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If she had asked for dance lessons I would say she needs to follow it through. If the only reason she is there is that you signed her up and she didn't ask to do it, then she should be allowed to stop. Activities work best when they are at least partially child lead.

As a teacher I'm on Kate's side. If it wasn't her choice and if she isn't enjoying it then why continue? As a parent I understand your dilemma. Some years ago I enrolled my son in swimming classes because I was so afraid he'd never learn how to swim like his mom (yes, I know - very embarassing). He hated the lessons and begged me to stop which I eventually gave into. He learnt how to swim with his dad and loves, loves swimming, but just didn't enjoy the classes.


What favours are you doing her and yourself? She doesn't enjoy it! You're wasting your money and her time as you said yourself it was YOUR idea, not hers.

My eldest wee lassie who just turned 8, did so well at football last year but didn't want to do it again this year.

I felt a little sad as she really excelled at it even winner "Most Improved Player" in her first season. But I figured - its what makes HER happy.

She wanted to try something new and is doing tennis this year. She told me recently (3 months into doing tennis) that its boring and she wishes she could go back to soccer.

I told her that teams already have already been chosen for football and its too late. I told her she can either stop doing tennis and do nothing but she can't join football again until next season.

Lesson Learned, don't you think?

I would say let her stop. She has many, many years of extra murals ahead of her when she is at 'big' school, and you can teach her about sticking with something then. For now, let her play at home if that's what she likes doing. These days children spend so little time just playing at home, that I would encourage that while you can.

I'm on team Rose!

Kate has the rest of her life to learn how to resent doing stuff other people make her do. There are only a few years where she gets to be a kid without any real responsibities... Even if it had been her choice to do the classes I'd let her stay home. It's hard for 6-year-olds to understand the meaning of 'next weekend' or even 'in two hours', let alone 'a term'. PS She's so tall! Gorgeous girl! (both of you hehe)

I know the situation is not funny, but I had to laugh. And I don't mean this in a nasty way, but what lesson would she be learning if you made her continue? That when someone else makes a decision for her to do something, she has to follow it through?

But on a more serious note, if it's making her unhappy, and it is not something she 'pleeeeeaaaasssed' about, then let her stop. The situation is not pleasing anyone.

Stop the lessons!

She didn't want it and she hates it - my view is life is too short to do things you hate :)

all valid and great comments above!! I'm with everyone else. if she had begged to sign up for the dancing and wanted to quit, I would be more hard on her about quitting but I think everyone is right in saying she has many years ahead to learn the lesson about starting something and following it through. You don't want her to become anxious about these lessons, or even more so than she perhaps already is. xx

I don't think you are teaching her the wrong lesson by letting her quit. Maybe just sit down and have a "grown-up" chat with her about the reasons for staying and the reasons for leaving and then leave the final decision up to her. If it were a team where others were depending on her participation then I would definitely have a discussion with her about why she needs to finish, but dance seems like a pretty individual thing and I doubt the group will suffer if she doesn't finish the class.

I think you've gotten great advice. I want to add that in the future it may be a good idea to see if you can try a few classes/practices before you make a commitment to join. It's an approach that has worked well for our children - whether it's piano lessons, karate, dance, football, etc. After two attempts they can choose whether or not to make a commitment and once they have made a commitment, they must finish out the term.

I don't think there's much to be gained by insisting that Kate continue. It wasn't something she asked for in the first place, so it's not really a learning opportunity about decision-making and commitment. And if she really dislikes it, what's the point?

I think it's fine to let her quit.

I will be the odd person out and say it's ok to quit something EVEN if it is the child's idea to try it. Sometimes you try something and learn it's not for you. To me, knowing when to quit is also a life lesson. I don't believe in dragging something out and feeling miserable just because you started it.

The only exception to this I might make is if the child was absolutely needed for his/her part in a recital late in the year, etc. Also, if my child continually joined things and then quit, I would probably be very cautious about what could be started in the first place.

But I am fine with quitting. My parents had this philosophy also, and I agree with it. Life is short.

I agree with everyone above. Just thought I'd point out something I picked up from reading this. You said "she would rather be @ home - Kate is a home-body". Hmmmm - this is deffo YOUR daughter! You - who up until the age of 40 was a homebody. (Now you're a farkin globe trotter ;) )... But - take yourself back and put yourself in her shoes as a 6 year old. Would you have rather stayed home than attend a class your Mum enrolled you for? X x

I have a friend that draws up a 'contract' with her kids when they ask to sign up for a class or whatever. First - it's always child driven... so she knows that they WANT to. And then they make rules - you have to attend x number of classes, blah blah blah - so the kids have ownership of the decision. So in your case - I would think that since she didn't want to do dance to begin with.... quiting is fine.

