Can I ask you some advice?
Of course, I can. This is the internet. Everyone has an opinion behind the safety of a keyboard.
Do you force your child to take extracurriculars?
Are you an enforcer or a quitter?
Are you the parent that doesn’t let your child tell you no? She told me she didn’t want to but I’m going to make her go to summer camp anyway. It’s a part of being a kid.
Or are you the parent that allows your child to make their own decisions? Fine, call your dad and tell him you quit soccer. It’s ringing. — Hello? — I quitted.
Kate quit soccer.
Me: Kate, get off my leg and go run on the field with your new friends. They’re yelling your name. Go, girlfriend! Go play soccer!
Kate: No. I hate soccer.
Me: You didn’t even try it. Go kick a ball back with that little girl. Isn’t she in your class?
Kate: It’s too cold.
Me: It will warm up when you run around.
Kate: I’m not as good as Emma.
Me: But your team is with girls your age. You don’t have to play like Emma.
Kate: I don’t want you to watch me.
Me: Ok, I’ll turn around and watch Emma on the playground. Go play!
I turned around and felt Kate release my leg. I checked to see where Emma was at on the playground and then turned back around to sneak a glance at Kate.
She was gone.
I scanned heads again. Kate was not with her teammates on the field.
Then a pink coat caught my eye. She was a soccer field away.
Kate turned around.
Kate: I QUITTED!
Kate sprinted towards my car.
Me: EMMA, LET’S GO! HURRY! KATE! STOP! WAIT FOR ME!
We made a solid choice when we enrolled Emma in soccer. We put her in. She didn’t complain. And the child blossomed. Athletically, maybe a little bit. But it’s her confidence that blossomed. She’s changed. She’s happy. It might have to do with switching schools and milking the “new kid” status. Or it might be the sense of unity that comes with a sport like soccer. Whatever we did, we scored a goal with Emma. The stands went wild. Parenting high fives all around.
We took Kate back to the second practice.
Damn. And here come the boos.
A soccer ball was thrown at my head. I cried on the sidelines. Kate kicked the car tires in a meltdown. Scott threatened to drop kick Kate back on the field. And Emma stormed off to the parking lot and screamed, “SOCCER PLAYERS DON’T QUIT, KATE!”
Kate quit soccer again.
The enforcer parents told me to keep trying soccer with Kate. Or try dance. Or gymnastics. Kate has said no to everything. I’m not an expert parent but my gut is telling me the school switch, the move and enrolling her in soccer was too much change.
Come on, we are talking about a 5 year-old’s free time. Fighting with her sister after school is a childhood requirement. She’ll never quit that.
Do I know what’s good for her? Maybe.
Is she a kid just being a kid? Well, she’s Kate being Kate.
We told Kate she could quit soccer. I feel like we just scored another goal.
Do your kids do extracurricular activities? Do you make your child stay in after-school activities if they don’t want to? Have you let your child quit anything? Do you think parents put too much time into extracurricular activities? Tell me. It’s just you and your keyboard.