Risky Kids LogoRisky Kids
The Art Of Quitting Part 2
Emotional Development
10 April 2024

The Art Of Quitting – Part 2 : Healthy Quitting

How to read our work

50 second skim6 minute read

We know you know how to read! But life is busy, you're busy and this might not be what you're looking for. Skim it first, read it later.

Each Risky Kids Article can be read:

  • In it's entirety (just read it all), or
  • Skim read. To skim read it, just read The FOCUS, SUMMARY and then all of the DOT POINTS and you're done!


You can do just about anything well. The opposite is true as well, we can do just about anything poorly! Quitting is no different, and we should use quitting to teach young people how to do just that, quit well!


“The Art Of Quitting – Part 2: Healthy Quitting” explores the nuanced approach to guiding young people through the process of quitting activities or pursuits in a way that fosters resilience, responsibility, and growth. It emphasises the importance of understanding the reasons behind quitting, involving stakeholders, and planning for the future to ensure the decision is both informed and constructive.

  • Differentiates healthy versus unhealthy quitting, emphasising the importance of resilience and self-awareness.
  • Highlights the necessity of taking responsibility for one’s decisions and communicating them effectively.
  • Stresses planning for “what’s next” to avoid reinforcing avoidance behaviour and loss of identity.
  • Advocates for a perspective shift from objectifying experiences to understanding personal responses.
  • Encourages involving stakeholders and auditing past behaviours to identify and break unhealthy quitting patterns.

The Art Of Quitting - Part 1 : Why Quitting Is An Art

Our journey of ending continues! We’ve learned in our first article, The Art Of Quitting – Part 1 : Why Quitting Is An Art, that all things end and that they will often end because of Avoidance or Exploration.

  • Aims to guide young people through moments of declaring “I quit” as calls for help.
  • Uses these moments to challenge, explore, and understand young people’s fears and triumphs.
  • Differentiates healthy from unhealthy quitting to encourage perseverance or constructive ending.

Harnessing this understanding, our goal is to help young people to navigate these moments. They’re the moments when our young person has run out of tools, and when they say “I quit” they’re saying “I can’t do this anymore without help”.

This is what makes these moments more powerful than most people realise. We get caught up with letting young people make decisions that we forget we can challenge them, explore them and use those valuable moments to learn more about who they are. In the best scenarios, we often help them to overcome their fear and anxiety and triumph!

In this article, we’re going to be exploring how we can differentiate between healthy and unhealthy quitting, and help young people to make the decision in that moment either to end things well, or persevere.

The Role Of Resilience

It’s a chicken and egg thing, but we need real resilience to be able to quit healthy.

  • Examining oneself deeply fosters toughness needed for healthy quitting decisions.
  • Healthy quitting boosts resilience, self-awareness, and judicious perseverance.
  • Training at Risky Kids aims to build kids’ resilience through navigating quitting.

It takes some serious toughness to look at our own thoughts, feelings, excuses, rationales, strengths and weaknesses and sort through them all.

This is exactly what healthy quitting can do for us though. The more often we challenge ourselves on this, the more resilient and self aware we become and the more likely we are to persevere when we need to, and end things when it’s the right time.

It’s one of the reasons why we train our team at Risky Kids on how to help families and Risky Kids to navigate thoughts of quitting. Our objective is to help kids to build lifelong resilience, and if we dropped that at the first request to quit then we’d miss what we consider to be one of the most important moments in the whole journey!

The Art Of Quitting Part 2

What Healthy Quitting Looks Like

We’ve built a community on facing challenge and adversity, and learned what it takes to have the resilience to quit well.

  • Emphasizes responsible quitting through direct communication and self-reflection.
  • Advocates for forward planning and self-examination to avoid quitting from avoidance.
  • Stresses involving stakeholders and recognizing patterns to foster constructive quitting.

Healthy Quitting is all about ending things well, with a clear head, for positive reasons and respecting everyone involved.