When I was growing up, my mom wanted me to try all sports, and started me out with swimming lessons. I loved it. Then she wanted me to try gymnastics. I would sneek out of gymnanstics to get to the open swim session. So I was easy. I jsut wanted to swim. All the time.

I say it is totally fine to stop going, since she didn't ask for it. I signed up ballet for my daughter too, she was fine in the beginning, then lost interests and I let her quit. Now she loves gymnastics, not to mention she can bounce off all her energies after sitting in the class all day.

I'd let her quit since it wasn't her idea to start, but I'd also get her to find an activity that she does want to try. Clever kids like Kate, who have a fairly easy time picking things up, need to learn how to learn things that don't come easily and naturally. There will always be things that are hard, the sooner she learns how to manage learning something hard, the better she will manage in the long term. It does not get easier to learn new things and it will only get harder for you to convince her that she does need to do things that are hard, even if she doesn't want to.

Let her quit. Life is full of stuff we don't enjoy. She will learn any lessons that life has in store for her without forcing her into something she never asked for in the first place while she is so young.

And like Rachel said, let her pick something else that she does from start to finish. What about a magician's course, or something with animals and nature, horse riding or a rhythm and drum class?

I am not a parent. I think you should have a chat with her when it's not "time to go", and if she wants to quit, then let her. When it's time to go and she throws a fit about not wanting to, then you probably don't want to reward her for that by letting her have her way. But if she can discuss it calmly not in the moment, then let her persuade you that dance class is not for her.

This brought to you by the woman whose mother let her drop out of preschool. I told her, calmly and, according to my mother, quite sensibly, that I was not learning anything, I didn't like the other children, and the teacher had "a mean talking to children voice", as well as some other more specific complaints about the toys and hairbrushes and so forth. So, she let me quit preschool. Had I thrown a fit at dropoff, it would have been "too bad, you're going", but a calm chat about it got me out for good. Which seems fair to me.

She's only 6............just let her stop!

If she doesn't want to do an extra activity like that, I don't think she should have to.

Here's how it works at our house:

Mom and Dad suggest activities, but don't force -- if they say they don't want to do it, we don't sign them up. AT MOST, I have told a kid they have to try it once or twice before they make up their mind. And that was when I knew he'd love it and was simply being stubborn.

If you want to quit an activity you asked to do, you may do so, at the end of the period that's already been paid for (or the commitment that's been made). Gymnastics we pay for by the month and last year in the spring my daughter wanted a break from it for a couple of months, so we did that. When she wanted to quit children's choir (free), she had to wait until after an upcoming performance so as not to leave the other children and the directory in a lurch (this was somewhat symbolic, since I seriously doubt her 5-year-old voice was propping up the group or anything!).

I think the last thing you want to do is turn any of these activities into Stuff You Have To Do.

As they get older, I can see where I might 'force' a category of activities on them. For example, if they start turning into couch potatoes, I might say they need to pick something physical to participate in on a regular basis. And we may insist on some sort of do-for-others activity. The specific, though, will be up to them (within reason -- I dread the day my daughter discovers there's a Circus School, because it's an hour away and oh-no-I-do-NOT-want-to-make-that-drive-regularly).

I did ballet from the age of 3 to the age of 18. Mostly, I did it because nobody around me cared if I did or didn't. In the early years, the class was always full of little tomboys whose mom's wanted to make them into ballerinas... it really didn't work. They all hated it, and the teachers hated it more. Not saying you are one of those mom's, but I think kids will find what they enjoy. It might be many different things over time or just one. Whatever, who cares. They've been in school all day, it's enough isn't it?

I agree with the first two commenters: if she asked to enroll in dance class, definitely make her finish. If you signed her up without checking with her, then let her stop.

If it isn't for her, then I understand, it's time to go.
I made the mistake once when I was an au pair of forcing a kid to go swimming. He hated me after that. But it was my job..
By the way I did ballet throughout primary school and it was a big part of me, and I'm glad I did it. However I am also glad I left. It did become too much at the end - esp with me with flat feet having to stand properly the whole time.. It is tough, but I enjoyed the eistedfords etc, dressing up..

