October 14, 2010

When Is It Okay to Quit?

I am having a bit of a dilemna with - dun dun dun - my kids!  I know, shocking, right?

Both of the toads take Karate (don't ask me what genre - I don't know - except they say Ke-yah alot).

I totally love Karate.  I have met some other mom's that seem to have the same lack of mothering philosophy as me, some of the instructors are nice to look at (one of them looks like a 70s porn star - moustache and all - bowchickawowow ........um, oops, hehe, that is another post entirely).

And most importantly the kids are being watched by someone else learning discipline and how to defend themselves.  The Karate studio itself is one of those that also has 300 other ways for you to spend your money.   Daycare, "Fun" Friday nights, Karate camps, etc....   They have a performing league that seems to border on a cult.  

Z-Toad loves it.  He always gives it 110% and is always telling me how he is going to get his black-belt.  He also tells me that he is going to be a cop and he and his wife will be living across the street with their four kids which I will be babysitting while they both work.  He is 7.

So the issue revolves around J-Toad.  He is 9 going on 40.   His maturity level sometimes surpasses Mr. Toad (does that surprise anyone?).  He also does well with Karate WHEN he puts in the effort.  Usually he stands out there and does everything half-assed.    If he catches the evil eye from me he will do better but he usually positions himself in a corner so that I can't easily see him.

It has been 8 months and he wants to quit.  I let the owners know and the woman actually let me out of my year contract and agreed to reduce my rate to just Z-Toad.   The male owner who I really like and I believe that he does have the kids best interest at heart sat down to chat with me.   In a nutshell, he pegged both my kids like he had been raising them himself.   They are completely different.

Z-Toad leads with his emotions.  All I need to do is tell him how happy he makes me or how proud I am of him and all is right in his little world.  J-Toad could care less what I or anyone else thinks.  He wants to do what he wants and that is that.   That sounds harsh.   He is basically a good kid but is in his own world where everything is how he wants it.   For example: He road his bike ONCE and hasn't been on  again because "I know how to do it.  Why do you want me to do it again?" Why does he have to constantly right stories in his journal at school - he knows all his letters.   And on and on it goes.

The Karate owner thinks J-Toad is manipulating me which I would hate to admit cause I am certainly smarter than a 9 year old but perhaps that is true.  J-Toad knows that I hate to waste money so by making half-hearted attempts at Karate he knows I will get frustrated and pull him out.  And thus we have a pattern.  I should also point out that J-Toad is the smallest one in his class.  He is on the 1% line for his height and weight.   He is ridiculously smart and sarcastic.   For pure survival he should stay in Karate.

On the other hand my cynical business side is wondering if the Karate owner is playing me - after all it is in his interest for me to keep both kids doing Karate.   And Karate isn't for everyone.  If your child was taking soccer and hated it would you put them back in it the following season?

What do you all think?



Anonymous said...

I probably would let him quit but my son is very mouthy with me and would be giving me constant grief about not wanting to be there. It's easier for me to give in than to hear him bitching.

Unknown Mami said...

Interesting conundrum. I don't have kids that age so you should not listen to me. When I first started reading this, I thought let him quit, but then at the end I thought he should finish out the year contract and then he never has to do it again if he doesn't want to. Of course follow your gut.

From Tracie said...

I'm going to vote with Unknown Mami. Make him finish out the year (following through on commitments and all that) and then let him quit if he wants. (Maybe let him take boxing?)

I don't see spending money on it after the year is up if he isn't getting anything out of it anyway.

BluEyedBader said...

Hmm.. I went through the same situation with my daughter and it sounds like my daughter and your son are one in the same.

Although she wanted to quit because they were making her work too hard, and she was scared to start sparing.

But after a long talk with the instructor who we all love, she stuck with it. I still fight her to go on Saturday because they combine the lower ranks with the upper ranks and make them work harder then all the rest of the week, but she still tries hard (sometimes)... We will stick it out, its been over a year now, but I can already see her interest fading again.

My advice is to stick it out and see where you are at a year. It could be that he needs to earn his next belt and feel better about what he is doing.

Tracie said...

Update: After a lot of thought we have decided to pull him from karate. I have had conversations with other mom's who have also pulled their kids out of karate and found out that they basically got the same the "talk" that I did. The fact is that another 3 months won't matter to J-Toad - he will still want to quit. He does take swimming which he LOVES and doesn't want to give that up. Thanks All :)