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DD is driving me nuts in the gym

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Jan 22, 2008
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My DD is 4.5 years old. Last night the girls had a fun workout. THey got to throw all the box in the pit and then did some skills on the tumble track and such. She was doing front tucks into the pit and was happy as a lark well then she is working her roundoffs and was told to do her front tuck into the pit again and she just starts to cry. Saying she can't do it. :confused: She just did 6 of them before this. She pulls this stuff all the time. It kills me. So she asks for a spot and her coach gets her calmed down and spots her again. It just drives me crazy. She will be happy and content to do things and then she will just crack and start to cry out of the blue. I just don't know what to do. I am hoping she will grow out of this phase. She even cries if she can't do something just perfect. She gets so frustrated with herself if she can't do something just right. I know it is good to be tough on your self but sometimes I just get so tired of the tears. Someone please tell me this will pass. I know she is young but I am so tired of it.
 
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margymmom

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My 6 y.o pre-teamer went thru the same thing several months ago. She's been hanging around the gym since she was little b/c of her older sister, has good friends on the pre-team and loves her coach. She suddenly started crying at random times during practice and needed to leave practice several days because she was so distraught (this is extremely out of character for her). She couldn't verbalize the problem...We decided to either stop gymnastics, and/or try another sport (which she has mentioned periodically) but to wait another month before making a final decision. I watched a few practices to see how things went, she skipped a few more practices here and there, and the problem seemed to disappear. When it came time for soccer sign up she decided she wanted to stick with gymnastics and did not want to be committed for more days a week to soccer. Honestly, I think she was exhausted by the holidays and just needed a little more down time...but I do think it is important that they kids know it is their decision to continue or discontinue.
 

mariposa

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is she tired or hungry maybe? my (usually super dramatic) DD is much more dramatic when she is tired or hungry. i get so tired of the drama at home. she cries over everything, but she has always been that way and it is getting better now that she is 5 1/2. strangely, she NEVER does it at gym, no idea why. she is like a totally different kid at gym. actually drives me crazy sometimes because i wish she was like that when we do school. LOL.

i think that some kids are harder on themselves than others, but also when they are soo young and with older girls (especially if those girls are doing all the tricks) the pressure is even more intense.

it also could be that she likes the attention she gets from acting out. one of my DDs friend in class is like this. lately the coach has been ignoring the behavior and it is helping. instead of stopping the whole class for her, she just has the rest keep going.

she is soo very young though and i think it is normal. maybe talk to the coach and have her try to not give attention when she does this. especially when they can see she was just doing something. if it works, it might just be that she likes the attention. who wouldn't?
 
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mariposa

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also, it sounds like she was busy doing her roundoffs and maybe she didn't want to stop doing those. my DDs friend is like that. she cries if they have to stop doing something she is having fun doing. or will not do the next thing correctly. and she just turned 6.

and again, the hunger and tired factor can be huge in little ones. everything is 10 times worse for my DD when she is hungry or tired.
 

bogwoppit

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Sounds like a perfectly normal 4.5 year old to me. Normal meaning frustrated by change and reduced to tears by the strangest things. They are still very little kids and will occasionally "act their age" when frustrated.

My suggestion is to try to let this stuff go, her coach isn't complaining and she'll grow out of it, and move on to another irritating, but wonderful, stage of childhood.:D

I always tell my friends that, just when you get totally sick of a certain behaviour in your child, they'll quit that one and find a new one that is just as irritating, but in a whole different way.

Try not to sweat the small stuff and save your mental energy for the battles that really do need to be fought and won. ;)
 
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Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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Gymnasticsgirl521 - your dd is still a baby... of course she is going to cry. Babies cry for many different reasons, maybe she was hungry, tired as one of the other posters suggested, or maybe she was scared. I hate to say it, but it could be one of those warning signs. Kids (babies) will let you know if they feel they are pushed - sometimes they don't always know how to verbalize it, so they cry. Don't let it drive you crazy, you need to listen to your little one. I can only base my opinion on what you wrote - but it sounds as if she was scared in the wanting to be spotted instance. The fact that she will just crack and start to cry out of the blue is a whole other huge sign that you definately need to look at and find out what is going on.


My DD is 4.5 years old. Last night the girls had a fun workout. THey got to throw all the box in the pit and then did some skills on the tumble track and such. She was doing front tucks into the pit and was happy as a lark well then she is working her roundoffs and was told to do her front tuck into the pit again and she just starts to cry. Saying she can't do it. :confused: She just did 6 of them before this. She pulls this stuff all the time. It kills me. So she asks for a spot and her coach gets her calmed down and spots her again. It just drives me crazy. She will be happy and content to do things and then she will just crack and start to cry out of the blue. I just don't know what to do. I am hoping she will grow out of this phase. She even cries if she can't do something just perfect. She gets so frustrated with herself if she can't do something just right. I know it is good to be tough on your self but sometimes I just get so tired of the tears. Someone please tell me this will pass. I know she is young but I am so tired of it.
 

gymdog

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This is not too big a problem, especially for the preschoolers. If it is affecting the end of her workout very dramatically (i.e. she stops getting anything done at a certain point) then maybe you can see about taking her out 15-20 minutes early. It could physically or mentally be too much for her. If it is only occasional and with no pattern, then she probably just hasn't developed ways to cope. "Set shifting" - moving from different activities and experiences with ease - is still largely developing cognitively in these years in my experience. Plus, I know some teenagers who don't like to go from twisting back to double flipping, but they don't cry because they have other ways to deal with it. Going from one thing to another in gymnastics without another "warm up" is one of the biggest challenges and the reason why girls often "have" a lot of skills they aren't ready to compete yet - they can't cope with the timed warm up and then wait in between performing the skill. It is all mental and nothing to do with the physical.

