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Jealousy of other teammates

Tbrower

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Sep 13, 2019
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Hi,

My DD who is 9 is competing level 4 for the first time this year (first competition is in Oct). She loves the sport and is practicing 4 days a week 14.5 hours right now. The issue is during the summer she was chosen to train with the older optional girls and she loved working the harder skills and pushing herself. Now that school has started back the girls were re-grouped and her friend who is also competing level 4 is still training with the older girls and my DD is back with the girls her own age (all 4th and 5th graders). I have trust in her coaches and I know that she has some cleaning up of skills to do before she competes and she's where she needs to be. The problem is she keeps coming home from practice upset and sometimes crying because she sees her friend doing the skills she wants to be learning and considers her group to be "baby." I have tried to tell her to focus on her own journey and keep working hard and one day she can work those skills too but I'm getting nowhere. She tends to be a jealous personality so compares herself to others quite a lot. Does anyone have advice for how to get my happy girl back again and to get her to see she needs to only focus on herself? It doesn't help that we carpool with the other girl and she tends to talk up all the awesome things she gets to do at practice in the car. Any advice is appreciated!
 
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ausnat83

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That would be a hard transition for most kids I think, and admittedly one of the reasons I think a lot of gyms are hesitant to let gymnasts "try out" higher levels or groups to see how it goes. I think I would honestly just try to let her experience those feelings and work through them. Acknowledge that it's ok for her to feel a little let down by the change and even a little jealous. Her feelings aren't wrong, and she's not wrong to have them. Training with the optionals was exciting, and it feels good to be chosen to do something like that. And it can be hard to see friends doing things that we want to do, even when we want to be happy for our friends. That's something people experience at all ages. Talk about optionals as a goal to work towards - the experience this summer can be motivation when things are hard or boring or just not fun during the year- and show enthusiasm for her hard work, positive behavior, and accomplishments in her current group. She'll get to optionals, even if it's disappointing that it didn't happen when she wanted it to. And she'll process and move on from her disappointment, even if it doesn't happen when you want it to. ;) I'd correct unacceptable behavior (being rude to the friend, outbursts, inappropriate behavior at practice), but not try to "fix" her feelings.
 

Tbrower

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Thank you! I really appreciate the reply. I am going to do my best this week to be patient with the tears if they come. And you're right these feelings are natural for kids and adults. I am nervous about meets with her as well if scores dont end up as she wants them to and others on her team do better. I'm trying to not borrow trouble though and take this gymnastics journey one day at a time!
 
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GymDadWA

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My DD went through something similar, I bought her a bag of potato lays, had her put one on her shoulder, and told her "hey look now you have a chip on your shoulder". She did not get/appreciate my Dad humor.

We ended up meeting with the coaches and they explained to her what they were looking for, it mostly came down to shapes on fundamental skills just not being up to standards and that long run she needed her shapes to be rock solid more so than she needed to be practicing skills she wasn't using yet.
 
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Aussie_coach

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In some ways your DD is lucky to be in with her own age group. They spend so much time in the gym, most kids are closer to their gym teammates than any other friends. The girl training with the older ones is less likely to have the same positive social experiences, she probably isn’t going to going to sleepovers and parties with these older girls. Your DD will probably be able to do, and better social bind with her team. Why not point this out, and allow her to invite some teammates over etc to highlight the point.
 

Tbrower

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I love this point of view! You are absolutely right the optional girls are all between 12 and 16. My DD is very social and I do think atleast part of the reason she loves gymnastics is because of her closeness with her teammates. I will definitely point this out to her, thank you!
 
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ausnat83

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[
And you're right these feelings are natural for kids and adults. I am nervous about meets with her as well if scores dont end up as she wants them to and others on her team do better. I'm trying to not borrow trouble though and take this gymnastics journey one day at a time!
It's hard as a parent to remember (and put into action) that our job isn't to make sure they never feel disappointment or frustration or other negative feelings. It's instinct to want to keep our kids from ever feeling any pain or unhappiness. But, especially as they get older, we're there to make sure they learn that some feelings are unpleasant but they're not "bad," and they're not the end of the world. They need to learn how to experience them, work through them, and use them as motivation and learning experiences, while not allowing them to fuel destructive behavior choices. This is one of those times where gymnastics (or any sport could play the role) offers a learning experience for life in general. There will be disappointments in life, times we fall short of goals, and times we want something we don't have (yet) or something that isn't actually what's best for us right then. Our responses to those times are a big part of what defines us and our success in life. Trying to erase those times from adolescence (even when every parent instinct tells us to) does our kids a disservice in the long run.
 

Calimama31

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OP, that’s tough! We’ve been on both sides of gym jealousy, and “comparing.”
We live in a small town and My daughter is 9 and in level 8... while we are very proud of her success, the other girls in levels 7-9 ( we don’t have any 10s) are 12-15. Sometimes it’s hard for her and funny enough she has issues now comparing herself to the older girls! If they get something faster that she does or get higher scores that she does, I’m like, well they are older! But she can’t help it, now she compares herself to them, not to the other 9 year olds in the gym. She is successful at her level, but sometimes I think how well she could be doing in Compulsories at this age and be with the other littler ones.
Luckily most of the optionals girls are nice but a couple of them get very jealous of her! And get very mad if she does something “better” than they can, one girls tries to get her in trouble and take her turns on bars
I try to tell her there are always going to be people doing better at some things and people doing worse at some things, that’s life! But many girls who have the personality do well at gym are self critical. I’ve been trying to think about how my own actions and words could be contributing, Like am I comparing her to others too much, even in a positive light?
I really liked the first reply.
I think sometimes we do have to let them work through bad feelings and deal with disappointment and realize that this builds real character but it’s hard for us moms to do!
Good luck especially in the carpool! That’s tough.
 

Tmacs

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Also, in most cases, girls have better success and stay with the sport longer if they go a little slower in the move-up process. I think this year will give her great confidence and she'll probably end up in very similar positions in a few years in optionals with other girls who moved up more quickly. It mostly evens out at the end.
I struggled with my daughter being set to skip a level but then we left for the summer and she is just advancing one instead of two. She could definitely do the next level but I'm actually glad she's moving slowly and getting the confidence and having another year to be rock solid on the basics.
 
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