For Parents Can you stand another 'quitting' dilemma?

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msl529

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Hi. I posted a few months ago on the Q & A Forum about moving to a new gym, from CA to FL. We moved, & I reported back that my dd loved her new gym here, & all was well. She's just been moved up to L6, after competing 2 yrs in L5 (she was state champ in CA on bars & beam last Fall-had a GREAT season). Now she is saying she wants to quit. She is 12, ending 6th grade, & in the full throes of all those wonderful hormone changes. I see several reasons why she may be wanting to quit: #1 Although this new gym is very nice, there are not as many girls in her level as there were at her gym in CA. Here, some girls are nice, some are a bit 'catty'. In CA they were ALL nice and VERY supportive of each other. Just not the same atmosphere. #2: She says she feels like she is missing out on a ''life", although she hasn't really made many new friends here yet, just gym friends. #3: Had her back walkover on beam, now has lost it, beam coach is 'mad' at her group, because most of them lost it and they are getting speeches about how they will not compete beam in Fall if they don't do the skill soon. SO...She has gone thru what I call 'gym slumps' before (she's been in it since 3rd grade), and often her 'slumps' come in the Spring. Normally, she LOVES to compete, and really thrives on that. She often scores better than teammates who are 'better' than her, simply becasue she can keep her cool & have fun up there in front of the judges. I simply mention this because I feel her slumps are due to boredom, and she always gets better as competition season approaches. My approach has always been to make her stick it out for a while, and she always gets better. I told her she has to stay in it through the end of the Fall competition season (which is 6 months from now), and we can re-visit this again then. My question is this: Do you think that is too long to make her wait? I don't want to force her to stay if this sport is just reaching its natural end for her, YET the past has always proven that making her stick was right. However, I've never seen her this bored, apathetic, or adamant about quitting. Maybe she is just more hormonal this year than last year? Help!!
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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I think the hormonal and social changes middle school brings has a lot to do with it. I think that is the most common age for girls to quit. I was just saying to my dh last night that I think this summer is going to make it or break it for my dd. Her gym increases hours and trains harder over the summer. She is ok with it but has commented on how she won't have much time to hang out by the pool with her friends. When she was younger, the gym provided all the socialization she needed. Next year she starts middle school and this is no longer the case. She wants to be involved with her school friends and gym. She is the only one who will be able to decide whether she can do that or if she still wants too. I asked her the other day what her goals were with gymnastics. As of then she said she wants to make it to level 10 and hopefully be good enough to maybe do it in college. Right now she is a level 7. I think the best thing would be to ask your daughter what she wants out of gymnastics, what her goals are and have her make a list of reasons she wants to quit and reasons she would want to stick with it. Also, as much as she likes her new gym it is not "her" gym. We went through this 2 years ago when we moved out of state. We switched gyms again about a year ago because my dd just wasn't happy where she was and was thinking of quitting. She still keeps in touch with her old coach from NY and after talking with her he told her she didn't need to quit, she needed to switch gyms. She did and is much happier and doing much better. At their age competitiveness and cattiness between teammates can be really hard to deal with. Then through a ton of emotion they don't know what to do with on top of it and the situation seems hopeless to them. Pre-teens and logical thought just don't mix very well sometimes!!

Sorry for my rambling response - but I totally know where you are coming from. I hope whatever decision she makes it ends up being the right one for her and she is happy. *hug*
 
D

Deleted member 1703

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This is so difficult and I sympathize fully with you.

A few months ago my 11 year old daughter wanted to give up gym completely. I persuaded her to think about it and keep it going whilst she made up her mind. My reasons were that I thought it was just a temporary blip and, although she is not top gymnast material, I thought the sport was good for her and is actually about the only thing in her life which really challenges her.

She is now really happy that she stayed on and does not want to give up at all.

The problem with many of the beam moves is that they grow in spurts and their centre of gravity changes quite quickly which causes many of them to lose confidence on the beam with moves which they "had" perfectly well before the growth spurt. Is she aware of this? It might help with some of the frustration with the beam if she realized that many girls go through this and that it takes some adjustment time.

The problem with the girls in her group is that girls are often more "psychological" in their tactics, boys more physical and much easier to see and solve (usually involves a bit of a scrap and is over in a couple of minutes). Whereas girls take much longer to bond in groups and also can view newcomers as a bit of a threat.

