Confessions of an Imperfect Mom: I Flipped When My Daughter Wanted to Quit Soccer

Below is the story of Marcy, who describes her reaction when her 14-year-old daughter told her that she wanted to quit the soccer team.

By considering her behavior from a place of compassion and curiosity instead of judgment and shame, Marcy learns how to have more confidence in herself as an (inevitably) imperfect parent.


My Confession: 

My name is Marcy. My daughter Julie has been playing soccer since she was 3. Soccer has always come easily to her, so when she was younger, practices were fun and she didn’t have to work very hard. Now that she’s 14, practices are getting harder and she has to “earn” her place on the team.

The other day, Julie came home from her last game of the season (which her team lost) and told me that she wanted to quit soccer. I asked her why, and she said, “It’s just not fun anymore.”

When she told me that was the reason, I lost it. I told her how irresponsible she sounded. I told her about the number of times that I’d wanted to quit something but had persevered anyway. I reminder her that if she didn’t learn to keep going when things got rough, she would never get anywhere in life.

And guess what Julie did after I told her all of that? She turned around and walked out of the room.

I feel like the worst mother.

I feel bad because…

I believe I handled this situation horribly. I don’t think Julie listened to a word I said. All she heard was me criticizing her and telling her how I did things better than she does.

Why would she open up to me about these things ever again?

When I change my thoughts from a judgmental “Why did I DO that?” to a curious “Why DID I do that?” I realize that…

I spoke to her the way I did because I was scared. I know how life can knock you down, and I know that Julie will need to be able to pick herself back up if she wants to go far in life.

I wanted to teach her the importance of being able to keep pushing forward even when things get difficult. I know that the best things happen at the end of our comfort zone, and I want my daughter to be able to experience that.

The reason I did what I did is because..

I got scared that Julie wouldn’t have what (I believe) she deserves to have. My fear made me lost my cool.

My solution for doing something different in the future is…

Since it was my fear of the future that made me lose my cool, I need to stop worrying about the future so much. I can’t control the future, but I can try to be focus on what Julie needs right now. Interestingly, when I’m not focused on the future I realize that Julie has actually persevered in other areas in the past.

If worrying about the future is such a trigger for me, I’m going to do something different and stay more present in the present!


Marcy’s response to her daughter’s decision to quit the team makes so much sense. Of course she doesn’t want her daughter to give up when things become difficult! She knows that the ability to tolerate frustration is essential for everyone who has to face the real world.

It is possible to learn to tune out our fear of what might happen in the future. It’s hard, because worrying about the future is a natural and automatic response when we parent our children. But it is possible to recognize your fear and still respond in a way that is more consistent with your values… so that you don’t react in a way that you regret later.

Feel free to contact me for a free consultation to learn this skill or any other that will help you feel more confident in your ability to raise great kids.

Parenting is about doing better and feeling better…

not about being perfect.

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