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Non-gym folks just don't understand

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Billy

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How do you handle other parents/ grandparents who just don't understand the gymnastics world? My DD's grandparents are forever fretting about how much time she spends in the gym and how much pressure she might be under to do well and she is only six, after all, and she needs more time to just be a kid and doesn't all this take away from the other kids at home and a million other "concerns". I'm so frustrated and annoyed by the criticism! To their way of thinking, everything should just be a casual hobby until they're grown (how they expect anyone to ever raise any Olympic/Collegiate/Professional athletes is beyond me). Has anyone else run into this and how do you handle it?
 
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medic3188

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I totally understand. My parents totally do not get the sport at all. My dd had a meet last weekend and because she did not place they thought she is just not committed to gymnastics. My dd's coach thinks she is one of the most committed and focused on the team. They think she goes to much and now that I am not working that I spend too much money on gymnastics.
 
Jan 22, 2008
437
I am right here with you. My Inlaws just don't really get it and neither does my best friend. They are of the mind to let a kid be a kid untill they finally after 2.5 years of gymnastics my inlaws finally came and saw DD in a show. They at that point finally got the whole thing. My nephew who is a year older than DD was trying to walk on a beam and he didn't have the balance and in their words "DD has got true talent just look at what she can do and what an average 5-6 year old is susposed to do.

My best friend got into a pretty ugly fight about DD and her time in the gym. She feels that DD is starting a career in Gymnastics and doesn't get time to be an average kid. She doesn't understand why we try not to miss practice for things that they can do any time. I guess an example of this was Halloween. Our practice was on Halloween and we decided that DD would go to practice and IF she wanted to when we got home she could go trick or treating. Mind you we took her and DS to Walt Disney World and to Mickey's Halloween party earlier in the month so we flet she had adaquate celebration. Any how I tried to explain that the commitment to the sport was higher and well that just blew up in my face. Now that topic is off limits and we just don't discuss anything gymnastics realated.
 
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Billy

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I'm thinking it may come to that with my folks. For awhile now we've (my DH, DD and myself) have been working out where to go from here (changing gyms, changing levels, etc). I thought we had worked it out but then DD started talking again about moving up and so the whole can of worms has opened again. We'll make a decision over the next few weeks and then things will settle down again. But, maybe I need to just not discuss DD's gymnastics "career" (hehehe.... the idea of a 6-year-old with a "career" that doesn't involve nap time and the playground is just laughable) with my parents. This wouldn't be the first subject that was "off limits".
 

bogwoppit

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Feb 26, 2007
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My only answer to people who "don't get it" is that my girls loves to go to gym, refuse to miss gym for other events and beg me to schedule trips when there are no meets, and my girls are not winning every medal there is!!! More than that when my oldest was injured and could do no gym for a long time, she was devastated, she missed her coaches and her friends, they are like a whole other family to the girls. The coaches know my girls so well, always notice when something is wrong and ask.

IN the end only another parent of a gymnast will understand, the other just nod and smile politely too, don't engage.

It's a bit like all that parenting advice you were given when your had a newborn, smile, ignore and change the subject.

If it's the grandparents, why don't you let the little one tell them how much she loves to go to gym and how strong and healthy it make her. My little one loves to do more push ups that any boy in her school during their yearly fitness test!:D
 

Livinatthegym

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Feb 4, 2008
204
Region IV
Acknowlege that they're right? Ok, sounds crazy, but admit that yes, the gymnastics world takes away a lot of time to just be a kid. Yes, the gymnastics world puts a lot of pressure on kids (even 6 year olds if they compete). And yes, having one kid in gymnastics means less time for the others. Then tell her why you're doing it anyway.

My mom said a lot of the same things, except that part about one child getting all the glory because both do gymnastics. So, I would tell her that we would walk out of the gym the day either kid said they didn't want to be a gymnast anymore (or at the end of the season should they already be competing - you've got to finish what you start). I would tell her that we always would have other activities going on so that gymnastics would not be all the kid knew. (Hard to "pick" gymnastics if you really have no choices.) Then I'd remind her that with more than 1/2 of the girls out before they compete level 6, it was unlikely that gymnastics would commitments would stretch for years (of course, both of mine have stayed in and are competing optionals).

Then, we have to agree to disagree.
 

