For Parents Can you say 'stubborn'...?

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msl529

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So now that her L6 season is over, dd is working on her Prep-Op routines (which she is LOVING) and training 'up'.

She had been saying she wants to repeat L6 next year, b/c she could be w/ all her (currently) L5 friends when they move up. It's all up in the air now, of course, since we don't know if we'll be here or not, and we don't know what her new gym will want her to do if we move. So, she is training up like the rest of the L6's right now.

There is a new coach at the gym who (according to dd) has taken an interest in getting her bars in shape. He thinks she is able to cast to handstand and really wants to help her make it happen.

The problem w/ my very stubborn dd is that whenever she is working on that next 'tough' skill, she resists it and fights it all the way. She has determined in her head that "I just can't do bars, I'm not strong enough". And she can be stuck there for months, let me tell you, from past experience. She did this w/ her flyaway. Resisted it for months and months, and then learned it in one day, when a new coach came along and showed her a new way to do it (plus he was real laid back & calm about it).

I can see already that she is going to give this coach a run for his money! He is going to push and prod b/c he really wants her to get it. And she will push and prod right back. Why? I don't really know why! I think she enjoys a good fight! And she has a chance to exercise her strong will, which she is not able to do at home, since Mom rules w/ the iron fist!

Any advice? When she comes home relaying her gym stuff, I just say "Oh, mm-hmmm, I see...must be tough...", etc., But I just want to shake her and say "Maybe you should just listen to him and get the dang skill!!". She's going on & on w/ the "I can't" mantra, and I think she is going to drive him nuts.

I am not worried about if she gets the skill or not, but I do wish she would change her tune to a more positive mindset! But if I suggest it to her I might as well be talking to an iceberg b/c she is not going to listen to me anyway! GRRRR! :rolleyes:
 
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gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
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North Carolina
Don't think I have a whole lot of advice but I wonder what she would do if just once you did say "Why don't you just listen to the coach and do the skill?"
 
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msl529

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Don't think I have a whole lot of advice but I wonder what she would do if just once you did say "Why don't you just listen to the coach and do the skill?"
I tried that. The response was the usual "I can't!"
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
I have a kid in one of the pre-school classes I teach that spends the entire class saying "I can't" "it's too hard" or "I'm tired"

I told him the other night " I hope you left your 'I cant's' , 'It's too hards' and 'I'm tired' at home today because in here "we can" and it is supposed to be hard or everyone could do it and I would not have to teach it to you !! And "if you are tired know what are you going to do when you are old like me?"
 
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arcade

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Are you sure she isnt scared to try the new skills and is not telling anyone ? We have had our fear issues which arrive at about the age of 12, dd was never scared before that and it took a while to work through but she's getting there, she battled with the straddle cast to handstand and the giant which she has now but is trying to get it into a routine - by jan 3rd. It took a while for me to realise she was scared, I thought she just couldnt do it!
 
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msl529

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Are you sure she isnt scared to try the new skills and is not telling anyone
Oh, I most definitely think there is fear involved! Somehow she turns it into a battle of the wills, I don't know why!
 
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msl529

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I told him the other night " I hope you left your 'I cant's' , 'It's too hards' and 'I'm tired' at home today because in here "we can" and it is supposed to be hard
I like this! Hopefully her coaches will try some of this w/ her!
 
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arcade

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All i can say is be patient, or like my dd, the pressure of not being allowed to compete bars got to her and she did it when she needed to!
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
My DD often brings up the "it's too hard" crap every once in a while too. She'll resigns herself to this mantra before even trying, and as parents its certainly frustrating to hear. She know's my feelings about it, she's heard my speech over and over, and she knows what I'm going to say before I say it. "You can't excuse failure if you don't try to succeed"

It's an unacceptable excuse as far as I'm concerned and I don't listen too nor accept the "I can't" garbage.

I can only remind my kids how to overcome a problem the way I was taught by my parents.

Lead by example.

No that doesn't mean I'm not going to try the skill myself, but rather show her that there are others within the same level or age that have overcome the same challanges. Showing your DD that the skill is within her capability is self-motivating.

My DD is a Youtube Gymnastics fanatic. I would find it hard to show her a Youtube Gymnastics video that she hasnt seen! She often watches other girls pulling off what she thought was 'too hard'. It's inspiring and instructive to her when she see's countless others doing the "impossible" move. Especially girls that are younger or close to the same level as her.

