That Time I Let My Kid Quit

I was involved in a variety of sports and activities when I was a kid. We lived in an area with an extensive parks and recreation program so my mom stuck us in classes and leagues whenever she could.

I loved it. I ended up playing baseball for 15 years and made lifelong friends.

Grady is an active kid. He needs physical activity every day or he's a disaster. He needs to run and jump and burn energy. He also needs to learn to listen to people so I jumped at the chance to register him in a few classes recently.

His first dance class was last Saturday. It was ... not successful. He never actually made it into the class. He cried in the car on the way there, he cried walking down the sidewalk to the rec centre, and he panicked when I tried to take him into the room.

It didn't matter that I told him I'd stay with him. It didn't matter that he loves to dance. He didn't want to stay.

So we left.

And today I withdrew him from the program.

I have been accused of being overindulgent with Grady before. This doesn't do anything to bolster my defense. But ... I don't care. I know my kid. I know when he is legitimately upset or when he's putting on an act. There has been a lot of change and upheaval in his life recently (guess who graduated from the infant room to the preschool room at daycare?) and this was just one more thing that was too much for him to handle.

I'm not saying I'll always let him quit but I'm also not saying that I'll have a non-negotiable stick-it-out policy. I was raised with an "if you commit to it you follow through, no matter how miserable it makes you" attitude and I don't feel like it's served me particularly well as an adult.

How do you teach your kids that commitment is important while respecting their right to say no?