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How to tell if you are a pushy, crazy or overbearing gym parent

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bogwoppit

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This had to be stickied, so many members have no idea how much is too much, so here is a helpful test. :D Thanks MD and Marisposa

There is definitely a fine line between being a "steering/pushy parent" and an "overbearing/over-involved parent". Of course all parents want to be involved with their kids activities so that they can be guided in a safe and nurturing direction. And of course us parents will be the ones getting them up early in the morning, driving them to practice and paying the bills. All of those things are necessary for the child to be able to participate in the sport. But, unfortunately, we also have all seen those parents that cross over into the "obsessive/overbearing parent".

If you can't tell if you have reached that threshold, take this quiz:


A Parent’s Questionnaire
Dr. Alan Goldberg
Competitive Advantage
Take this questionnaire to see if you’re doing everything possible to help your child have a successful and healthy sports experience.​
Answer each question with a 1, 2, 3 or 4.
1 = never true; 2 = occasionally true; 3 = mostly true; 4 = always true.

1) I get really frustrated and upset when my child performs below his/her capabilities.​
2) I give my child critical feedback on his/her performance after each game.

3) If I didn’t push my child, he/she wouldn’t practice.

4) If my child doesn’t excel and win, I see very little point in his participating in the sport.

5) I can be very critical when my child makes mistakes or loses.

6) I set goals with my child in relation to the sport.

7) I think it’s my job to motivate my child to get better.

8) I feel angry and embarrassed when my child performs poorly.

9) The most important thing for my child’s sport participation is that he/she have fun.

10) I get really upset with bad calls by the officials.

11) Most coaches don’t know what they are talking about.

12) I keep a performance log/journal/statistics on my child’s performance so we can monitor his/her progress.

13) I feel guilty about some of the things I say to my child after he/she plays.

14) I try to watch most practices so that I can correct my child when he makes mistakes.

15) When my child fails I can feel his pain and disappointment.​
16) I think it’s important that my child gets used to having coaches yell at him/her to help prepare him/her for life.

17) My spouse and I argue about how I treat my son/daughter in relation to his/her sport.

18) I try to help my child keep his/her failures and the sport in perspective.

19) I’m never very concerned about the outcome of my child’s game/match/race.

20) I will not allow my child to be put down or yelled at by a coach.

21) If my child wasn’t so defensive when it comes to my feedback, he/she could become a better athlete.

22) It’s not my job to evaluate or criticize my child’s performances.

23) I feel that my child owes us a certain performance level given all the sacrifices we’ve made for him/her.

24) I believe my child’s sport belongs to him/her and not to me.

25) I just want my child to feel good about him/herself and be happy when he/she plays.​
SCORING
Add scores for questions #1-8, 10-14,16, 17, 21 & 23. (If you answered question #2 with a “mostly true” you add 3 points to the total score.) Subtract scores for questions #9, 15, 18-20, 22, 24, & 25.​
INTERPRETATION
The higher the score, the more potential damage that you are doing to your child. High scores indicate that you are playing the wrong role on the team and if you continue, you will increase the chances of your child burning out, struggling with performance problems and dropping out. Low scores mean that you are on track and doing the things necessary to insure that your child has a positive and life-enriching sports experience. If you scored a:​
60 – 50: You are doing everything in your power to seriously damage your child’s self-esteem, ruin their sports experience and make them a candidate for long term psychotherapy later on in their life. If you continue your ways, your child will most likely drop out of sports. If you force them to continue, chances are good that they will struggle with serious performance problems. On the off chance that they do achieve success, they will not be able to appreciate what they’ve accomplished. Finally, your long term relationship with them will be seriously jeopardized because of your lack of perspective and behaviors.

49 – 39: You are not being supportive enough and are doing too many things wrong. You are over-involved and putting too much pressure on your child. You need to back down, chill out and let them enjoy their sport. This kind of a parental stance will drive your child out of sports.

38 – 20: You’re OK, but you need some help getting unhooked. You need to be more consistently supportive and take less of a pushing/coaching role.

19 – 1: You are pretty much on track as a parent. You are positive and doing most of the right things to insure your child has a positive youth sports experience.

0 - negative 15: BRAVO!!!! You are truly a winning parent. You can give workshops to other parents on how to help your child become successful in their sport.
 