Breakdown complex problems into manageble components.

Because her dad is an unyeilding hard-head that doesn't allow the phrase "It's too hard" to stand unless it's fully justified, DD is only left with two options. Try, or try to try.

For things that look scary (like Gym, Mathematics, etc), we encourage breaking down the skill into parts, and identify the areas that need to be built up or are lacking. If there are none, it proves that the even complex skills are managable, and doable, hopefully fliping the "I can't" additude into an "hmm... I might be able, but I'm a little scared". Being scared is OK. in fact, I'd be scared if she wasn't! Fear gives the talent a healthy respect.

However, if there are areas that need work - identfying them provides a punch list of smaller challenges to master. And once they are, she will (hopefully) realize that all she needs to do is put together the puzzle to see the big picture. This "should" naturally overcome any fears she once felt.

And if not, it may only take an encouraging shove-off-the-cliff-edge by a parent, teacher, or coach. Sometimes this approach works, other times not. But unless we as parent encourage, and insist they TRY, even suffering through anxiety, the tantrums and the tears, they will never realize they can overcome things that are challenging.

I would strongly discourage or accept "I can't" - ever. It becomes a habit and a crutch and an excuse. I know it's hard. I'm there with you. If it helps, I remind myself how baby birds are taught to fly.

Gymnastics is one of the hardest sports in the world. I remind Nastia of this constantly. I also remind her that 99% of the girls in her entire school can't do 90% of the gymnastic skills she can. They are envious of HER talent, and want to see more. It seems to help.
 
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msl529

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There's a Henry Ford quote that goes:
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t -- you are right.”

I think we as parents do have some responsibility for teaching kids the importance of attitude. I know you don't want to seem overly vested in whether she gets a new skill, and that's great. But I would still address her attitude with her. It's probably easier for her to say "I can't" than to admit "I'm scared," but that's the problem. I would try to help her see that that's a cop out and that it's really within her control.
I agree, thank you! And thank you Tim Dad also for your comments. You all know by now that I don't feel it's my place to comment on how she does her skills or what have you. But I was thinking on the way home from dropping her off today that I am allowed to offer nudges/ideas about her attitude. After all, we put up w/ this crazy sport in order for her to learn those valuable life-lessons about hard work, determination, adversity, blah and blah.

So, I need you guys to help me compose a short, (yet very moving, lol!) motivational speech/pep talk! Any ideas????
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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I think at age 13 you should be able to sit down and discuss her approach to learning new skills and the "I can't"attitude. I know you said she's been this way for awhile, but it could be with the move to FL and now proposed move to TX this is a defense mechanism for her. New gyms, new coaches, new expectations---easier to say "I can't" than try it and not succeed. Now some kids want to learn things when they feel ready and not when the coach feels they're ready----can be fear, wanting some control, not wanting to look bad in front of others. Alot of kids that do gymnastics are control freaks and your dd may be one of them which would explain the arguing with the coaches.

My older dd did competitive figure skating and when she was just starting with her best and last coach made the "I can't" comment when he asked her to do something. Actually she meant "I don't know how", but if there is one comment that set him off its I can't. He told her he was done with her for that lesson(I think she'd been out on the ice for like 5 minutes) and he skated off and just left her standing there. We got her comment cleared up with him and he told her she CAN always try and never to say "I can't" again.

It may take this new bars coach just telling dd to sit out if she won't try and watch all the others do bars. Never know, may see her get up and wander over to at least try the cast to hs after a few practices like that.
 
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msl529

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-can be fear, wanting some control.... Alot of kids that do gymnastics are control freaks and your dd may be one of them which would explain the arguing with the coaches.

It may take this new bars coach just telling dd to sit out if she won't try and watch all the others do bars. Never know, may see her get up and wander over to at least try the cast to hs after a few practices like that.
Oh yeah, that's dd alright! She didn't argue, tho, 'cause I won't allow that. But she said "I'll try", to which he said, "Don't 'try', just do it!"

She wouldn't openly defy a coach, but she will have a darn good time politely 'tyring' and not getting the skill.

But you are right. The minute she is told to sit out (which they don't do at her gym, they are too nice), OR if one of her friends gets the skill, you bet she'll be out there figuring it out, real quick.

