• Anya MacFarlane

I Quit! What does this term mean to our children?

How do we as parents help guide our children?

Do we say quit or keep going?


Quit...........

I hear my two teenagers use this term a lot, I mean a lot. This person quit English Lit, such and such quit rowing, such and such quit school, quit being friends, quit being a golf pro.......... on and on as though it's something you do without any thought or consideration, it's as though you can just quit anything that's difficult or you don't enjoy.


Have the younger generation got it right, is the 'business of quitting', okay, helpful even, or have they got it wrong?

Are they leading themselves and the wider community towards a life of not thinking long term or disregarding decisions and the implications without thought? Is 'quitting' a short term gain or relief, pushing a difficult act aside and looking for more immediate self gratification?


Or.....


What is the point of continuing with something you are not enjoying? Life is all about enjoyment, right? Why put yourself through hardship if you don't have to? Think only about yourself and how this decision impacts you?


In my world the idea of quitting is to give up, to turn your back on something, to walk away but to do this requires careful consideration, a thinking process, assessing the pro's and con's, thinking about the consequences on myself and others.


Now don't get me wrong, I could happily quit on many things;

☮like cleaning

☮tidying up after my children

☮walking the dog when it is wet and cold

☮cooking dinner every night

☮a book I have started and don't like

☮learning to use social media for my business

☮uploading the Canva photo

☮an online course I thought I would like to do and didn't

However in general all decisions I have committed to and then given up on affect not only me and how I feel and see myself but my wider circle of family, friends, work colleagues and other people I have committed to.


The thought pattern for this blog came about last night when my daughter announced she wanted to quit French. Now I know she isn't keen on French or her French teacher however this outburst constituted 3 solid hours of blaming me for 'making her do French', telling me about all the other quitters whose parents supported their quitting and how she was going to say nothing in her French speaking mock! It was very dramatic.


She has already taken the listening and writing element of her French mock and there was never any talk of 'quitting'. ( Doesn't matter how many times I write 'quitting' I am still not finding an affinity with it). Spending 3 hours listening to her and holding back on giving my very strong opinion of quitting I asked questions instead. (Counsellor training cap on).


It transpired that she had an experience when speaking French to her teacher, her teacher started to laugh and made a comment. We will hold on the comment as this was my daughters interpretation of it. What we can be sure of, is this one act by the teacher dented her confidence. Now what she said may have been funny and the response could have been automatic however this shows how our actions impact those around us and since we spend most our time in our own world we don't often think about about how our actions and language impact on others.


Along with the wider point that to 'quit' French was easier than to knuckle down and work at a more challenging subject regardless of the what the outside experiences are. The blame of external influences and excuses are only a platform for self protection.


The response from my daughter was to 'quit French as she will never use it again after GCSE'.


We come back to my point, this needs careful consideration, this statement could be true however it may also be untrue. There could be;

  • a job role in the future that requires a language and she has a GCSE in a language, helpful

  • she may meet some French students in the future and be able to communicate

  • she may go travelling and visit French speaking countries

  • she could end up with a French boyfriend


The point is, who knows what the future holds, why give up (quit) something because the term 'to quit' is perceived as the easy, okay to do, option. The option that allows an out without potentially putting in hard graft, deeper consideration and certainly an ability to build a strong belief in oneself.


So are there benefits to 'keep on going'?


Is it more productive to make your decision and follow it through to your chosen end point?

Follow through whilst not easy can build great resilience and the learning can be a solid building block for the future.

Looking at our own internal thoughts, values and beliefs and having the confidence to know these are the right ones for us is a powerful tool.

By doing this, we can fulfill our potential, grow and improve whilst protecting our own existence.


Exam time can be very emotional and for some children cause a lot of anxiety. As parents knowing how to communicate and help our teenage children understand their emotions attached to decision making can be difficult.

How do we help them navigate all the different views from their peer group, teachers, coaches, us and many more outside influences like social media?

Rather than taking the quick emotional response to an outburst or a decision you don't agree with, help them take time to consider their decisions.

Follow your children's thought pattern, help them play out the different scenarios, ask them which one feels right for them.


A quick exercise - draw a circle on a piece of A4 paper (their world) ask them to write down words about how they are feeling, words about how they would describe themselves. On the outside of the circle ask them to write down what has made them feel this way or why they feel this way about themselves.


This will help give you an insight into how they process thoughts and act on them, hopefully opening the door to some constructive chat.


My daughter is in her French speaking mock as I write this blog and hopefully after she will be able to take stock and make 'her right decision'. Whatever that may be...............to quit or not to quit, that is the question.






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