anymore. Who knows? But that is the part that I regret saying is, “You’re somebody who starts things and quits them, so let’s not do that because I can’t afford it.” That’s not the reason. So, it’s like true confessions here on Brainy Moms today.

DR. AMY: Right? Well, like I’m just gonna say, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to handle that. I just don’t think there is. Like, I understand the nuance of not adding that to your child’s identity. Like, I understand saying that, but I don’t know. I just, I feel like the whole forcing participation to the end might do more emotional harm for those kids who struggle with anxiety and overwhelm.

DR. JODY: Yeah. I think you have to be in the—I think you have to be in the moment to be able to actually judge the moment. So, you know, you can’t know how you’re going to handle it, but I really did like her comment about if this is a family value and you have that kind of contracted out ahead of time, like, “Yeah, you can play soccer, but we’re going to need you to finish the season if you decide that you’re going to play soccer.” And so, if that’s an understanding ahead of time, I feel like it gives you a leg to stand on. But I can’t see that I would force my child to stay in something that they absolutely hate to do.

DR. AMY: Yeah, you know, I love the idea of making parenting decisions based on those family values by saying, “Okay, is this decision consistent with our value of honoring your commitments or whatever it is, right? Contributing to the world or loving others or whatever your value is, that that really helps you, I think, in making some decisions through that lens, right? So, if I make this decision, is that dishonoring to our value of loving everyone or whatever your value is?

DR. JODY: I mean, I think that it’s a conversation. It’s an opportunity for a conversation. And the other thing I like about what you just said is while I felt like we had family values and we definitely lived our family values, I don’t know that we talked about them. Like this is a family value. And I love the idea of identifying what your family values are. Having everybody know them, have everybody have some say in them. I think that’s amazing. If I could do it all over again, that would be really cool.

DR. AMY: Yeah, I think I would too. I would too. All right. Great conversation.

DR. JODY: Thank you.