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Your Child Tells You He Wants To Quit - Tips For Handling This Burnout

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This resource is from a case study in Jim Thompson’s book, The High School Sports Parent.

Quitting Time?: Your son is not enjoying his chosen sport any more. He has played for years and excels at it. But now he appears burned out and has even mentioned he wants to quit. As a Second-Goal Parent®, what should you do?

Peter Benson, author of Sparks, a landmark book on teen motivation, says: “Sparks illuminate a young person’s life and give it energy and purpose.” Helping teens find their spark and encouraging it is an important role for parents, which may be hard if you are emotionally attached to your son competing in his sport, while it no longer sparks him.

Try to disengage yourself from your hopes and dreams for your son as an athlete. This is about what’s best for him, and if he feels he needs to please you, it will be much harder for him to figure out what is best for him.

Whether to quit or not may seem like a “forever” decision to your son, but it doesn’t have to be. He can decide to take a break, even skip a season of competition, without that meaning that he is quitting the sport for good. If he takes time off, he may find he misses it, or he may feel relieved to be away. He won’t know unless he does take a break.

So, take some of the pressure off the decision. Decisions made under pressure are often not as good as those where we give ourselves time to figure out the best course of action.

To read the full response, including suggested questions for getting a conversation started with your child about when it's the right time to stop playing, download the book excerpt found below.

To purchase the entire book The High School Sports Parent, and to learn more about other PCA books, click here.

These books are used in PCA’s live workshops. To learn more about our interactive sports parent workshops, click here.

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