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Gymx2

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I will also add that I pulled my daughter from an abusive gym and the head coach's behavior at meets absolutely raised red flags with people watching (I later learned from parents from other gyms and coaches who witnessed the behavior). Parents and kids are so often conditioned to accept this abuse and it grows with them as the athletes continue through the levels- those coaches might have seemed fine at level 3- they just had high expectations for the kids and pushed them to be their best...and then it was just the way he/she is...look at all of the successful gymnasts they produce! So the coach is an *** at a meet- it's what they are used to. Sometimes outsiders eyes might see more than those used to the coach's bad behavior.
 
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Gymx2

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I have no first hand knowledge specifically about Azarian. or the coach in the posted video based on the 1:40 min posted.

I have more then enough knowledge about abuse.

its actually more cut and dry then you imply.
Every single parent is free to say.... yeah this is not right, not for us, my kid and my checkbook are out of here.

There are many parents who enabled this environment for whatever their personal cr*p is
Do you think parents are to blame when a child is in an abusive gym environment?
 

Flippin'A

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This is huge to me. Because I am consistent.

It is ultimately up to the parent ( oh and here will come more piling on).

When I first joined here nearly 6 years ago. I happened on this site for some minor question. Something along the lines of is it OK to miss the occasional practice.

And then I started reading, long before the Nassar days. The “Ranch” was Nirvana.....

And at my small gym my 8 yr old had a meet that would be impossible for us parents to attend. (She didn’t) And I started reading. Folks posting that kids traveled with just the coaches. Oh you could only use the gyms doctor...... And no they cant even call you while away....

And I posted whaaat these are little girls We are their parents, no way.
I got slammed all over. I was repeatedly told..... I didn’ t understand this was simply how high level elite gymnastics is. I was told I just didn’t understand. My kid would simply not even make it out of compulsories. This is just how it’s done.

It didn’t make sense to me then. Still doesn’t..

This will always come down to the parents.
Parents are not perfect. Most of us try to be, some don't. Some are naive, some have stars in their eyes, some are groomed, some just don't care. Regardless of the quality of the parent, children still deserve to be safe. Sometimes that means larger structures need to step in for their protection. Sometimes that means a safesport suspension, sometimes that means other parents and gymnasts speaking out to warn about questionable or abusive coaching. This removes the guess work of trying to figure out which gyms are abusive, and makes it so your child doesn't have to actually experience abuse for you to learn a coach's true colors. Saying you got a weird feeling from someone based on a short observation or interaction isn't worth anything legally, but it's certainly worth something to me as a parent when I'm picking my kid's next gym. I just don't believe there's anything wrong with that.
 

Gymnastics_parent

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Hi everyone, we are all trying to make sure we have a healthy sport for children, let's keep it civil.

I actually agree it ultimately falls on the parents. Our job is to protect our children and no sport or goal is more important. We need to be vigilant and look for signs of trouble. As Simone said about the USAG, it holds true for us "we have one job".
 
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Jazzjerz

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Parents are not perfect. Most of us try to be, some don't. Some are naive, some have stars in their eyes, some are groomed, some just don't care. Regardless of the quality of the parent, children still deserve to be safe. Sometimes that means larger structures need to step in for their protection. Sometimes that means a safesport suspension, sometimes that means other parents and gymnasts speaking out to warn about questionable or abusive coaching. This removes the guess work of trying to figure out which gyms are abusive, and makes it so your child doesn't have to actually experience abuse for you to learn a coach's true colors. Saying you got a weird feeling from someone based on a short observation or interaction isn't worth anything legally, but it's certainly worth something to me as a parent when I'm picking my kid's next gym. I just don't believe there's anything wrong with that.
Very well said and utterly logical.
 

ldw4mlo

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Do you think parents are to blame when a child is in an abusive gym environment?
Sometimes yes... they ignore warning signs for whatever reasons....But yes.
 

MILgymFAM

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Operative words conspicuously and whole team.

Different circumstances and situation. If it were my kid that could only happen once, we would of been gone.
It did only happen once and we were gone, but you know what? There were less conspicuous things, but in that vein, at every other meet too.. and I was trying not to see them but I bet that they were noticeable to people on the outside. One of my daughter’s old coaches came to a travel meet once to cheer her on (after we had moved away). He watched that meet and told me straight up that that coach wasn’t good for any gymnasts mental health. He watched the way he interacted, and the way the gymnasts all reacted to him, and he called it on the spot. And he was so right and I wish I hadn’t shrugged it off then and had her there for four more months.
 

Gymnastics_parent

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Sometimes yes... they ignore warning signs for whatever reasons....But yes.
Life isn't black or white, we live in a world of grey.

The reality of sports and coaches is complex and often difficult to know if they are pushing too hard or not enough. Furthermore, this is different for every gymnast. We as parents face this daily. What works for on child does not for another. We make choices as parents and need to be willing to change directions or step in and take action when it can be damaging to our children. Even when this means we were wrong or failed.

