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My DD wants to quit gym

Chalkduster

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My DD is 9 and in L6. She has been doing gymnastics since she was 4. She has always loved gymnastics. Recently she “lost” her backspring in her round off backspring back tuck ...again. She also said a lot of her teammates are moving up to L7 and she doesn’t want to. She also says that gym isn’t fun anymore and she wants to try new things like ice skating and art. She is so young, I just want her to be able to look back at quitting or staying without regrets. I had her make a pros/cons list and talked to her about the different things she could do and still do gym. She said she would finish the week then I’m letting her have a two week break from team to decide; she will still go to TOPs twice a week though since she has TOPs testing this summer and in the event she doesn’t quit, she won’t be behind in that. She doesn’t want me to mention any of this to her coaches because she doesn’t want them talking her out of it. Any advice on if I should try a different approach?
 

bookworm

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She's 9 and she's not having fun with gym but lists other things she wants to do instead....you said it yourself "she's so young" so I wouldn't worry about 9 yo regrets about a sport she did for a few years. Let her move on as she's asking to do ...and don't bother keeping her in TOPS as you'll be wasting your money and her time...as a 9 yo level 6 who "lost" her back handspring, she's very unlikely to make National Testing (and again, the failing to do so won't be fun either) ...clean break, on to ice skating and art! Good luck.
 

Faith

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What bookworm said.

My youngest dd (10 year old) quit a few months ago. She was very talented, had a real chance at making a kind of TOPs equivalent. Part of the issue was the pressure on her to learn the skills, compete, keep on moving up.

She got to a stage where the skills weren’t coming as easy as they were, and she was having fears and blocks. I figured if this is happening at 10, in the middle stages, it wasn’t going to get better as the skills get harder. We also gave her a 2 week “break”, and she knew she didn’t want to go back.

So she switched to t+t. Is having fun, making friends, and it’s not as all consuming. She can have a go at ice skating, cycling, dance etc on her off days and see if there is something else out there for her.
 

Flyaway

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Oh I so understand what you're feeling. My dd also lost her BHS after years of doing it. I really thought she might leave it all behind. Instead, we pulled back, she moved to xcel for a season (thank God for that option!), took all backwards tumbling out of her routines and let her focus on doing what she does well. It wasn't a perfect season or an easy road, but she slowly regained confidence in herself and found joy in gymnastics again. She also spoke with a mental strength coach and after several heartbreaking months she is starting to go backwards again. Yay!

All that to say, I think you need to consider if pulling back and lessening the intensity would be an option and something that would allow her to continue doing the sport, without pressure. Maybe she really is completely done, and if so I think you need to honor that. My dd struggled so much with making a decision and I could see that she was not clear on what she should do, so that's why we chose the backing off route.

Hugs to your dd. I know this is tough!
 

Natasha

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I would encourage you to let her have a full break from gym for the 2 weeks- if she is complaining that it is not fun anymore, I doubt going to TOPS is going to help...sounds like she knows what she wants to do- let her go try other activities so that she doesn't have regrets of not finding another interest or passion earlier...
 

Gymnast734

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Let her have a complete break for 2 weeks, don’t take her to TOPs. For me that would ruin the purpose of a break. Also just be vauge about the break to her coaches, respect her wishes. This sport doesn’t last forever, many kids move on and are successful in other things and are much happier and have a lot more time. If she is done, let her be done.
 
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Gymnast734

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I forgot to add if she does decide to quit, have a face to face meeting with her coaches to explain so you can end on good terms.
 
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NutterButter

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Wow! It sounds like she knows EXACTLY what she wants. And her not wanting her coaches to know so that they don't talk her out of it speaks volumes of where she is with HER sport right now. Honor her wishes. Let her quit and explore other options. If she realizes she misses gym, she can go back (maybe not with TOPS but that doesn't matter).
 

3cats

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I think the word regret is an adult word as we look back on lost potential of our own lives. Every activity I did as a child I eventually moved on from and it opened doors to new wonderful parts of me I hadn't explored. When I stopped gymnastics, I got into music, when I stopped music I got my degree in Occupational Therapy. I can look back and wonder what could have been if I had stuck with it, but I wouldn't call it regret.