  • Responsibility: We should take responsibility for our choices, and not try and get others to quit on our behalf. Even with young people, you should make sure that if they want to end something, they tell their coach/friend/cat. This will help them build confidence and skills to speak their minds and communicate their needs. If you miss this step, they’ll not only rely on you continually, but never build the resilience to face that discomfort. They’re likely to just ghost future jobs, friendships or relationships.
  • “What’s Next”: When we’re ending something, it should be with a new pathway ahead of us that reflects us better. This is one of the ways we can ensure that quitting isn’t rooted in avoidance behaviour, and that it’s creating strong planning behaviour and helping to develop our identities. If we don’t have a plan for what’s next when we quit, instead we’ll lose part of our identity and not replace it, and more likely we’ve just reinforced our avoidance behaviour.
  • It’s Not Boring, You’re Bored: This takes a big perspective shift, but when we quit something because we think it’s boring/easy/hard, we’re objectifying it, and that disempowers us. If we acknowledge that we’ve BECOME bored, then we can do something about it! If we believe that something IS boring, then we’re not being objective. Other people enjoy that hobby/job/person’s company, so it can’t be that by nature it’s boring/too easy/too hard. The feeling is within ourselves, and for this to be healthy we need to understand WHY we feel that way, and consider if we can do something about it.
  • A Place Of Strength: Quitting when times are tough will rarely be healthy. Discomfort and challenge create avoidance behaviour, and when we quit at these times, for avoidance reasons, we create powerful downward spirals. It’s important to persevere in the tough times, and to make decisions when we’re in a position of strength. When helping young people navigate this, it’s about identifying WHY they want to quit. Sometimes they might say it’s boring, and they really mean it’s too hard so they stopped trying.
  • Challenged Thinking, Applied Problem Solving: When we feel like we want to quit, we need to be critical of our own thinking and take positive steps to try and improve things first. When we do this, not only do we increase our resilience by facing challenges, we refine our thinking processes and develop healthy strategies that can help us in the future. Families can help young people with this process by asking questions: “Why do you think you feel that way?”, “Have you asked for help?”, “Have you thought about what you could do to change that?”, “Have you spoken to your teacher/coach/friend about this?”.
  • Involving Stakeholders: I can’t stress this enough. You have to teach your kids that people care if they quit. So often all our teams get is an email from families saying they aren’t coming back, often after months or even years of helping kids face challenges, getting to know them and help them grow. This teaches kids that they don’t need to care about anyone else when they quit. It diminishes their responsibility, their empathy and their self esteem. They’ll learn to believe that people won’t care if they’re gone, or that it doesn’t matter if they do. We must teach young people to involve the people who care in these decisions, to ask them for advice or just to help them understand their choices. It’s not just about respect, but about responsibility and humanity.
  • Identify and Break Patterns: When quitting, we also have to audit our past. Have we done this before? Is there a pattern to our behaviour? Do we often blame others/ourselves for quitting? These patterns matter, because the more often they happen, the more often they’re likely to happen. More importantly, with young people we’re teaching them that those are patterns they can carry into their adult lives. Healthy quitting means spotting patterns of poor thinking and replacing them with strong ones.

When we end things well, things end well! We get out what we put into these moments.

When Things End Healthy

A healthy ending is its own reward. It deepens our knowledge about ourselves, improving our identity and understanding our emotional reactions.

  • Enhances understanding of others’ reactions and nurtures self-exploration and autonomy.
  • Identifies limits and seeks guidance, building strength and capability.
  • Develops resilience, recognizing and overcoming emotional challenges in future endeavours.

It helps us understand others better, and how they can react to things ending. We learn to be more autonomous and to explore our own thinking. We become more resilient to the range of emotions we need to experience to end something well.

In the very best of situations, we identify when we’ve just reached our limit without help. We use a healthy quitting process to ask for guidance and our faith is rewarded when that guidance helps us feel stronger and more capable. We overcome those feelings, we know how to spot them in the future and what to do, and we learn just what to do the next time we’re struggling.

How To Help It Be Healthy

Knowing is one thing, concrete tools are another!

  • Risky Kids uses everyday tools to assist in various situations, fostering understanding.
  • Emphasises validating feelings without encouraging avoidance, guiding towards healthy decision-making.
  • Guides through evaluating achievements, consequences, and planning healthy endings or perseverance.