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10.0

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Ohh ohh can I please add if you take your 3 year old to preschool gym class while she has a double ear infection, a fever, chills and body aches and force her to stay even though the class runs 8 times per week and you may make it up. I think that one automatically gets you 100 points.
 
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NGL780309

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Ohh ohh can I please add if you take your 3 year old to preschool gym class while she has a double ear infection, a fever, chills and body aches and force her to stay even though the class runs 8 times per week and you may make it up. I think that one automatically gets you 100 points.
Seriously? You know someone who has done this? What about getting the other kids sick or the potential of them hurting themselves? When I'm sick I can't even walk straight much less do gymnastics.

I can say we had a new mom at DD's old gym who would brag about how her DD was so tough because she competed at cheer competitions running a fever and with strep throat. Yikes.
 
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lilgymmie7

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Can someone explain the total? For questions 1-8, 10-14,16-17,21,23- I scored 19, but then for 9,15,18-20, 22, 24-25 I scored a 25. Am I supposed to subtract 25 from 19? Am I in the negative?
Seriously, as I read these statements I caught myself saying, "Seriously? Do some people really think yes to this?" etc.
I get upset when my kids get upset, for instance cry, at any of their events, but I do so because I am overly concerned with their psyche. I don't want a loss or a win to go too far into their heads and cause a negative impact..
This weekend, I went to a meet with DD because I wanted to show her the importance of being there to support your teammates. Little DD felt it was important on her own because as she said, " Mom, it's Cate's first level 5 meet. You want to know who never competed yet...?"
I know she gets it, but Wow, did I hear some negative comments coming from parents. Some from DD's team. A parent actually said, "Man, I hate this meet!" I can imagine what her DD was picking up on. Bog, in order to keep sane through it all, I have to believe that some parents really may not pick up on their own negativity.
One thing is for sure, at all costs, my child will learn positives about being in this sport and any sport she may do later. Those positives have to come from me! End of story!!
 
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lilgymmie7

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About the scoring- I am either slightly math deficient or just brain dead from being in an all day seminar. Thanks for the explanation of the scoring!
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
About the scoring- I am either slightly math deficient or just brain dead from being in an all day seminar. Thanks for the explanation of the scoring!
I ended up being in the negative as well. The way I read the scoring was to add up the first half and then subtract the second half from that. I am assuming that scoring in the negative means that we are very supportive and have an ideal way of dealing with kids and sports--that it should be fun (because they are kids after all) and that it is their sport to learn and grow from.
 

MdGymMom01

Active Member
Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
After looking at the scoring explanations closer, you can see that the last category reads 0-15 (which I think means -15 to 0). The previous scales go in number order except for this last category:

38 – 20:
You’re OK, but you need some help getting unhooked. You need to be more consistently supportive and take less of a pushing/coaching role.

19 – 1:
You are pretty much on track as a parent. You are positive and doing most of the right things to insure your child has a positive youth sports experience.​
0 – 15: BRAVO!!!! You are truly a winning parent. You can give workshops to other parents on how to help your child become successful in their sport.

So this last "Bravo!" category will contain some negative valued results (like mine and lilgymmie7's).
Hopefully, this makes the explanation a bit clearer.​
 
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hakunamatata

Member
Aug 31, 2010
163
This is a great post! I love the "13 Steps to Being a Winning Parent." My parents followed all of those while I was competing, and I am eternally grateful. Gymnastics is competitive and stressful enough, and I was always the kid who put too much pressure on herself. I could see that getting out of hand if my parents hadn't always stressed effort over winning, even when I WAS winning. They never got caught up in that. Thanks mom and dad!
 
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lilgymmie7

Guest
After looking at the scoring explanations closer, you can see that the last category reads 0-15 (which I think means -15 to 0). The previous scales go in number order except for this last category:

38 – 20:
You’re OK, but you need some help getting unhooked. You need to be more consistently supportive and take less of a pushing/coaching role.

19 – 1:
You are pretty much on track as a parent. You are positive and doing most of the right things to insure your child has a positive youth sports experience.

0 – 15:
BRAVO!!!! You are truly a winning parent. You can give workshops to other parents on how to help your child become successful in their sport.

