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6 year old mental toughness (tears during practice)

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rmankini

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My daughter is in Pre-team and recently has been showing signs of major frustration by means of tears. She holds them back at times, but the coach sees this. Her coaches are tremendously patient and understanding with her. However, it's hard to watch, and it's one of the main reasons she isn't getting moved up.

Just today, she was doing her BHS on tramp and wasn't doing well. She got so upset. Her coach says she sees this with all Type A personalities and she just needs time, but as a parent, how do I help her? I literally had tears in my eyes seeing her react because she is so hard on herself. Any advice on how to help her navigate these feelings and not be so hard on herself. I say all the right things, but it's not helping. Thank you
 

sce

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Ummm, 6?
Let her handle it with the coaches......don't get involved.....don't say anything, pretend you don't watch practice.
Oh yeah, tell her your sure she did awesome, and looked like she was having FUN.
I don't agree with this. It can be helpful to give kids tools for dealing with their frustration. It's a life skill. Mom isn't coaching her gymnastics but saying that she sees he getting frustrated, overwhelmed by her frustration and offering to help her with some strategies for dealing with those feelings.
 

flipnastic

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I don't agree with this. It can be helpful to give kids tools for dealing with their frustration. It's a life skill. Mom isn't coaching her gymnastics but saying that she sees he getting frustrated, overwhelmed by her frustration and offering to help her with some strategies for dealing with those feelings.
This. My 5 yo just went through the same thing. Hers was medicine related (causing anxiety), but I think dealing with it is the same...reminding her what she is doing is soooo hard! And takes time to learn...my dd responded well to "how many 5 y/o friends do you know who can do this? It's hard and it's ok that you don't have it yet, bc you will learn...and bc it was hard, you will be sooo excited!"
It's emotions they will deal with for thhe rest of their lives (gymnastics, school, jobs, etc) it's important for us as parents to help our kids process this type of emotion.
 
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rmankini

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This. My 5 yo just went through the same thing. Hers was medicine related (causing anxiety), but I think dealing with it is the same...reminding her what she is doing is soooo hard! And takes time to learn...my dd responded well to "how many 5 y/o friends do you know who can do this? It's hard and it's ok that you don't have it yet, bc you will learn...and bc it was hard, you will be sooo excited!"
It's emotions they will deal with for thhe rest of their lives (gymnastics, school, jobs, etc) it's important for us as parents to help our kids process this type of emotion.
Yes, this is almost exactly what I have told her. I need to just keep saying it. In fact, just today I said "any 'ol girl can do ballet, this is a tough sport." Thank you
 
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GymCMLA

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Ask her and coach to identify smaller more objective goals for a given rotation/week. Like sitting back more/every time or flat hips or open shoulders....
This allows for many small victories on longer journeys.
 
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ldw4mlo

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6 yrs old and mental toughness should never be used in the same sentence.

She is 6. She needs time. Time cures so much.

As to what you can do. Show her videos of when she couldn't walk, then when she could walk but not so good and then when she could run.

Show her a video of her first ugly whatever gym move to one she does well now.

As her what 2+2 is.......... And then remind her when she had to use her fingers....................

When my daughter gets frustrated we go right to the video of her first "good" cartwheel, which was in fact pretty butt ugly. And I look at her and say "How did you get better?" And she says "Practice" and I say, "Yes practice and time"
 

gymgal

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I would be careful about letting her know that you are watching practice and seeing her getting upset as this is just going to make her feel worse. Most Type A's are quite embarrassed by their own outward emotions. If she wants to talk about it, then remind her that everything takes time and nothing is perfect when you first begin learning it. From the time my dd was little, I would always ask her how practice was on the way home. If she wanted to talk about it, we would. If not, I would put on music or talk about something else. Even if I happened to see her having a tough time at practice, I would resist the urge to ask about it (yes that's hard to do and sometimes you mess up). I really felt the more I intervened, the less she would turn to her coaches and teammates when frustrated - and they are who will help her the most in times of need. I wasn't in the gym, or with her at the meets - her coaches and teammates were.
 