I guess I just need to address the fear thing w/ her...:confused:
 

Tim_Dad

Member
Nov 3, 2008
414
Region IV (Missouri)
Hmm... Good question.

Maybe!! You can remind her that when she competes, she attended Gymnastic MEATS...not Gymnastic CHICKENS!? :boxedin:

Or tell her the story:

There once was a girl from Nantucket
Who's mom voiced her concerns on Chalk Bucket
She was afraid to do a flip,
Thinking she'd fall, and break a hip,
But was glad when she tried it - and Stuck it!

:laughing:

Ok, Well... maybe not. It could be I just need some rest.


Tim
 
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gym monkeys mom

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Proud Parent
Oct 3, 2007
569
There is a good website with articles specfic to gymnastics about fear it is headgames.ws. My DD who is now 13 has the same issue it started with cast to handstand at the end of Level6 May 07 and went on to giants when she could finally do a cast to handstand. She since then she is just now finally doing giants we have yet to see if she does them in a meet. Fear is an irrational thing at 12 and 13 and around 14 or 15 it apparently becomes more rational again. One article I read said up until 12 or 13 kids really don't think about I could get hurt, then it becomes a real to them around 12 or 13 and hormones make it seem out of control fear. So has hormones level off and become more stable it gets better. IDK mine is still 13 but, that is what I read. Best wishes and prayers to you.
 

gymjourneymom

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Mar 9, 2008
1,331
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Hi MSL 529!!! I think our DD's are twins separated at birth,lol!!! I'll try to keep this short & sweet...I have learn soooo much about fear issues the past 3 or 4 years, I think I could write a book. But in a nut shell, I agree with the teachings of Dr. Alison Arnold. You can get a crash course by going to www.gymnastike.org click on videos & do a search on Dr. Alison Arnold. There is an 8 segment series, on fear in gymnastics. I feel it is a MUST see for all gymnasts/coaches/parents. I wish I could get all of DD's coaches to follow her program. It just makes soooo much sense!!!! It has really helped my DD. Hope it can help yours too:). Let me know what you think once you watch the vids!
 

jls1969

Member
Sep 27, 2007
105
"I guess I just need to address the fear thing w/ her..."


I tell you--we sometimes have that fear thing as well. I have asked her if she trusts her coaches---she says yes. Then I ask if they have ever asked her to do something she is not ready for---she says no. Then I ask what is the problem?---she says I don't know---maybe I am afraid. I tell her there is no fear sister! Her caoches have watched her build up to the skill they are requesting and they truly believe she can do---she should too! Uually that does the trick...

Now I do believe that a certain level of fear is healthy....my dd has a good level for this sport...but I also think that if her coaches think she is ready to try, then she is ready and if she lets the fear take over--she is liable to get hurt. I don't think that is being to harsh---I really just try to keep the nature of the sport in perspective.

That is my advice...:)

Let us know how it turns out.....
 
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msl529

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Thank you for your posts everyone. I am going to have her watch the videos on the fear issues, thanks for sharing those, gymjourney!

One thing that is going to hang her up, is that she does not trust this new coach's spotting on bars. And, it appears he will now be her bar coach, b/c the other coach who sometimes coached her on bars (& whom she liked/trusted) is gone from the gym, as of yesterday. That was a shock & a bummer for her.

DD is miffed now, saying "that means 'coach x' will be my bar coach Mom, & I don't really trust him."

The thing is, apparently, he used to be a national coach for another country's WAG team, so how bad can he really be at coaching bars? I am hoping she and he just need time to get used to each other.

Unfortunately, dd does have some valid trust issues on bars, thanks to a coach at her 1st gym. Back when she was trying to learn her flyaway, he and this other coach knew she could do it (she had done it before), but she was struggling w/ it for a time. So they resorted to making fun of her, I guess hoping her pride would get the best of her and she would just 'do it'. Coach from gym #1 also spotted her on it a few times, and dropped her (not a bad drop, but it scared her, and he laughed at her, saying it was her fault he dropped her).

So, you see how she has some built-up issues w/ any new bar skills, thanks to some inconsiderate coaching, very early on. Needless to say, she got fed up w/ that treatment and left that gym. But that's ancient history now, and I'd like to see her move on!

I want to encourage her to give this new guy a chance to prove he can help her. And as I said, we will watch the videos on fear as well.

Thanks! :eek:
 
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