Perhaps you can speak to her coach and tell her your DD seems to be getting overwhelmed at certain parts of practice, and if it happens the coach can suggest she go get a drink of water and calm down, and then come back and try it again. I am sure this stage will pass, preschoolers are notorious for getting frustrated. Oftentimes we may have too high expectations for them since they have better verbal and physical skills than a toddler, but they still can't verbalize or logically work through everything they are presented with and they are dealing with lots of new experiences daily. I know sometimes things have not gone over well in preschool classes and I realize the expectation was too high and have to move on. It is hard to put yourself in that preschool mindframe because it isn't anything that would be a big deal to you or me, but it is a very tangible and real thing to them. They just need some help to work through it. The youngest classes I teach currently are 5 and up and while they have their own set of challenges, they do almost never cry or refuse anymore, at least not about the tasks they are asked to do.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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Sounds like a perfectly normal 4.5 year old to me. Normal meaning frustrated by change and reduced to tears by the strangest things. They are still very little kids and will occasionally "act their age" when frustrated.
Exactly what I was going to say - the behavior is completely age appropriate. Of course I know how frustrating it can be - watching my 5yo ds play ice hockey just drives me crazy sometimes (but is really, really funny).
 

Aussie_coach

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Another thing to watch out for is her age in relation to the rest of the group. Being 4 1/2 if the whole group is quite a bit older she will have a special place in the team, she will be the baby of the group and get attention accordingly. It is possible that the other girls do baby her a bit, give her lots of cuddles and attentio because older girls love to do this with cute little kids. And to many of these girls there is not much cuter than a 4 year old doing great gymnastics.

The problem here is that if she is being babied a lot she will respond by playing the baby role (this is common in youngest siblings with Much older bro's and sis's). Some of the crying could relate to this. The way the coach and team react to her crying will determine how much it goes on.

This may sound a little harsh but it is the same as with little kids at home. Maybe the don;t want to do something and they cry and then get away with not doing it, it teaches them to cry the next time they don't want to do something.

Don't worry about her needing to go back to having a spot on skills she could do before though because this is very, very common in gymnastics. Girls gain skills, lose them and gain them again. At first the spot is a confidence builder just to remind them they can do the skill before they throw it themselves. In many ways it is a great thing she insists on a spot if she is not sure. Many gymnasts will throw skills they are not in the right frame of mind to throw and injure themselves. Some of the worst injuries in gymnastics history have been from gymnasts doing skills they havent felt ready for but did it without complaint because their coaches told them too. These girls would still be able to walk or still be alive today if they were a little more like your daughter. A little fear is a good thing.
 

ihraxhunnie

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Feb 6, 2008
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i wouldn't worry about her needing the spot again after switching gears a few times. in my bhs classes that i teach, i have a specific few girls who need spotted on the first handspring every time their turn comes up. they know they can do it but it scares them to have had the 5 or 10 minute break between actually executing the skills.


as for the crying, i have a young one (6 years old) in my wed night rollers classes (beginners) and when she first began coming to my class, she cried about every little bump and bruise and imperfection in every skill she tried. sometimes it's hard to be stern with her because she's just 6, but the only way to get through to her is to use a stern tone of voice telling her "hey, why are you crying, there's no reason for it. You're at gymnastics to learn - i don't expect you to do this stuff perfectly yet. If you need help ask for it, you're going to hurt yourself trying to do things while you're crying and complaining." after a session or two of this consistent structure, she has come a long way, not only with the crying and whining but also with her gymnastics.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
Thank you so much for all your advice. DD has gotten so much better about the crying. Now she is only crying when a certain team mate is forcing her to do things she doesn't want to do. So that being said I am now teaching her to stand up for herself. Being the youngest when 8 year olds are picking you up and trying to MAKE you do things that you have gotten hurt doing, makes for tears. So the coach is working on seperating the two to help.

I saw DD actually giving a little attitude to the team mate when she was trying to "help" dd. A part of me was happy that she was telling her to leave her alone. Finally she left her alone. I am hoping they can find a happy medium if you know what I mean. I want my baby to learn how to handle these situations herself.

Also being the baby she does have a special role in the gym and she does get a lot of attention and hugs from everyone. So I do think this adds to her behavior.

I know one team coach was working with her one night and asked me what was up with her tears she cries when she is scared and then she is crying because she is happy she got a new skill. In the coaches words she is a "silly but cute girl" I have to say she was wonderful with her and DD got two new skills with her so it was a good tear day. (I don't mind tears of happiness) LOL
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
She got her shoot through and her back hip circle on the bars that day. Then this week she got her Back handspring by herself on the floor.
 
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