Maudlin and Associates ™
Karen Maudlin
Psy.D., CPCC
Kenneth Davison
Cindy Takiguchi
Manette Galván Turner
Robert Gregory
Daniel Doebler
Trevor Simpson

"My third grader wants to quit taking piano lessons even though his teacher says he has natural talent. He never wants to practice and our arguments lead to tears. It would be easier if he quits, but I don't want to encourage quitting when things get tough."

A. Before you make any decisions, check with your son's piano teacher to rule out a slump in his learning curve. This could be the cause of his frustration. A simple change in lesson plans may cure his urge to quit. If this is not the problem, then your decision needs to be based on two factors: your goals for your son and his goals for himself. The following suggestions will help you evaluate your situation:

- Review the original goals you set for your son. Why did you start having him take lessons? Is it your life dream to have your son play the piano? Do you want to give your son basic music literacy and appreciation? Determine if these are still appropriate goals.

- Ask your son why he first wanted to take lessons. Is he interested in music? Ask why he wants to quit. Is it the practicing? Doesn't he like his teacher? Use his answers to talk with him about the value of sticking with something even when it's not what you expected.

- Decide how old your son must be before he can make his own decisions about the activities he's involved in. The answer will depend on his maturity level, his ability to think through the ramifications of a decision, and his willingness to stick with a decision once it's been made.

If you decide to let your son quit, explain that he still needs to fulfill his commitment for the year. This includes practicing without complaining. Ask your son to help decide appropriate consequences if he doesn't follow through.

Pray with your son about the new plan and go ahead with it unless prayer reveals that God has other ideas.