If it was your idea for her to start dance classes then let her stop!

one of my biggest regrets about the way i brought up my older kids, was that sometimes i was not as firm on them as they needed me to be. both of them, particularly the eldest katie (now 28) said that they wished i had made them stick to their piano lessons and other activities when i faced similar dilemmas to the one you are facing. at the time, i didn't want to push them and - you know - damage them in some way. with chelsea, a few years younger than katie - i ended up a single parent by the time she was 9, so had more time one on one with her, and i was much better at making her go to school when she didn't want to and follow through on other commitments. she is graduating as a Vet next month in NZ - and is only 24. our battles over stuff she had to do paid off FOR HER in the long run. she learned stick-to-it-ive-ness because i pushed her at times, in the face of MUCH opposition. katie has since said that she needed me to keep her on track and really regrets not keeping going at a number of her youthful initiatives. i used to see her starting something as a young adult and not completing it and i know that i really let her down when it came to helping her learn to stay the distance when she was a kid.
now i have amelia, who is three, and she loves to dance. she has had one term of being at ballet/jazz/contemporary (will never be a ballerina as she has extremely tall parents and is already taller than the five year olds in her class), and struggled at the start just to keep her attention focused for a whole class (45 mins) but by the concert at the end of the term she was really into performing and now manages to stay attentive for the whole class - a hell of an achievement. for us it is about more than dancing, but about the life lesson its worth following through on learning something. we are going to keep her in dancing just because she needs the companionship, and the discipline of working as a team - the classes are fun btw - and the teacher is superb, and the kids love the teacher.
i say get kate to at least stick the term out (think of yourself and the struggle you have to keep going to the gym), and then maybe get her into gymnastics which may be more suited to her energy levels. will it kill her to have to learn to dance? no it won't. it is 45 minutes out of a week where she has free reign over what she does. she loves performing - when it comes to the end of term or year concert, you don't think she will want to be there on the stage in the limelight? has she ever been there before? i think you should at least give her the chance to experience it, as that is part of dance - you dance for yourself and the music, but also as a way of connecting with and performing for others.
what lesson do you want her to take out of this (and i know she is only 6 - but she is LEARNING how to be an adult by watching you and others around her already)? does she need to learn to co-operate with others around her? is she clumsy or overly hasty with her actions and could she better learn how to modify her own movements? dance is an incredible skill for body and mind, and it can really touch the heart no matter what age you are. once acquired, the passion for responding physically and intensely to music will NEVER leave her! and oh the JOY of having skilled movements.
i am now almost 50, and teach Zumba Gold (the less intense version) to ladies in their 80's and 90's. oh my word they LOVE to move. and many of them started out in their young years doing ballet. those lessons are a gift that will keep on giving kate so much delight, but it might be that you are the only one of you both that sees it at the moment (like tooth brushing, and changing undies, and doing homework etc etc etc).

Oh dear, I hated ballet class, so so much. I was so glad when I could stop. I feel for Kate, even though I know the whole spiel of finishing what you started with is good character building blablabla. Let her quit. Dancers make peanuts anyway - who's going to fund your luxury retirement then? Chilling in front of the tv then running around sounds like the perfect childhood. Lots of time for proper sport/art/music/character building when she's a bit older. Perhaps karate (or is she doing that already? Rings a bell). Good luck. She's gorgeous.

Mama, she never wanted to do it in the first place. She's not stopping what she started/quitting... she never stepped up and said she wanted to go. That was YOUR idea. So the only lesson learned by Mama making her go to a class she has always hated is that mom can force her to do things. Not necessarily a BAD lesson to learn, but it's not going to further her character, either.

Let the little girl quit, and find her a lizard collecting group.

I'm with the trend that it's okay to quit.

That said a strategy that has worked for us has been to say "we signed up, so you have to go tell your teacher that you're not coming today." Usually by the time we got there my son would have changed his mind and would participate in the class happily.

For us it helped to make the distinction between "I don't like this class" and "I don't like getting up off my duff to get to the the class." Which are really two separate issues.

My opinion? The best life lesson is that you should put your energy and effort and time into doing what you love. If she had begged and pleaded for the lessons it might be a different story, but as it is? Let the home-body stay home, or find her an activity that really resonates with her.

Quit. I think that you should pick things more to her liking. I'm a firm believer in signing my kid up for everything, because if he doesn't try, he won't know, and something he doesn't want to do might be the thing he loves once he tries it, or my daughter, same thing. But if they don't like it, they aren't getting anything out of it except resentment, and it takes away the chance for them to maybe like it later in life, because if you are forced to do something you hate, you'll always remember that, and never try again.

I wanted to do Karate and my mom put me in Ballet - HATED it! I wanted to play drums and she made me do piano - HATED that too. LOVED gymnastics! Maybe, because an extramural is important, ask her what she wants to do and let her do it. But explain that what she starts she finishes. Not fair to choose for her and expect her to enjoy it. (In my adult life I did kick-boxing for a short period of time, and took up Ballroom for a short period to and LOVED both).