So this last "Bravo!" category will contain some negative valued results (like mine and lilgymmie7's).
Hopefully, this makes the explanation a bit clearer.​
Thank you for the explanation!
I have heard some over the top parents, and I can't help but really feel for them. There has to be something psychologically missing in their lives. I am such a believer in seeking help at every avenue, even when that means counseling. But, I guess that is a different post altogether. Life is really too short for complications.
 
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Tumblequeensmom

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Feb 19, 2007
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Oh my gosh... I think we've all had experiences with parents bringing their SICK kids to gym practice! As if they're giong to get anything out of it when they feel so bad. I have gotten so upset w/parents who give their kids tylenol before practice and amazingly they get their fevers back right in the middle of practice!!! And then there are the ones who throw up, but they told mom they didn't feel well... so then the whole gym has to stop while someone cleans up the vomit... .c'mon people, get real!
 
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Pickle's Mom

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Because I am a total dork, I actually turned this into an excel spreadsheet that does the scoring for you. Is there anyplace on CB that I can upload this as a document?
 

bogwoppit

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I don't think so, I think you would have to load it onto something like yousendit.com and then put the link here for people to follow and download. That'd be helpful, some folk REALLY need to do this test, snigger!!!
 

mtbmom

Member
Feb 28, 2008
308
Bethlehem, PA
Thank you Bog for posting this. I know at our old gym where so much was wrong, it was making me nuts. I went to a LOT of practices because she was treated much worse when I wasn't there. I definitely would put undue pressure on her because of MY frustration with the lack of coaching she was receiving. This did NOT help her at ALL! And as we all know, made tough situation for her even worse.

I think another question should be "how often do you attend your child's practice?"

At our new gym, parents aren't allowed to attend practice and both me and my daughter are very happy with this arrangement. We are so much more relaxed when she tells me how her practice was. It took time to reach this level of relaxedness (my new word) but we are there now and I never want to go back to the way things were.

Thanks again for posting this. It is an important message.
 
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Panda-girl's Mom

Active Member
Jan 9, 2008
781
I feel better knowing I scored a 2 sometimes I wonder if I am a nonsupportive parent because I do not get mad at meets if the scores or low and I never watch practice.
 

mumoftwogymnasts

Member
Proud Parent
May 30, 2010
293
At work of course...
I took the quiz and was in negative numbers... whew ;)

I think another question should be "how often do you attend your child's practice?"
I personally really struggle with this one. DD's training sessions are two hours long, we live a forty minute drive away. One session a week she is dropped off by another parent (due to my work commitments) and obviously I don't watch.
The rest of the time I do stay at the gym. I can't justify the petrol costs to drive back home and only be there for forty minutes before leaving again. Some of the time I run errands, but often I have nothing that needs to be done and there is only so much time you can spend aimlessly wandering around the shops.

I do tend to have my head buried in a book or paperwork a lot of the time, but I am right there on the edge of the floor (small gym, no waiting area/office or parent room). Until I joined the CB I never considered it a problem, I watch ds practice soccer all the time, but now sometimes I wonder if she would be better without me there? Certainly there is a lot of opinion that suggests I shouldn't be there. Does this push me over to the problem parent? I hope not....
 
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gymnut1

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I think one of the questions is do you watch your child every practice - not are you there. Lots of people don't go home because it is too far.
 

bogwoppit

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I feel better knowing I scored a 2 sometimes I wonder if I am a nonsupportive parent because I do not get mad at meets if the scores or low and I never watch practice.
I don't care about scores and I only ever see her do gym 3 times a year at her meets. When I say it's her sport, I mean it! I think you have a great balanace of being concenred about her being active and fit and letting her manage her sport. YOu are one of the moms who I think has come a very long way since your first pists here. I can still remeber your little L4 who wasn't wuite ready, and she has made it to L6. Yay mom!
 
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I don't think it matters how often you watch practice but more why you are doing it. Driving distance, short class time, and having a very young kid are all acceptable reasons. I have actually had preschool class parents drop their kids and leave, I was the only coach to 6-8 kids and if that kid need to go potty or something it causes huge problems.

Now if you are watching every move, coaching your kid, and pointing out your kids mistakes to them that is a problem.
 
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