When A Child Wants To Quit Jiu-Jitsu, It May Be The Parents’ Fault

Disclaimer :  10 years of teaching, well over 10,000 hours…the tips below are from the life lessons I have received and thousands of parents and kid’s I have worked with!

“Kid’s haven’t changed, leadership has changed.”SweetheartsAndHeroes.org

We are their guides through life 

What if everything you were doing is correct? 

• What if everything you were doing hurt more than helped?

I am not yet a parent. I can only imagine the stress of the above questions as parents raise their children. I am extremely excited for my future as a parent, but in the meantime, I am an observer of human nature. I am working to master my craft as a teacher. I am in the Jiu-Jitsu lab studying and experimenting like a scientist to make the most effective learning environment for adults and childhood development.

From criticizing to…APOLOGIZING

The number one thing that I have seen over the years when observing parents is, when the PARENT joins Jiu-Jitsu their whole outlook CHANGES!  In many cases you will see the following occur…

  1. Parent signs the child up to learn from an expert instructorand develop skills for life.
  2. Jiu-Jitsu is complex and some children struggle at first.
  3. Parent begins an obsessive coaching/correcting routine in a subject that they are learning from the sidelines. The child begins to NOT want to go to Jiu-Jitsu or will out of fear.
  4. Parent DECIDES to try it, realizes the difficulty and…goes from CRITICIZING to APOLOGIZING.

The parent usually starts BJJ and realizes how difficult Jiu-Jitsu is. They also realize how fun it is and start to improve because of the “positive” coaching affirmations. This is a breakthrough. This is when the parent is able to actually WALK in their child’s shoes (or wear the figurative Gi, in a Jiu-Jitsu sense). The criticism of the child’s performance usually ends and instead of parent vs. kid, it becomes parent AND kid. 

An “Allergy to passion”

The “passion allergy” is a deep, deep, theory. I cannot remember where I STOLE the phrase, but it hit home when I heard it!!!

“Passion Allergy” Definition: As the child grows, they will become passionate about many things. If these things/activities start to coincide with criticism, negativity, and resentment, they most likely will develop fear and low confidence when it comes to trying or developing a passion in adulthood. This will alsohinder their TRUE potential.

  1. I have personally seen star childhood athletes reach college (freedom) and immediately quit when they had the chance or even worse turn to criminal activity as a subconscious cry for attention.
  2.  I have seen kids QUIT Jiu-Jitsu that LOVED Jiu-Jitsu, because their “skateboard doesn’t criticize them“.
  3. I have seen kid’s that were “good”, never become “great”, because their fear of “parental let down” was bigger than their focus on “personal improvement”.

In my self reflections, every time I gave up on something, it was related to a negative experience.

Life IS A sprint, except for childhood 

I like to use the quote “It is a marathon, not a sprint.” But then I immediately contradict myself by saying “Life is short.”

They are both correct. We have a small window to be successful in our personal lives and also to be successful in impacting those around us. However, children can test patience and they are going to make many mistakes along the way, we must have the enduring spirit, patience, and fortitude of a marathon if we are to cross the finish life-line!

Patience isn’t possible until we understand they must be understood

My wife is an early childhood educator and has helped me immensely in my ability as a youth instructor. I surround myself with SMART people so I seem smarter:). She gave me a quote “it’s not patience, it’s understanding“. This simply means that until we understand the child, who they are and what they are, we won’t have the ability to be patient because we are looking through our own perspective and aren’t grasping WHY they are doing what they are doing! My best advice is to always read, study, research, experiment, use the wisdom of those that were successful before us. I am always searching for “better”. People have complimented me with my ability to be patient. This only developed as I started to understand why and how I should and could be patient!

” The secret to success is just copying what the successful person did.” Mark Schultz (Olympic Gold Medalist)

Positivity is the key 

Here is a test…pick something your child is not familiar with. Teach them how to do it, but only use negative tones andnegative corrections. Watch the clock and see how quickly they do it or if they want to continue doing it. Then…

Try the same test, but with positive tones, positive corrections, smiles and pleasantries. Watch the clock, watch the difference.

I already know the answer. I have personally seen the difference and FELT the difference in my own life. Their have been countless studies on this topic. I would provide examples, but ever since Google was invented, you will most likely already have “Googled” my above statements to check the validity.

In part TWO, I will talk about…

  1. How I was pushed extremely hard, but came out unscathed because of ONE THING.
  2. How to TRICK your kids into never giving up.
  3. WHY we teach the WAY we teach at Spa City Jiu-Jitsu.
  4. Do they want to quit or do WE want to quit?

And more…

Eddie Fyvie – Not yet a parent, but a studious observer of parenting and human nature.


  1. Great article Eddie. Two years ago I dropped in for a class at Spa City. I had been training for about two months at the time. I really enjoyed your approach. My two boys have been training for about a year and I have had the honor of helping out and often times teaching our kids class. I am always looking for more information on teaching children. Thank you for sharing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here