Let her quit. I also put my daughter in dance, thinking she would enjoy it, after two classes, she told me she really did not like it and could she please switch to clay modeling because she likes to build things. She switched and happily goes to clay. You signed her up, she did not pursue it, let her quit. All those lessons you want to teach her... there's plenty of time in life for that.

I'd try to figure out if it's because she really doesn;t like ballet, or if she's just prefer to sit in front of the TV instead (as is the case with my daughter). If it's the first, then yes, quitting is fine. If it's the second, then no, it isn't. IMO

If she didn't ask to do it, I'd let her stop. Is that horrible? I let my daughter (same age) stop. Not feeling guilty in the least. She is a homebody like your Kate, and I know it won't *always* be that way, so soaking it up now!

She was in Girl Scouts, too, and they were told to sell cookies door-to-door to "hone their business skills." UM, really? When they're 6?

I think 6 is a good age for imaginative play and lots of time at home with the fam.

screw dance. get her a lizard.*

(*typed after 2 glasses of a rather nice shiraz and not nearly enough meat on the braised short ribs I spent 4 freakin hours creating. just saying. you know, for perspective).

besides, dancing hurts your feet. and just ask Natalie Portman, it makes you anorexic.


Let her stop.
She is doing it because it was something that YOU wanted. Also, she has years of extra murals ahead of her. She is doing the Teddies thing and I think that for now, this is enough. If you are looking for a movement based activity then maybe try something like clamber club? It's like playing on a jungle gym all the time.
She is a homebody? Totally her Mommy's girl.

Most of the classes I sign my son up for at the Rec center are about 4 to 6 weeks long. At the end of the 4 to 6 weeks, if he's not interested we don't sign up again. It seems like if she's been there since January, and there is more to go, thats pretty long. That's a commitment, not a try it out and see if you like it, which I think it should be at this age. I'd let her be done, but try to find something she's interested in to replace it.

How many more classes are there? I think I would say "we need to finish the course but don't have to sign up for any more." I also think that if she were saying that she doesn't want to keep going because she really doesn't like the activity I'd let her quit but I have some trouble with quitting because it's "too hard"--whatever it is she really means by that. We quit stuff when it gets hard is definitely a message I'm not wild about--but then I'm a math teacher!

Get her out of there! Most girls like to dance, but the discipline required in ballet classes can be hard for children, especially if they are tall and they need extra attention to focus on their coordination. When a child says that she hates a class, chances are the teacher is not very good. In my experience, a lot of ballet teachers are not good at handling anything but docile girls and they make more spirited or emotional children feel bad about themselves.

If your daughter is allowed to quit before she completely hates not just the class but the whole idea of ballet, she may want still to go back to it when she is older, or try different types of dance.

Finally, I completely and utterly disagree with the principle that you need to 'finish' everything you start. Says who? Ok, there are things that you need to finish in order to be able to get anything done in life, but they are really few if you think about it. Time is precious, and knowing what is right for you and quitting things that are not going to workout for you is actually a great personal skill.

If it was her idea I'd make her follow through (look at me with the assvice, I don't have children and strictly avoided babysitting) but everybody has had lots of good advice and has already said what I wanted to say, so I will only say this:

She does look v. fab and fine in a leotard, though!

What would she rather do?

I'd let her quit. With my two, they can quit the things I MAKE them do (apart from swimming. Swimming is non-negotiable), but if they choose to do something and then get bored with it, they have to stay out the term/season. My two do a lot of extra-mural stuff (they are both high-energy kids) but they have chosen them all (bar swimming). If I had MADE my kids do ballet/dance, I would let them quit if they didn't like it. But if they chose to do it (my daughter has bugged me for a year) then they have to see it out until the paid lessons finish (my daughter is now wavering). Seriously, find her some eco group or scouts that she would much prefer (I have a 'Kate' who although likes ballet, prefers sticks, cars, dinosaurs, balls and bugs. I signed her up for Scouts not Guides!)

I wish I had seen this sooner. I will let my now 27 year old daughter answer for me by way of telling you that she wishes I had made her see things through. She wishes I had made her stick with music lessons when she didn't want to and she wishes I had pushed her harder to participate in sports.

When you are an adult you don't get to do this stuff very easily. Also, if you don't push through the hard part you never get good at something that was hard and therefore never get the satisfaction that comes with that transcendence.

Had I seen this sooner (and I expect it's all over now) I would have suggested you tell Kate that she has to finish out this session and then you will talk about whether or not to sign her up for more.

Letting kids quit is a mistake. It makes them quitters. Letting my kids quit stuff is 1 of my 2 biggest regrets as a parent. The other is how often I raised my voice with them. Not necessary. And hind site is 20/20, right?

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