At Risky Kids we’ve got hundreds of training tools for our team, but there’s some which we use every day which can help in just about any situation.

  • Validate Perspective: When someone wants to quit, we can’t pretend they don’t. They’ve got strong feelings that they need to manage and this is their only option. Always start by helping them to understand those feelings have a point, there’s nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed, or incapable. Help them feel like they’re not alone, and not broken: “It’s ok, everyone feels this way sometimes. Even me! Let’s talk about it, I’d love to understand how you’re feeling better.”
  • Don’t Validate Avoidance: But we need to stop before we tell them quitting is OK. They need to be the one to decide that using our guidance. Never tell a young person “You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, but…” or “I don’t want you to do anything that makes you unhappy, but…”. They will seize that and use it to calm their negative thoughts and feelings, and any attempt to take it back away will fail.
  • Guidance: Instead, once you’ve validated their perspective, guide them through the Healthy Quitting process. Focus on: What they’ve achieved so far, what’s different about this moment, what will be the consequences of their choices if they stay and persevere or if they end things. If they choose to end things, discuss how they will go about it and why it needs to be healthy. You can ask questions like: “What would you have liked to have happen instead?”, “What strengths do you have that might help you achieve that?”, “How would you help a friend who was going through this same moment?”, “What questions would you ask them to find out how they’re feeling?”.

These are just some of the ways to help a young person who’s reached their limit. Wanting to quit is an inevitable part of starting anything. But in terms of what’s more valuable, starting or ending, as always it lies with the one with the most challenge, ending. This is where we can learn so much about ourselves, and make decisions which shape us.

Things Will Still End Poorly

It’s just the nature of things, even when your young person does everything right, when things end there’s still the chance that things are hard.

  • Even well-handled endings may cause upset, highlighting the importance of healthy quitting.
  • Healthy quitting enables self-forgiveness and learning from every experience.
  • Guides future decisions, improving self-knowledge and the quality of relationships.

The other person might be upset and not know how to manage it, the situation could still end painfully and with little positive to show.

But this is why learning how to quit healthy is so important. In those moments we can absolve ourselves, we will know we did everything we could do to make it end well and learn and grow as much as we could. It helps us to learn who we should include in our lives and which relationships and experiences are valuable.

We can take this with us into future experiences, helping to guide us to make the best decisions and to be our best selves.


An ending is a critical part of any pursuit, journey, hobby or relationship. Making sure that it ends healthy is a skill that can be taught and learned. By helping young people to build this skill not only will we get to share precious moments with them, but we’ll help them identify those moments where they need to persevere instead of giving up.

When we see young people face these challenges and overcome them, we build not their own self confidence, but our confidence in them as well. We become more confident to let them explore, to make decisions and that they will have the skills and resilience to navigate the tough times, and that when they need us, we’ll have built the trust with them.

Richard Williams

Richard Williams

Risky Kids Founder, Director of Programming

Richard Williams is a fitness industry consultant, gym owner, business coach and professional stunt actor with more than a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. With an education in psychology and criminology, Richard blended life experience as a fitness industry consultant with Spartan Race, gym owner, elite-obstacle racer, ultra-runner and professional stunt actor to create the Risky Kids program.

Richard has a passion for enacting meaningful social change through all avenues of health and wellbeing and believes that obstacles are the way. Some of Richard’s key achievements include:

  • Key consultant/coordinator Spartan Race/Tough Mudder/Extreme Endurance
  • OCR World Championship Finalist –  Team & Solo (2015)
  • OCR World Championship Silver Medallist – Team Endurance (2018)
  • Professional film and television stunt performer for 15 years

Considered one of Australia’s foremost experts in the fields of fitness, wellbeing and behavioural science, Richard is frequently in demand as a guest speaker for relevant government and non-
government bodies and organisations. Speaking engagements centred on the success of the Risky Kids program, philosophy and approach have included:

  • Expert speaker/panellist Sports & Camp; Recreation Victoria and Outdoors Victoria forums
  • Closing expert speaker at the Australian Camps Association National Conference
  • Expert speaker at the National Fitness Expo, FILEX