Mom + Husband + 3 boys

My Son Quits Karate and It’s Okay

It was Monday, 4.30pm. Malcolm hurriedly finished his snack and went upstairs. Mighty asked him to get ready for his karate lessons at 5.15pm.  He answered back with, “I don’t want to go to karate”.

It was the summer of 2019 when I came across an advertisement online about Summer  Karate classes for 2 months for a good deal.  He liked it and eventually we enrolled him in regular classes.  We even signed up for the dojo’s Black Belt Club so we can get the best promotions.  If Malcolm will attend his classes regularly, he’ll get his black belt in 2022.  This was the plan!

According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, out of more than 20 million children who registered annually on sports programs, 70% quit before they turn 13 and never return.

There are several reasons why kids quit sports.

  • It is no longer fun
  • Lost interest
  • Unpleasant event 
  • Bad coach/instructor 
  • Afraid to make mistakes

Malcolm approached us about quitting when he was still in the orange belt. We had to nag him every time we go to his class. At first, we thought it was a phase and just tired from school so we convinced him to stay. We even talked to his instructor to encourage him.

When he got his blue belt, his third promotion, he was so delighted and everything went back to normal. He promised to stay until he gets his black belt. Sooner than we thought, he began losing interest again. This time, nagging became our constant task.

It was a battle getting him to his classes. Tears were shed. Yelling and screaming filled the house.  But when he gets promoted, he seemed happy and proud. 

We didn’t want him to quit. We already invested time and money. Karate is his only physical activity since pandemic began. We want our kids to learn the value of commitment, that life is hard and they need to persevere to reach a goal.

But we realized, he is just 7 years old. Quitting karate is just a fraction of who he is now and not what he will be in the future. It doesn’t define his success. His brain is developing so his interests are still changing. 

We want to put a stop to nagging, instead we want to build a healthier environment of conversation. When we signed him up, it was mine and my husband’s decision. Now that Malcolm has his say to things, we need to listen and practice mutual respect. We want him to do things because he loves to, not just because we want him to.

As parents, we have tasks to do.

  1. Expose our kids to different activities that they will eventually like.

Our responsibility is to prepare the menu so our kids will have options.  Expose them to different kinds of interests like sports, music, or academics. Let’s give them room to explore and discover their potential.

  1. Encourage them to work hard.

We always tell Malcolm that being smart is okay, but working hard is better.  Our kids maybe discouraged, but let them know that if they give their best, no matter what the results will be, we will support them.

  1. Be the best example of commitment.

Our kids watch and learn from us. We can teach them the value of commitment when we keep our words even if it means stretching our schedules. When we promised a movie night, his favorite food or a simple sit down conversation, follow through and make time for it.

Nothing is final now. After several months, we will ask Malcolm again if he wants to continue or permanently cancel. But whatever his decision is, we got his back.

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