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Teen seems to be a quitter

(26 Posts)
Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 11:59:40

My almost 14 year old son is going skiing in February next year. Not a naturally athletic teen, with his full agreement I signed him up for half term ski lessons. All went well at the start, but he has now refused to do any more because the last lesson became tricky and he struggled.
Despite encouragement he would rather be without PS4/phone/wifi all day than go along for the final lesson.
Will have to pay for the trip whether he goes or not so how do we recover this situation?

Heratnumber7 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:00:58

Surely he can go and just not ski?

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:06:10

How will nko skiing help? What will he do while the others are skiing?

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:07:58

Its a school trip so he has to ski.

pinkliquorice Sat 04-Nov-17 12:11:45

Just because he cant handle and dosnt want to do one paticular activity dosnt mean you should lable him a 'quiter'.

I would be supporting and encouraging him, and maybe his confidence can be recovered and he can give it another go. Calling him a quitter will not help his confidence.

If he still decides he cant and dosnt want to do it then I would continue to support and accept his wishes. There will be other activities and oportunities that come up that he will enjoy and manage.

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:20:08

I certainly haven't voiced my feelings to him. He was buzzing at the beginning and so pleased with himself. Just can't understand why he won't keep trying. He was offered a 121 session today too.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 04-Nov-17 12:26:33

Does he have form for avoiding stuff that he finds challenging? Is this the first sign of him being a "quitter", or is this part of a more general pattern that you've observed?

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:42:42

To be honest he rarely comes out of his comfort zone. Ideas usually fall by the wayside before they get off the ground. We make arrangements and he decides not to go. I just want him to experience achieveing something he didn't think he could do. He made such a good start.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 04-Nov-17 12:47:22

I totally understand wanting him to experience the satisfaction of learning to do something that he didn't think he could do. I wanted this for my dd, too. Luckily, to my delight, I discovered that she is far more determined and persevering than I could ever be!

Is he afraid of failure? The fear that I won't be able to do stuff has held me back in so many ways throughout my life. I think you do need to help him work through this if that's the case.

booellesmum Sat 04-Nov-17 12:51:39

If this is a one off I wouldn't make him if he can't be encouraged.
In future if he wants to do a course that costs money make it clear he commits to the whole course. Unless he is ill he pays you back for sessions missed.

exexpat Sat 04-Nov-17 12:53:50

This isn't the main point, but were the lessons on a dry ski slope? It's very different from skiing on real snow. And lessons in the UK are almost certainly much less fun than going on a ski trip. Is this a school trip? In which case he would be with loads of friends from school, getting group lessons, competing with each other and so on, so I wouldn't cancel the trip because he didn't want to do the last lesson here, unless you made it a condition of going on the trip from the very start.

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 12:57:19

I think that's what I'm trying to get to the bottom of. I've just chatted to him and he says yesterday was tough and he couldn't go again today. It was all down to the instructor but he takes it personally and assumes its his fault. He doesn't like not being good a something. Academically he's bright and has admitted that he's not used to struggling.
But how can i get him to accept the help offered and trust me when I say he can do it. He doesn't seem to accept encouragemfau?

hellokittymania Sat 04-Nov-17 12:57:59

Keeping current DJing him, does he have a friend who might not be so good at skiing who could go along with him. Maybe it might help if he is with someone at a lower level. I fail at things all the time, it took me four times to get a passing grade on two essays this summer. So I know how disheartening it can be, but I always get up and I have a lot of support and encouragement from friends, including on here so I just keep going. Should be encouraging him, not DJ Ing. Sorry, I use dictation.

MrsJayy Sat 04-Nov-17 12:59:40

Surely they will all be at various degrees of beginner if they are 14 so they will all be having lessons on the trip and it is a school holiday they are not going because thry are excited about sking

NumberEightyOne Sat 04-Nov-17 13:00:08

Fourteen year old boys are often full of self doubt so he's not unusual.

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:01:43

Thanks exexpat

They're not having lessons as part of the trip but agree that he'll probably be ok. But then we have the issue that he might just give up if he finds he can't ski "well enough". His resilience bothers me.

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:05:50


We just had exactly that discussion as he also thinks he can go and have a practice whenever he likes before february. He'll need to work to earn those sessioms.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 04-Nov-17 13:07:54

Academically he's bright and has admitted that he's not used to struggling.

That was me. I think bright kids are often used to everything coming easily, and if they find something difficult, it's easy for them to leap to the conclusion that they'll never be able to do it. I wish I'd learnt to struggle as a child, as I'd be less afraid of it now. It's really important for kids to learn that some things just take more effort.

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:08:03

That is good to know I guess. Just want to help him navigate through this and enjoy the trip rather than start dreading it

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:10:46

It was me too and i see so much of me in him... i'm still full of self doubt and self limiting beliefs. How do we help them along a different path?

Mistigri Sat 04-Nov-17 13:12:46

What sort of school ski trip doesn't include lessons? :-/ that strikes me as dangerous/ irresponsible (unless they have a guide instead).

Skiing on a dry slope is harder and much less gratifying. He'll probably be fine on snow.

Think you are making a mountain out of a molehill!

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:16:35

That's the next move. Its just getting him to try again.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 04-Nov-17 13:17:19

I should add that I've had lots of really open discussions with my dd about my fear of failure and how I think it's held me back. I actively encourage her to do stuff that she doesn't find easy, because I think it's a huge boost to her confidence when all of the hard work and perseverance finally pays off. She understands why it's important for her to have those challenges.

For dd, swimming was the biggest hurdle. She just wasn't a natural swimmer and she was really fearful in the water. However, she stuck at it through all the tears and frustrations. Sometimes I thought she would never crack it, but she did, and it gave her a huge sense of achievement. Same with another of her hobbies which she finds difficult. I have tried to make a big fuss of how proud I am, not necessarily of her achievements but of the effort that she puts in and the determination in the face of repeated failure. It's really important for her to have these experiences in my opinion, because she excels in all of the academic stuff with barely any effort at all.

Resilience and perseverance are both essential for success and happiness. I think we need to encourage our kids to consider how they are going to develop those qualities.

Brokenbiscuit Sat 04-Nov-17 13:20:47

I think modelling it is important, too, OP. I make more of an effort now to push myself out of my comfort zone than I ever did previously, because I want my dd to see me doing it! I do really struggle though...

Justturned50 Sat 04-Nov-17 13:21:51

They are asked to have lessons before they go.
But that's not really my point. I'm trying to raise a child with the ability to pick himself up and try again when things don't go his way rather than decide its too hard and give up.

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