Anyway, good luck to both of you, I think you will know what is best in the long term. Let us know what happens ...
 

bogwoppit

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Wow, she's really going through a lot this year, and so are you. Let me see:-

she moved a long way from her old friends

She changed schools.

She moved from her home to a new house.

She's 12, agh those hormones!

She changed gym's and levels.

Oh yes and her family all moved too, meaning that you are all going through one of the most stressful experiences that life can bring. The good news is you are doing it all together.

Six months does seem like a long time for her to wait until she can stop. Is there any way that she could take a month off at the beginning of summer, the gym does not need to know why, that way she could "have a life" and see if she really misses gym enough to go back and the door would still be open.

I have a 15 and almost 12 year old, these are challenging years both as a kid and a parent. Your DD is old enough to know that she needs a break, but I can't imagine her putting 100% into anything that she isn't really into right now.

As for the cattiness in the gym, that seems to come with age too, sadly it is tolerated by some gyms which seems to encourage the girls to do it more.

To sum my rambling thought up, talk about a "break from gym" not quitting and maybe she will see other solutions to her momentary issue. Don't turn it into a battle, because it can't work.

Good luck, I really feel for you, but what I know for sure is...one day all our kids will stop doing gym for one reason or another, sometimes we just don't get to choose.
 
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msl529

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Thanks so much for the support and helpful tips. I will definitely have her do the list you suggested. She used to say that she wanted to go for a gym college scholarship, so I will ask her about that. About the gym choice-I did ask her if she wanted to try another one & she said that was not the reason, she has enough nice friends there, and the cattiness is pretty mild & not really directed at her. But I just think her old gym in CA had this very hard-working, positive, 'let's go for it' atmosphere that just kept them stimulated & motivated, and she may not realize that she needs that to keep her going. She goes to an excellent gym (Bieger), so I doubt another team around here will be able to offer the same level of coaching. She has Jana Bieger from her own gym competing nationally, what could be more stimulating than that? Unless she needs a more mellow gym, which I doubt is the case, because the one in CA that was very competitive and well-run was what really got her amped-up about gym. But I will suggest to her that she talk w/ her old coach in CA, that is a great idea. Thanks again!
 
M

msl529

Guest
Wow, she's really going through a lot this year, and so are you. Let me see:-

she moved a long way from her old friends

She changed schools.

She moved from her home to a new house.

She's 12, agh those hormones!

She changed gym's and levels.

Oh yes and her family all moved too, meaning that you are all going through one of the most stressful experiences that life can bring. The good news is you are doing it all together.

Six months does seem like a long time for her to wait until she can stop. Is there any way that she could take a month off at the beginning of summer, the gym does not need to know why, that way she could "have a life" and see if she really misses gym enough to go back and the door would still be open.

I have a 15 and almost 12 year old, these are challenging years both as a kid and a parent. Your DD is old enough to know that she needs a break, but I can't imagine her putting 100% into anything that she isn't really into right now.

As for the cattiness in the gym, that seems to come with age too, sadly it is tolerated by some gyms which seems to encourage the girls to do it more.

To sum my rambling thought up, talk about a "break from gym" not quitting and maybe she will see other solutions to her momentary issue. Don't turn it into a battle, because it can't work.

Good luck, I really feel for you, but what I know for sure is...one day all our kids will stop doing gym for one reason or another, sometimes we just don't get to choose.
Yes, I realize she has been through a LOT this year. I feel guilty about the move, beleive me! Yet, soon after we arrived here and she started this gym, she was saying things like, " I am so thankful to have gym, it's saving my life right now!" i.e.-it was the one thing that provided her w/ some predictability-same skills & drills as at home, same goals. It really did help her thru her transition. I have a 15 yr old dd also (not a gymnast), and she is just so even- tempered-she sailed thru puberty with nary a frown or bad mood. DD# 2 is certainly making up for all that her older sis did not put us thru, I swear! Much more moody and sensitive. Ok, I may have to do the gym-break thing. Not a bad idea. A little scary, thinking she may go backward in skills and then REALLY not want to go back, but I guess what will be, will be! I was hoping this move would not 'break' her gym involvement, I will always wonder if we had stayed in CA, if she would have kept up w/ it. But I do beleive in God's will in our life & all that, so if quitting is in the 'plan', then I trust that it's for good reason. I just really don't know how hard to push back w/this very stubborn child, and for how long. Thanks again.
 
