We’ve talked about what to do when your child wants to quit youth sports but it’s still a sensitive topic for a lot of sports parents and coaches. Obviously you want to teach your children the importance of commitment and seeing something through to the end, but are there any times its okay to let your child quit youth sports mid-season? It’s not as black and white an issue as you may think, especially when you start thinking about all the possible extenuating circumstances that might get in the way.
Here are few times it’s probably okay to let your child quit youth sports:
1. When they’ve been seriously injured.
Let’s hope that a skinned knee isn’t traumatizing enough to keep a kid from going back on the field, but after a serious injury some youth athletes actually need to be told they shouldn’t go back on the field (at least for that season). The human body is pretty remarkable, but after a serious injury like a broken bone or torn ligament it still needs time to heal and regain lost strength (not to mention they might need some mental recovery time). Some youth athletes push themselves too hard and too fast after an injury and wind up worse off. An injured athlete doesn’t have to quit sports forever, but an extended rest might be necessary.
2. If their grades are slipping.
School should always come first! Maybe they aren’t ready for the time commitment that comes with belonging to a high-powered sports team and they are struggling with time management (and school is on the losing end). Youth sports can be a lot of fun for a lot of kids but if you athlete’s school performance starts slipping because of their commitment to their sports team it might be time to reel it in or call of the season completely. You should give your athlete the opportunity to re-prioritize and see if they can balance both school and sports, but as parents you need to know when to step in.
3. If they are being bullied or harassed.
There is a line between kids teasing one another and kids bullying their teammates. If your child feels they are constantly being bullied and harassed by their teammates (or even their coach) and it isn’t getting better it might be worth letting them quit. You should definitely talk to the coach first though and see if they notice anything going on at practice; they might be able to step in and get the other players to fall in line and help boost your own athlete’s confidence. Above all else, youth sports should be a place where your child feels safe; if practice and game time is truly mental anguish it might not be worth sticking it out for the season.
If your child wants to quit their youth sports team you should definitely try to uncover the real reason why. Maybe they don’t have any good friends on their team. Maybe they feel like they just aren’t good enough; or maybe they would just prefer to play another sport. Yes, teaching our children to honor their commitments is important but sometimes it is okay to walk away.