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munchkin3

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Ok, maybe I'm being too harsh (I've had a bit too much nonsense with my own kids right before school!!!!)
Agreed, no 'mental toughness' at this age.......my point I was trying to make is focus on the fun, the sucess, and cultivate the practice of trying her best......whatever her best is....
Toughness, or tenacity, which is what I think you are trying to say is something kids learn. All the best gymnasts fall, and have troubles.....remind her it is supposed to be hard because if it was easy, then everybody would be a gymnast and it wouldn't be special....
You must practice pointing out successes after hard work......remind her some days are not the best and there is always tomorrow....
 
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munchkin3

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Btw, after 4 years of gymnastics with my younger DD, I find a lot of pleasure in her telling me after a bad day- ' today wasn't a good bar day, oh well, tomorrow should be better'....this thinking took practice.
She is a perfectionist.....she always makes the next day better. She IS disappointed after a bad day, but she has learned it is part of life.

Sorry rmankini......6 is too young to cut her loose in gymnastics.....
 
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ldw4mlo

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You must practice pointing out successes after hard work.......
This is incredibly important. I very rarely focus on the end result. Really she knows when that is good.

I focus on the effort. Wow you have been working so hard at xyz, I can see how all that hard work is paying off that xyz thing is so much better.

I try to have the conversation that I want her having with herself. Because that is where self esteem comes from, self.
 

flipnastic

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Yes....pointing out successes...if my daughter says "I did horrible at vault" I ask her to tell me one thing she did good, and when she does, I'm very excited....she starts laughing and all is ok in the world again

I have a tendency to dwell on things that I do at work that aren't up to par with my expectations. I want my dd to learn differently so so bad. There is so much value (and less stress) when you learn to find positives and value in every situation.
 

munchkin3

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That is very honest Carrie.....most of us have a hard time with insecurities of NOT being good enough. We inadvertently pass this along to our children by wanting them to succeed.......it's just sometimes we want too much for them and the kids feel it as 'they are not good enough for mom or dad'.....
It's taken me a while to enjoy my kids success without saying anything....
 
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sce

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6 yrs old and mental toughness should never be used in the same sentence.

She is 6. She needs time. Time cures so much.

As to what you can do. Show her videos of when she couldn't walk, then when she could walk but not so good and then when she could run.

Show her a video of her first ugly whatever gym move to one she does well now.

As her what 2+2 is.......... And then remind her when she had to use her fingers....................

When my daughter gets frustrated we go right to the video of her first "good" cartwheel, which was in fact pretty butt ugly. And I look at her and say "How did you get better?" And she says "Practice" and I say, "Yes practice and time"
I love this.
 

rmankini

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These are ALL wonderful responses. Thank you! We definitely emphasis her hard work, her tenacity, what she did well that night ect. Absolutely true that she needs more time and this is a journey and a process. Thank you for these valuable responses.
 

Miss Alyssa

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Yes, this is almost exactly what I have told her. I need to just keep saying it. In fact, just today I said "any 'ol girl can do ballet, this is a tough sport." Thank you

That is right!. . .I always remind the kids I coach, especially with a skill like a BHS, that it is really tough. Some will get it right away, but sometimes it may take years and that is OK. That is what gymnastics is like. . . and hopefully as she gets older, this will be what she takes away and loves about gymnastics :) - that you CAN'T pick it up overnight. It really will help her build her self confidence in the long term. This is why I love coaching this sport. And like another suggested, celebrate the small victories and improvements along the way!
 
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mommyof1

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Yes....pointing out successes...if my daughter says "I did horrible at vault" I ask her to tell me one thing she did good, and when she does, I'm very excited....she starts laughing and all is ok in the world again
The day my daughter bounced out of the gym and told me she had done a kip without a spot (the one and only time this has ever happened), I was so excited that she told me, "Mommy, stop! You are embarrassing me! People outside the car will see and hear you and think you are weird."

OP, helping my child navigate the mental side of this sport is probably the most difficult parenting task I've ever faced. My kid is not the only one in our household who is having to learn patience. It sounds like you are on the right track reminding her that gymnastics is difficult and takes time and she will be very proud when she masters that BHS.

If you and your child are comfortable with it, pre-team is a good time to stop watching practice. I find that watching practice feeds my own anxiety about my daughter's gymnastics, including her mental toughness. She also tells me that it makes her nervous to know that I'm watching, because she wants to show me that she's doing her best. I quit watching when she was around 6 years old, except for maybe 5 minutes at pickup time every few weeks or on rare occasions when I have reason to think there is a problem. We are both much more relaxed this way.
 
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