Raising a quitter

The school where my son goes to is extremely competitive. Every child has to write an entrance exam and pass an interview to get the admission.

Couple of days ago, my son mentioned that the only Mallu kid in his grade has quit. His work has been slacking and his grades were heading south. So his parents apparently suggested that he quit the current school and join the local school where he doesn’t have to do so much of work..

When I heard the news, I asked myself what would I have done, had my son was in the same situation?

I would have never let my son quit. It is much easier to quit than to stay and fight. Resilience and perseverance are the key strength children need to develop to stay ahead in this mad world.

If my child’s grades are falling.. then there are only two logical reasons for it. One, they didn’t understand the subject and are struggling. Two, their work is slacking.

if they are struggling, there is always someone out there who can explain things to them..(I am a lousy teacher, so I tend to not teach my kids, but will find a tutor if my kids ever need help. So far, only Yaya required extra help for Maths and I hired a third year engineering student to help her when she was in grade 12.)

If their is work is slacking… it doesn’t happen because my kids know very well that they need to give their best shot..and just have to get their acts together..

I believe that winners never quit and that quitters never win..

That being said, I am not encouraging unreal expectation from the parent’s side..which tends to put undue stress on kids.. As a parent, I really don’t care if my children get straight A’s or not, but I will raise all hell if their effort and behaviour column in their report is bad.

10 thoughts on “Raising a quitter

  1. My parents let me quit and it was the best thing they did for me!

    This was years ago, i was around 13 or 14 and was going through the same situation that you are talking about. My grades were not great, i was feeling the pressure just to play catch up with the other kids in my class. My parents dint really care about my scores, as long as i passed they were happy, they were more concerned about me being a good person and being able to deal with the pressure i was under. I went for some extra classes, tuitions, and even stopped hanging out with my friends just to focus on my lessons. It went from bad to worse. I asked them if i could quit, i just wasn’t able to deal with all of it.

    They said the same thing you said, you cant quit when it gets difficult, there are going to be worse things ahead in life, will you quit every time it gets difficult? Just study harder, do your best, that is enough.

    But i stood my ground, i knew it was not just the lessons but the competitive environment of the school that was really getting to me. one night before dinner i sat the three of them down, (my parents and my grandmother) and explained why i really needed to change schools. I should give credit to my mother for being the first one to agree since she saw just how desperate i was and how i had clearly given it a lot of thought before approaching them. She said that i could move the next school year, which was only a couple of months away, but until then i had to make sure i did my best.
    After the school year i said i was sure about my decision and moved to my new school which apart from being closer home had a different academic syllabus. (state board)
    The decision actually changed my life, i did quite well in academics and other school activities and competitions.

    If my parents had forced me to stay on in the previous school, well obviously i would have stayed on. It would have probably led to me being average not only in school but also in life.

    I am just so thankful they did what was best for me rather than what would make them look good, since they had to deal with a lot of questions about my change of school since i had moved from a rather prestigious school.

    I would have not commented, but somehow this post touched me somewhere.

    • Kochey, I understand your point.. but I still stand my ground on this point.. This is the boy whose mother checks his laptop every day and he has fragmented his hard drive, changed the icon etc and has more computer games on his laptop than anyone else in the class. He has been playing counter strike, global offense non-stop. He wasn’t struggling because the subject was hard.(remember he was handpicked based on his academic credential alone), he was struggling because instead of doing his assignments, he has been playing CSGO.(which apparently is a big thing among Indian gamers). His parents have not solved the problem..they just shifted it to a new location..

      • Wow, sounds like he is addicted to games. I have no idea what GSCO is!
        My situation was not really the same, looking back i think i probably had a learning disability, though it did disappear in my new school. The teachers were so much kinder, and being the new girl i was given a lot of help.
        Math was my enemy number 1. Unfortunately to this day i’m not very good at math 🙁 but then im extra vigilant while counting out money, adding up etc since i know i can easily make a mistake.

        I love reading your blog posts so much! 🙂

        • Kochey: my son always updates me about the latest games..I don’t think you have learning disability.. I think you most likely panic under stress..( I do it regularly.. I was playing scrabble with my partner and when I won , he asked me by how many points and I couldn’t calculate..a simple subtraction.. This is the same me who adds and subtracts all the car number plates ahead of me while driving..

  2. Spot on. I agree. I think it’s good that life throws challenges/circumstances at us sometimes. However, we can all get through it if we keep at it and do not surrender to it. Besides I do realize that after going through some rough periods in my life, that failure/weakness.etc is part of the route to success. Also agree with not placing unrealiztic expectations on kids and to let them make mistakes and learn from them. Personal life experiences are the best teachers.No sense it setting super high expectations, stressing your kids out and then demoralize them when they don’t match up to the expected standards. Sometimes I just don’t understand why Asian parents, especially Chinese, don’t realize this.

      • I agree they do need to see that, but in reality they don’t and it’s sad to see as their children get very stressed/depressed that they end up taking extreme cases (think suicide). When thinking of it, Asian cultures predominantly heavily emphasize on honor, legacy status..etc rather than the well being of the child. Some kids are forced to pursue careers that they have no passion/drive for and it makes them unhappy, and when they do err or some uneventful circumstance occurs, they get shamed, abused, guilt tripped etc rather than be given strength to overcome it. Sad state affairs indeed.

        • J1206: There is no such thing as one particular culture is worst than another. I have known strict western parents who have destroyed their children’s life just as I have seen absolutely wonderful Asian parents who helped their children to thrive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *