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Doesn't want to go to practice.. then has a great time

Discussion in 'Parent Forum' started by dani4, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. I'm not sure how to interpret recent events, and wondering if they might change. So I wonder what you all think.

    My daughter is 7, newly on pre-team- she has been going to practice since the beginning of August. Last week my husband said something off-the-cuff in front of DD, like "4 hours per week is way too much for a 7 year old." Up until that moment DD had NEVER complained about going to gym. Unfortunately DH said that about 15 minutes before we were supposed to leave and DD said immediately "I don't want to go, I'm tired." I'm telling you, she was fine, she just was mad that her sister was staying home and she was going. I told her she had to go, because I signed her up and paid through the fall- if she wants to talk about quitting it has to be in a couple of months when sign-ups for the next season occur.

    She grudgingly went to gymnastics. When I picked her up after her 2 hour class she said "Actually I like gymnastics. I don't know what I was talking about." And she seemed happy. I didn't watch her practice.

    Fast forward to the next practice, and when it was time to leave she again dug in her heels. And she did it again the next time. Both times, I said she had to go, and she went grudgingly. I watched most of one of the practices and she seemed fine. After practice she said it was good, and she seemed happy.

    She has the same coach as she had for the last 2 years, so I know it's not that- and she still likes her, and she's still great. It could be that she doesn't like 2 hour practices- last year they were 1 hour long and she was fine. It could be that the stuff they are doing is harder, and more is expected of them. Or she could just be playing with me. Or maybe when it's time to go she really would rather stay home, but once she's there she's really happy. Or she's just found a new way to assert her independence.

    Anyway my plan is to consistently make her go to practice until the end of the session. Once we allow skipping I know it's going to get out of hand- I have been down that road before with swimming lessons. When it's time to sign up for the next session (the gym runs pre-team as a class in 3 month chunks, thank goodness it's not a year-long commitment) I will talk to her and re-assess her commitment level, and make sure she understands all the options. I am ok with her doing rec, I am ok with her quitting. I am ok with her continuing, but she is currently driving me crazy and this has to stop. Argh.

    Has anyone ever gone through this, and how did it end? Just curious. I know my daughter might be different. I guess I'm wondering if this could be some kind of developmental thing, a need to assert independence, that might go away. Haha.
  2. Bookworm had a great recent post about a similar topic. In the other thread the kid was complaining about gym.
    dani4 likes this.
  3. Both of my kids have experienced this, to varying degrees. Both got through it and are still competing. At some point for all kids it sort of transitions from all fun to more work-like. Still "fun" of course, but different. Not all kids will fully adapt when they hit this phase - some will move on to other sports or activities - but from what I've seen, many do get through it.

    I say that if she's having fun while there, do keep encouraging her to go for the interim. I think the plan to re-assess with the next enrollment period is smart. Depending on her severity of push-back, maybe even try one more 3-month period.

    Does she have consistent coaches? If so, are you on good terms? If so, it may not hurt to mention how she's feeling. We did that with my DS after his first season of L4 and it really helped - coach chatted with him and has picked up on DS's "bad days" better and has helped him along. Now, DS is in a phase where he LOVES it again.

    If she gets through it, it may come 'round again. :) My DD has gone through this twice now. She's been "team stream" for six years or so.
    dani4 likes this.
  4. Perhaps she just feels like 2 hours is HUGE amount of time when she is looking at it all being ahead of her. When my then 9 year old started 4 hour practices, she would get weepy on the way there and while waiting for practice to start because it seemed insurmountable. Once she was halfway through warm-ups, she would give me a thumbs up saying she was fine and I would leave.
    dani4 likes this.
  5. Has she just started back at school? Or are the hours new?

    For my daughter it's spring fever when she complains. She can her the neighborhood kids playing and she off to practice, the whining starts.

    Once there she happily heads off to the floor. And comes off happy. This has gone on for years.

    We all have days/phases where we just don't.

    If she is Ok while there it's not a problem.
    dani4 and LindyHopper like this.
  6. This is normal at that age to some extent. If it's relatively mild (i.e. she's not hysterical about not going) and then says everything is fine once she's there, it's usually because they don't want to stop what they're doing at the moment. It might help to have a schedule on gym days that is predictable (like we will do x, y and z) and then remind her of the schedule.

    If she was really upset about going or if she seemed to shut down once there then I would say let her stop. But if she just wants to keep watching TV or whatever then I would say your plan is good. If sometime between then and now she seems to forget about this, I probably would not bring it up, and just sign her up again.
    Aero, gracyomalley, dani4 and 2 others like this.
  7. Yep, pretty normal at that age to just lack the inertia to get up and go when you're either doing something else fun, or relaxing at home and probably are actually tired sometimes. The ability to think about how much you love something then project how much fun you WILL have once you get yourself there is not a sharpened skill in the 7 year old set.

    For now, just try to not be too reactive - just be matter of fact that it's time to go, you always have fun once you get there, and she can absolutely stop after this commitment period. Some kids also need to periodically be reminded they do have control over their choice of activities (within boundaries of current commitment).

    Hopefully it is a phase, though there may be periods in the future (assuming she sticks with it) where the lack of inertia reappears for various reasons.
    Aero, dani4, Lilou and 2 others like this.
  8. We also give the kids a warning that their current activity is about to change. If she werr watching TV say, I would let her know that at the end of XYZ show, or at the 2nd commercial, we would be leaving. My kids always do better with change if they have some warning.
    Aero, duyetanh, sce and 2 others like this.
  9. Both of my girls do this, because they just get home from school are having a snack and relaxing. Then to have to get going again and out of the door isn't something they want to do. But of course, like yours, once we get there, they're fine. They're exhausted by the end, but that's because it's a 3 hr class. You could try setting an alarm that once that goes off, it's time to shut down whatever their doing and get their things ready.

    I think your husband's comment could have had an effect but I would think if that isn't brought up again in front of her, your DD's true colors will come back in a few weeks and you can see if she still hesitates or that washes away. I also agree about evaluating once the few months are up to make sure she really wants to do it. We decided to give our rigorous schedule till June (if we can) and then re-assess if team is really the path they want to take the following year. It's L2 so I feel like it's a good intro to see if they want to really commit as gymnastics teams requires more later on.
    dani4 likes this.
  10. Thanks everyone- all the responses have been really helpful and reassuring.

    I'm glad to know that this is developmentally normal- I was hoping that was the case. And this happened last spring with ballet on Saturdays- as soon as the weather got nice something fun was happening at home and she didn't want to leave.

    She did just start school yesterday, and it's a new school that is very different from her old school. She went from public school to a private school with religious instruction. But the heel digging happened before school started.

    Another new thing: we got a puppy. That's why she didn't want to go earlier this week, because she was having fun playing with the puppy. Her little sister also had gymnastics that day and she didn't want to go either, but I'm used to her complaining. She's a different story (and she only goes 1 hour per week).

    Also her best friend across the street just came home from several weeks away- and before that DD was gone at my parents for a month, so she missed her friend and wants to spend time with her.

    So there's a lot going on.

    Plus I really think there is something to the idea that at 7 years old 2 hours seems like a LOOONG time when you have it looming in front of you. I hadn't thought of that.

    And I hadn't thought of talking to her coach about it. I will let her know.

    Another thing came up last night. We were talking about gymnastics, and she said that she has gotten worse at her pullover. She seemed annoyed about it. As soon as I started to say something, she told me she didn't want to talk about it so I said "Ok, it's your choice not to talk about it" and I changed the subject. I try to be really sensitive to her feelings and not pressure or push her at all about gymnastics (or anything really) but I am kind of enthusiastic about the sport and I can't help it sometimes, I find it interesting and I guess my interest can seem pushy. That's why I'm on CB- to learn about the sport that I find interesting, and to learn how to support my daughter without driving her crazy :).
    Aero, Sasha, sce and 1 other person like this.
  11. As a team coach, we usually have one or two of these kids every year. Cry on the way in, and then never want to leave. We just tell the parents to stick with it, and they always come out of it. Just don't let Grandma and Grandpa do the dropping off, they are suckers for the tears lol.
    Aero, gymcoach1, Becauseisaid and 3 others like this.
  12. I love this. You are doing awesome, mom.

    I hope you and Dh had a talk about what to say, not say in front of the kids too. Sounds like the tow of you may need to work to get on the same page too.

    As for her recent issues with wanting to go. All of those new things could easily contribute. I will say, this sport gets hard. Each step up, while has it's fun is also more serious, scary, tough etc. Sounds like she may be feeling this a bit too. It's also not a smooth uphill. Skills come and go, there are periods of just holding steady and periods of learning a lot. Every time my dd grows she has to adjust and almost relearn some things. She's been doing a round-off for 6 year an it still gets messed up with each growth spurt!
    MomIdidit!, duyetanh and ldw4mlo like this.
  13. Thanks sce! I forgot to mention that I did have a talk with DH about saying negative things about the kids' activities in front of them. He agreed that his remark was unhelpful, and he didn't really need to say it in front of her. He's going to try not to do that. Part of the problem is that DH can be negative and critical of a lot of things, and DD wants to please him, so sometimes she'll go from loving something to hating something just because he was derisive of it. It's another issue, but it's something that DH has to start recognizing- I really want DD to feel like she has a right to her own opinions, likes and dislikes. And he can be so knee-jerk negative, it puts a downer on things! He does see that it's a problem, and he's working on it, but he still slips up.

    DH is concerned about kids spending too much time in organized activities, and I agree with his concern, but he also sees that gymnastics has been so good for DD and that she wants to do it. It has helped her both physically and mentally, and I think that continuing in gymnastics will help her maintain very healthy self esteem.
    sce likes this.
  14. Maybe dh needs to intentionally say some positive things to dd about gym. Not specific stuff but appreciating her hard work and how fit she is etc?
    Aero, dani4, duyetanh and 1 other person like this.
  15. I will add to having similar experiences. We struggled with this on and off last year (she was
    6) and dealt with it very similar to how you are. For my DD it seemed to be most related to not wanting to stop whatever she is doing.

    I like you felt it was very important to let her know she can stop gymnastics if she wants, but it needs to be a long term decision and not just how she feels one day. I tell her she has to give me 1 month notice.

    At one point in time the complaining got so bad that I said I might have to make the decision for her to stop gymnastics and find something else she liked better.. which resulted in tears, so I backed off.

    Around that same time she started working in routines for an in house meet (which she loved) and we haven't had many problems since. She even moved from 1.5 hour to 2.5 hour practices in May and we haven't had issues (so far).
    dani4 likes this.
  16. There have been a lot of good points made here but I wanted to add another. Sometimes we know we will have fun once we get someplace but we are just so comfy at home that we don't want to go. I was just complaining yesterday that I had to go out with my friends after work. I didn't feel like it. I knew I would have fun but I was tired. Anyway, I went had a blast and asked myself why I don't go out with them more. We all do it and it doesn't always mean anything. As parents we worry about out kids but sometimes there is no reason for the things they say and do. Sometimes you really just don't feel like doing anything!
    Aero, dani4 and Canadian_gym_mom like this.
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