M

msl529

Guest
This is so difficult and I sympathize fully with you.

A few months ago my 11 year old daughter wanted to give up gym completely. I persuaded her to think about it and keep it going whilst she made up her mind. My reasons were that I thought it was just a temporary blip and, although she is not top gymnast material, I thought the sport was good for her and is actually about the only thing in her life which really challenges her.

She is now really happy that she stayed on and does not want to give up at all.

The problem with many of the beam moves is that they grow in spurts and their centre of gravity changes quite quickly which causes many of them to lose confidence on the beam with moves which they "had" perfectly well before the growth spurt. Is she aware of this? It might help with some of the frustration with the beam if she realized that many girls go through this and that it takes some adjustment time.

The problem with the girls in her group is that girls are often more "psychological" in their tactics, boys more physical and much easier to see and solve (usually involves a bit of a scrap and is over in a couple of minutes). Whereas girls take much longer to bond in groups and also can view newcomers as a bit of a threat.

Anyway, good luck to both of you, I think you will know what is best in the long term. Let us know what happens ...
Thanks, I will mention the growth thing/center of gravity change to her, that helps. She is definitely growing FAST. She's always been tall for her age (now 5'2") and consequently her growth spurts are always quite alarming. To stay in the 90th percentile for height for her age, she always grows by the yard! Incidentally, she just grew ONE INCH in the past two months. So I KNOW she is changing rapidly! Thanks for the advice!
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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A very old and potentially useful saying i, "softly, softly catches monkey". meaning that you have to use all the knowledge you have of your lovely stubborn one to help her find her way, even if you are manipulating behind the scenes. That would be the way to stay in gym, happily and by her choice. Parenting is 50% distraction you know!:D The other 50% is all the nagging stuff.

You have won the first battle, that is she actually talks to you. My stubborn 9 year old clams up like a clam :eek: when I ask her about stuff.

We are all thinking of you and her, we will all need your advice one day as you will not be the last of us to go through this. You know her best of all and are doing a great job trying to "do the right thing".

Good luck.
 
M

msl529

Guest
A very old and potentially useful saying i, "softly, softly catches monkey". meaning that you have to use all the knowledge you have of your lovely stubborn one to help her find her way, even if you are manipulating behind the scenes. That would be the way to stay in gym, happily and by her choice. Parenting is 50% distraction you know!:D The other 50% is all the nagging stuff.

You have won the first battle, that is she actually talks to you. My stubborn 9 year old clams up like a clam :eek: when I ask her about stuff.

We are all thinking of you and her, we will all need your advice one day as you will not be the last of us to go through this. You know her best of all and are doing a great job trying to "do the right thing".

Good luck.
Oh, that's so nice. Thanks so much! So glad to have this place to chat, non-gym parent-friends are way too bored to hear and support me in this stuff! I wouldn't put them thru it! Thanks!
 
D

Deleted member 1703

Guest
Thanks, I will mention the growth thing/center of gravity change to her, that helps. She is definitely growing FAST. She's always been tall for her age (now 5'2") and consequently her growth spurts are always quite alarming. To stay in the 90th percentile for height for her age, she always grows by the yard! Incidentally, she just grew ONE INCH in the past two months. So I KNOW she is changing rapidly! Thanks for the advice!
I know a few girls aged 13-14 who lost their BHS on beam. It does come back again but takes a few months. The centre of gravity thing does seem to affect the beam more than any other pieces of apparatus.
 
M

msl529

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I know a few girls aged 13-14 who lost their BHS on beam. It does come back again but takes a few months. The centre of gravity thing does seem to affect the beam more than any other pieces of apparatus.
Good to know, thanks! If this is the root of her problem, making her aware of this may help. If it is more than just this, time will tell. Thanks!
 

Livinatthegym

Member
Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
My dd2 and yours sound like they have much in common--both 12, both finishing up that first year as middle schoolers, both coming off really good seasons (dd2 won 1st place on some event or in the AA at all meets but one this year!)