It will be hard the day my daughter decides she is done. It will shift our daily routine dramatically. But what new things will she discover in the process? Your daughter has a whole world to explore in her life. Many new talents and interests will emerge. Embrace change.
 

duyetanh

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Wow! It sounds like she knows EXACTLY what she wants. And her not wanting her coaches to know so that they don't talk her out of it speaks volumes of where she is with HER sport right now. Honor her wishes. Let her quit and explore other options. If she realizes she misses gym, she can go back (maybe not with TOPS but that doesn't matter).
This. Times ten!
 
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SMH

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It sounds like you have a 9 year old who knows exactly what she wants. ( I also have a 9 year old)
Give her the full 2 weeks off, no TOPS, no gymnastics. If by the end she is itching to go back, she and you will know. If she’s content and happier to be done, then she (and you) will need to be ready to move on.
 

lilymom

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My daughter and I had almost the same conversation a year and a half ago (she was same age, same training level too)
I ended up letting her quit. She talked to her coaches with me present and we moved on. She tried t&t and dance, went on to join the dance company and was happy with the time off. I thought for sure she would want to go back in a couple of weeks or not at all...at most a couple of months. She had also been doing gym since she was itty bitty and she was just tired of it, the commitment, the stress, whatever...it wasn't fun for her anymore.

Fast forward to now...she wants to go back...badly. She misses it and has been excitedly working on conditioning and stretching to get back in shape to try out again. The time off was great for her and I feel like she is going to be able to go back to this with a renewed sense of knowing that this is what she wants. She has grown a lot in the last year (mentally and physically) and I think she is going to be a very different gymnast now.

These kids know what makes them happy...to do what they do, they have to love it and when they don't, I say let them stop. She may or may not come back to it but she should be happy doing whatever it is she is giving her time, energy and commitment to.

Good luck!
 

Akl597

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Is it about moving up to Level 7? Maybe she is feeling pressure to get her skills, or just doesn't feel ready. What if you tell her it's fine to stay in Level 6? My DD is the same age and level. Last year she did not want to move up from Level 4 (our gym doesn't compete 5 so she would go right to 6). We convinced her to train 6 for the summer and see what happened. All the way through July she kept saying she wanted to stay at 4, which was fine with me, and it looked likely since she didn't have all her skills. Then one week she got her BHS on beam and her flyaway, and declared that she was ready to move to Level 6. She had a great year, is having a ton of fun, and already has most of her skills for Level 7. So maybe taking some pressure off would help. Or, what about switching to Xcel? My older DD just finished competing 4, was not enjoying gym anymore and was thinking about quitting. She moved to the Xcel gold team a couple weeks ago and is loving gymnastics again. And she's excited about being able to do other things like the school musical. Maybe there are other options to explore.
 

CuriousCate

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@lilymom said something that I try so hard to remember - they know what makes them happy.

When my older DD (just turned 9 and just finished L6) wanted to quit (ended up changing gyms after a few weeks off to process), another mom whose DD had recently quit texted me the following (I kept the message and frequently refer back to it!):

"It was tough to let A make this decision but it was a turning point for me as a parent to let it go. They are young but they are also at a point in their lives where they really don't have to answer to anyone but their own hearts. They know what makes them happy." I keep reminding myself of that. I also have to keep reminding myself that it is okay for them NOT to reach their full potential in every single thing they show talent in. It isn't fair for me to expect that of her anymore than I expect it of myself.
 

PinPin

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@lilymom said something that I try so hard to remember - they know what makes them happy.

When my older DD (just turned 9 and just finished L6) wanted to quit (ended up changing gyms after a few weeks off to process), another mom whose DD had recently quit texted me the following (I kept the message and frequently refer back to it!):

"It was tough to let A make this decision but it was a turning point for me as a parent to let it go. They are young but they are also at a point in their lives where they really don't have to answer to anyone but their own hearts. They know what makes them happy." I keep reminding myself of that. I also have to keep reminding myself that it is okay for them NOT to reach their full potential in every single thing they show talent in. It isn't fair for me to expect that of her anymore than I expect it of myself.
This!

A bit of topic, but I have just pulled my DD from a public school (she is 9) - not for gymnastics, but for her mental wellness. I know now that she knew that it would be inevitable long before I did. She is so much happier now. Thank you for sharing this!
 

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