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demeaning comments from parents

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dazed

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I was leaving the gym with my daughter after her class one evening and I over heard a mom telling her girl " You're the WORST one in the class! I'm not going to pay for this anymore!" I was stunned. Do other parents hear that kind of talk often at their gyms? I felt really bad for the girl who couldn't have been more than 7. I mean geez, give the girl a break and let her learn at her own pace!
 

bogwoppit

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Just terrible, I have never heard that at our gym. Poor child, it doesn't bode well for the future if the mother is already this hard on the child.:(
 

gym law mom

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I really hate to say, I've heard that type of comment too many times. Not just in gymnastics, but in any activitiy kids are in. Having spent some time in figure skating, I have seen/heard 4 and 5 year olds told they are no good or whatever because they "only came in 3rd." Thing is a few times, the coach has been right there and said nothing. I think many times coaches feel uncomfortable talking with a parent about their attitude toward their child.

One dad of a girl on my daughter's team came in one day and watched the last 5 min of a 3.5 hour practice. He determined she wasn't working hard enough and let her have it as they walked out of the gym----she had her head down like a spanked puppy. Some parents think this is "motivating" their children when really it borders on abuse.

My guess is the little girl who was mentioned has gotten this type of verbal belittling before in other activities. I'll bet she also hears it at home regarding school and anything else she does.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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It is indeed really difficult for a coach to confront a parent about this sort of thing, because it's not as much a matter of coaching as it is of parenting; especially having no kids of my own, I can't go up to a parent and say "you're being a bad parent," because what the heck do I know? And who am I to tell them they're doing it wrong?

But I ache for kids whose parents treat them like this. This is a very effective way to completely screw a kid up and make sure they will never have the self-confidence to succeed both inside and outside the gym.
 

bluefeet

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May 14, 2007
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Sad indeed :( It's a shame that this does happen...surely more often than what we might witness publicly.

I spend a ton of time at our gym. Even more so now that I'm working with the junior trainers. After gaining their trust, it's interesting to see how some girls seek out my attention/praise more than others. Partly because of their own wiring of course, but in many cases it's a direct correlation to the support (or lack of) that they are getting from home.

And it's more than the blatant stuff. We all get busy, and some maybe just haven't taken the time yet to appreciate how brutally demanding this sport can be. It's heartbreaking to see a little one's attempt at sharing exciting news get brushed aside.

I guess the point being is that we observers are not has helpless as you think. Taking a second to beat 'psycho parents' to the punch, giving even the smallest praise to all the kids you run across in the gym can go a long way.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I think this is something that many coaches are guilty of as well.

We just had a girl join our gym after leaving another one, and either she's a total mental case (and she doesn't seem like one), or she's never in her life worked with a coach who had anything positive to say. I honestly don't think the poor girl has ever once worked with a coach who actually cared about her.
 
Feb 15, 2007
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I know this does happen, but our parents seem so down to earth at our gym... I have only heard them encourage their kids. I have actually seen this happen a lot in baseball in football though - while it is sad and causes unneccessary stress to the child, parents handle things in different ways and it does not mean that the child is not loved or treated well at home... I have also seen many of these same parents hugging and congratulating their children. It is what it is, I have said it before that it would be great if each child came with instructions... parents (myself included) make mistakes too and I doubt that the majority of the children suffer long term effects... my parents certainly made plenty of mistakes and even said some pretty mean things, but I never felt that they did not love me. I don't like to be judgemental of other parents or other families.

I do not think that it is ever the responsibility of a coach or another parent to step in, even if they are standing right there... and as far as children looking to their coaches for approval, this is a very normal occurence for a child to look for approval from coaches, teachers etc.... it does not mean that the child does not get attention or approval at home.... I would be careful of coaches that judge this type of behavior, especially if they have only been coaching for a very short time.
 

bluefeet

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May 14, 2007
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lgcm,

Message received loud and clear ;).

I do apologize :( ... & I appreciate you calling me on it.

My earlier statement, as written, is of course completely presumptuous, judgemental, & not very well thought out. It was an ill attempt at trying to set up my later point (which I also could have done a better job doing!). Using the shared story in the original post as a catalyst was a mistake.

A lack of understanding might be a better way to put it, more so than a lack of support. I know these families both in and outside of the gym. My previous post withstanding, I'm not suggesting that they come from an unloving home...or that 'enough' support isn't given simply in providing them the opportunity to participate, etc.

I also wasn't suggesting that it was another parent or coaches place to intervene 'in the moment'. More simply & broadly...there are some that more fully appreciate/understand the every day monumental accomplishments of this unique sport. I honestly don't mean that as a knock against those that don't 'get it'. For those that do, to dole out casual praise throughout their gymnastics community is a good thing. If it inadvertently fills a small gap that might not have been filled otherwise, all the better.
 
Feb 15, 2007
222
blue feet, I apologize if I sounded harsh...

I hope that you will take it as a compliment and appreciate that your students look to you for approval and value your opinion. I feel that children need many role models in their lives - parents are an intricate part, but a village is so much better :) .
 
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GymnastRaeRae87

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wow

That is really mean. What a way to make your child feel good and want them to continue to be active. My Mom never says anything like that to me. If I had a bad night and didn't do so well she would tell me that I made a nice effort and would say something I did well or something funny we shared as a class. That was a really harsh thing to say. She needs to learn some manners.
 
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