Dd2 does not clearly articulate why she wants to be done. She just says that she loves gymnastics, that it's her favorite sport, and that she wants to be done. She made the decision some time ago and set her own end date. I'm a little stunned (as is the coach and dd1), but I refuse to be the mom who "makes" her kid do an activity. Even if I think it's a mistake, it's hers to make.

I do think 6 months is too long to make her wait to be sure she "really" wants to quit. I'd ask her to stay in through the end of June and if she still wants to be done, you'll take her out, no arguments. My dd1 made the decision to quit almost as soon as high school started, but thought I might be "mad" if she stopped since we already paid the booster fee. By the time she realized I really wouldn't be mad, it was so close to the season, she decided to compete. It was a long, miserable year for us (even though dd1 still loved the sport). This is why I do not recommend the 6 months of wait and see. You get too close to the season, and you almost "have" to go for it. Not easy with school starting if your dd's heart isn't in it any more. If she wants to stop, let her do it while she still has some summer left.

I really feel like this is a situation where we, as moms, can let go and allow our girls to make their own deicisions.
 
M

msl529

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My dd2 and yours sound like they have much in common--both 12, both finishing up that first year as middle schoolers, both coming off really good seasons (dd2 won 1st place on some event or in the AA at all meets but one this year!)

Dd2 does not clearly articulate why she wants to be done. She just says that she loves gymnastics, that it's her favorite sport, and that she wants to be done. She made the decision some time ago and set her own end date. I'm a little stunned (as is the coach and dd1), but I refuse to be the mom who "makes" her kid do an activity. Even if I think it's a mistake, it's hers to make.

I do think 6 months is too long to make her wait to be sure she "really" wants to quit. I'd ask her to stay in through the end of June and if she still wants to be done, you'll take her out, no arguments. My dd1 made the decision to quit almost as soon as high school started, but thought I might be "mad" if she stopped since we already paid the booster fee. By the time she realized I really wouldn't be mad, it was so close to the season, she decided to compete. It was a long, miserable year for us (even though dd1 still loved the sport). This is why I do not recommend the 6 months of wait and see. You get too close to the season, and you almost "have" to go for it. Not easy with school starting if your dd's heart isn't in it any more. If she wants to stop, let her do it while she still has some summer left.

I really feel like this is a situation where we, as moms, can let go and allow our girls to make their own deicisions.
Thank you, I really appreciate your frank and candid response. I think I will take the aproach of TELLING her she has to stick until the end of the season, to see if that kicks her into gear a bit. We will be gone on vacation 3 weeks in June, so she will have had a nice break. If, after we come back & maybe a couple of more weeks, she is still 'done', then I'll let her quit (but I won't tell her my plan until that time). I agree that if her heart is truly not in it, competing will not help at all, and may be a big waste of time. If her heart is going to 'come back' into it, it should really have done so by July, don't you think? I usually let her make her own gym decisions also, but she has also told me in the past that she was glad for the times that I made her stick it out. She actually said "oh don't listen to me when I'm like that, I'm just going crazy/being irrational". So, you see my dilemma. Just kind of waiting to see if this is the 'real thing' or just a passing phase. Thanks so much for the feedback! I'll keep you posted! BTW-what WILL we put her into instead, she is so restless & always moving around, she will need SOMETHING, albeit not 5 days a week!
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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Isn't dealing with girls and all the drama so much fun ;)
 
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Billy

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It really is hard to know what to do. Luckily my DD has not had a "I'm quitting" fit.... yet. I always remember how my mother made me take piano lessons and for at least two years, I hated it. But then (and now!) I was really glad she made me keep it up. It would be hard to know what to do because you don't want your DD to regret quitting but you also don't want her to be unhappy.
 

Gymmonkeymomma

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OMG, all of this sounds so familiar! My oldest DD is 11 and in middle school. We have gone thru the "lost" skills (where IS that lost & found box???) and the "not wanting to go to gym" whines. She has never actually said the word "quit" though, and I even have tested her by offering to let her quit (yes, quite a gamble on my end). We are going thru the age, hormones, feeling like they are missing out on in-town and school activities. This summer, she is choosing to attend camp with her school friends and skipping a week away at gymnastics camp. She is now training for Level 8 which doesn't start till Dec 2008). So, to appease the "missing out" aspect, I have decided to let her try out for our town's competition cheering team (which ends in Dec). There should be minimal conflicts as far as practice times, and it seems to have made her so much happier. She loves the gym and doesn't want to leave, but she's happy that she will get to do something with her school friends.