Remember, gymnastics unlike other sports is a short lived endeavor. Maybe the olympics but that is like winning the lottery. Even college, it is 4 years and then the education is far more important. Generally, if we can afford to pay tuition for the sport we could save it for college tuition. In addition, to reach this level they need to progress, stay healthy and continue to enjoy the sport.

There is so much our children can learn from the sport but we need to keep them safe on the journey.
 

MILgymFAM

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I didn’t get to edit, so I’ll add:

And he was so right and I wish I hadn’t shrugged it off then and had her there for four more months, but those months were my child begging not to pull her from the sport. She wasn’t five years old and she didn’t have a laundry list of options. It was a slower process than I would’ve liked in hindsight, but damn you’re judgmental. I bet almost every parent of an abused gymnast was doing their level best for their kid at any given time with the info they had and the experiences that were informing them at that time.
 

Gymnastics_parent

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I didn’t get to edit, so I’ll add:

And he was so right and I wish I hadn’t shrugged it off then and had her there for four more months, but those months were my child begging not to pull her from the sport. She wasn’t five years old and she didn’t have a laundry list of options. It was a slower process than I would’ve liked in hindsight, but damn you’re judgmental. I bet almost every parent of an abused gymnast was doing their level best for their kid at any given time with the info they had and the experiences that were informing them at that time.
It sounds like you were doing everything you could with the information available. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to process, make a plan and take action. We can't go back and change things so we have to learn, move forward and do the best in the future. I have seen your posts and you provide great guidance and wisdom to the community.
 

Gymnastics_parent

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It sounds like you were doing everything you could with the information available. Sometimes it just takes a bit of time to process, make a plan and take action. We can't go back and change things so we have to learn, move forward and do the best in the future. I have seen your posts and you provide great guidance and wisdom to the community.
I will add one of our experiences. We moved to a gym following some coaches. Our initial interactions (almost all) with the owner caused concerns but we stayed for an entire season. Several years later we learned the owner was arrested and is now banned from the sport. We learned really early that we could not just trust those in the system and needed to stay engaged.
 

ldw4mlo

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I bet almost every parent of an abused gymnast was doing their level best for their kid at any given time with the info they had and the experiences that were informing them at that time.
Sadly I have seen far too many a parent where it was all about them and not their kid. And that’s not unique to gymnastic. And I’ve seen far to many a story from athletes who confirm that..

Its naive to think all parents behave like you or I do.

Mean girls just don‘t happen. They typicaly have great role models, their mothers (parent).
 
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John

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I have been thinking about the athlete. I think the normal gymnast starts their journey very young. This youth is blind and wide eyed at the same time. They are eager and willing. A coach is their leader in the gym and their parents lead them at home, and they follow. As the gymnast ages and they begin to develop into who they will become they develop self awareness. This awareness is what causes so many changes in life and in sport. Some athletes become fearful while others develop aggression and desire, drive. This awareness seems to happen between 13 and 15. It coincides with puberty and the athletes desire to separate from parents. Maybe this change in life and body is what makes an athlete say to themselves what was once acceptable is no longer. Now the athlete has changed parents must change and a coach change as well. That coach and the athletes parents must be able to 'know" each athlete young adult and what style works for each athlete or young man or woman.

This is all obvious but to me it makes sense why the athlete that once saw nothing wrong with or accepted a coaching style or parenting style now feels the desire to separate from that coach and find something new.
 

ldw4mlo

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This is all obvious but to me it makes sense why the athlete that once saw nothing wrong with or accepted a coaching style or parenting style now feels the desire to separate from that coach and find something new.
And it should be obvious to you that that is not the same as abuse.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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My daughter's last coach - anyone watching at a meet could tell he was a problem. *sigh* And it would definitely only take one session. It wouldn't need a "let's go next weekend and see if he's terrible ALL the time." And after most of his team left at once, he started stalking them at meets in the attempt to stare them down and intimidate them. He is so gross.

I don't usually pay attention to other team's coaches because I've not been gym shopping during a competition season, but there is one who is a complete psycho. I mean, this is the Xcel team at a gym where Xcel is 3rd class, but yet, SO MEAN. MUCH DEGRADE. But I've also watched the parents of the tiny preteamers at that gym laughing at their tiny childrens' tears, so that's apparently the accepted gym culture. :(
 

gymjunkie

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You can't necessarily blame the parents, because most high level kids don't tell their parents what really goes on. An abusive coach will take it out on the kid the next day at practice (the day after the parent meeting). It only has to happen once to keep a kid silent and sometimes not even once, all they have to do is see it happen to a teammate.
 

Sk8ermaiden

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And sometimes if they condition the children from a young enough age, the kids don't even realize it's something of note that they should tell about. There were SO many things that happened at my child's first gym that my kid would tell me about, and I would tell the other parents about, and they would be shocked and disbelieving, but when asked, their own children would confirm it. The kids were 5-7 years old.
 
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