Sorry for rambling on, but wanted to let you know you are not alone in this struggle with the "tween" years!!
 

Aussie_coach

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12 is about the age when there is a mass exodus from gymnastics, gyms are filled with kids but teenagers can be a rarity. Gymnastics is such a time consuming sport and the hours are very, very long and this is the age that kids start to want to hang out and go places with their friends. Gymnasts get tired of always having to say "I can't I have gym" and in many cases friends stop inviting them places. Gymnasts feel like they are missing out and at this age fitting in with friends often means more than anything else in the world.

I think you are doing the right thing by encouraging her to stick it out for a while longer, to help her avoid making a desicion that she may regret later. But remember that gymnastics is such a huge part of her life and when she quits it will leave a great big empty whole which needs to be filled with something and many kids fill it with something far less than desirable.

Look at what gymnastics provides her

1. Fills her time
2. A sport and physical activity and energy outlet
3. A source of friends who have things in common
4. A source of self esteem and confidence
5. A sense of identity, many gymnasts are identified as gymnasts, everyone knows them as the gymnast at school and it can also leave a big hole in their perception of themselves.

These things need to be filled with something.
 
M

msl529

Guest
Thank you all for the great feedback, support, and thoughts. This is obviously a big issue, judging from the mulitple responses! I think Aussie Coach puts forth some very important points, especially about the 'identity' that gymnasts associate themselves with. It is not a sport that many kids do competitively, so they get instant notoriety when they say they are competitive gymnasts. My dd, sweet as she is, does thrive on the attention & 'glory' which comes w/ her sport. I find myself wondering what in the heck would fill that void once she is done. Team sports are great for the more 'athletic' types, but she & I have discussed many times in the past, how this sport is such a good fit for her, because it is not only 'athletic', but is also 'artistic'. She has a very creative side to her, which she is able to express well in her gymnastic moves. She tends to express/learn kinesthetically, so a team sport probably won't fulfill her needs . Does this make sense? You would think that dance would be an obvious choice, but she flat out refuses to do ballet jazz, etc. She would like to try 'hip-hop', which I am willing to let her do to a point, but frankly, I am a little leary of her spending too much time w/ all the music that goes along w/ that dancing genre, rolling around in her head. Cheerleading---I dont' know. She has always poo-pooed it in the past. HMMMMMMM!!! Filling the void will be important to her especially, because we are still new here, and already feeling other 'voids'-friends, school, neighborhood, etc. Sorry to ramble, thanks for any and ALL feedback!!!
 

bogwoppit

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I totally get the filling the void thing.

I have just taken oldest DD,11, out of gym for a month. She has a two year history of injuries, and they just were not healing with her in the gym. So she is taking a Mum enforced break, still stretching and icing, but no time in the gym.

She is finding it very hard, she of course did not want to stop, but if I don't make her take a break there will be no summer training or camp. We are hoping that the break does the trick or it may be the end of the line for her.

The void right now is tough to fill, she doesn't know what day of the week it is as she has no gym to clue her in, she is bored and has time on her hands, not used to that. She misses her friends at gym and she just aches to do something. We have her swimming and biking which is advised by her sport therapist and good for her too.

If she had to stop gym totally it would be awful for her. Her little sister still does gym and will continue as she loves it.

Right now big DD's school bus stops at the gym to let the girls from her school off, she'll still have to see that and the gym everyday on the way home. We live an hour from school/gym therefore she would not have any after school interaction with her friends from gym. She begins high school in Sept, there are a total of 150 kids in the school from grades 7-11, this of course means that there is only one sport and that is swimming, no teams to join and nothing to fill the sporting void. It is what worries me most about her having to stop, having absolutely nothing to switch it with. Town sports are basically soccer and hockey/skating just not her thing.

Right now I am trying not to dwell on it, as it won't help. No matter what there will be changes in her gym commitment, her body is just not up to the pounding. Tough when nobody is ready for change and we will just have to adapt.

As I said earlier this time will come to us all no matter what the situation. I think this is why so many people have so much great insight. Good to share, doesn't solve the issue, but it stops you feeling isolated in the problem.

SO many of you have raised so many great points, thanks for posting.:)
 
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