Bay Valley

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Jan 2, 2008
104
Bay City, MI
I think we have all heard this before! I hear it is to far away to drive a kid, what a waste of money, she has no life, and more! I tell them that she has a dream and I never got the chance to do my dream and my daughter is getting that chance!
 

mariposa

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Sep 25, 2007
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I don't get any of that yet, but am sure I will when DD moves to team. I have a standard response to most advice and comments I get about things I have chosen to do as a parent. (And there have been MANY :D , was planning a homebirth/used midwives instead of doctors, extended breastfeeding/child led weaning, co-sleeping, babywearing, using alternative medicine more than western medicine, using cloth diapers and most recently homeschooling.)

My response is "I don't try to convince you to do the things that I do and I certainly don't appreciate you trying to tell ME what to do." If that doesn't work and they are respectfully trying to argue with me (if they are rude, I ignore them or walk away) I tell them that I have researched both sides of the issue, the PROS and CONS, and have chosen what is right for my family and that we will just have to agree to disagree. I have lost friends over some of my decisions. Life goes on.

I do understand the concerns about gymnastics. I have had/still have them myself. It is hard to understand unless you are in the situation and for me, still hard to totally understand. Just like many life situations. I don't go around telling people to do what I do, they better not try to tell me what to do. I really do understand their concerns though and think that most are truly concerned about the risks of competitive gymnastics. And of course there are those that just never know when to shup up. LOL.

I am always a bit of an outsider in mainstream life, so I am used to it. LOL. I have developed very good selective hearing. :D

I also usually will concede some point of theirs and give them reasons that I am okay with whatever that point is. Makes them think they have somehow won. LOL.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
So far I have been blessed. My parents are very supportive - I did gymnastics as a kid (never competed but from what I see at gym I was about a level 4 / 5). They have seen her first hand. She never stops. She is ALWAYS upside down !!!! she cartwheels or roundoff's through the house, always wants to put on music and make up routines - won't start w/o my 'judges salute'......... my husbands parents live across the country and really don't get involved :(.

As for friends - her best friend (6yr old) is taking a break from gym, but her parents completely get it - dad was a professional body builder, mom was a very talented ballerina as a kid. Our other friends from the neighborhood - one of them both her sons just stopped taking classes at the gym (they were in my ds class) and she saw first hand that after 3.5 hours at the gym I had to have a coach carry my dd out angry that she had to leave and could not take yet another class. Other mom I am friends with - her son is still in ds class - same thing - she sees it so she knows we are not pushing and that at the moment is is dd's love of gym that keeps her and us there.

DD does occasionally say she does not get time to play with her bf, but that usually only comes up the week preceding a meet when she has gym every day instead of 3 days. But even when they play they are usually both in leo's doing some sort of gym !!! If she stops having fun, she can go back to a rec class or stop all together.

Can't explain everything to every one. I believe that if they could see the kid there at the gym or spend time w/ them at home ( to see that it doesn't stop at the gym - at least w/ mine) they might understand better.
 
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Billy

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My parents have seen her at practice and do come to some of her meets. They've also seen her at home and on the trampoline. They know how much she enjoys doing gym. What they don't understand is the search for the "right" gym, the need to make a change when issues arise and the importance of these decisions. They don't understand why she can't just go to some gym and take some classes or be on their team and that be that. They don't get that there is so much more to this sport and that, at the competitive level (no matter how low a level), it is not a casual undertaking like starting piano lessons or playing t-ball.
 

lagymmom

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Jan 21, 2008
51
Amen!

My parents have seen her at practice and do come to some of her meets. They've also seen her at home and on the trampoline. They know how much she enjoys doing gym. What they don't understand is the search for the "right" gym, the need to make a change when issues arise and the importance of these decisions. They don't understand why she can't just go to some gym and take some classes or be on their team and that be that. They don't get that there is so much more to this sport and that, at the competitive level (no matter how low a level), it is not a casual undertaking like starting piano lessons or playing t-ball.

This is so true! Most people believe that if a person is very talented in gymanstics, then why can't they just go anywhere and "get it". They don't understand the need for the best coaches and training facilities and long hours spent in the gym.
 
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Billy

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Oh, and the newest... "if she's so talented, she'll still be talented when she's older. She'll be better able to know what she wants when she's 10 or 12. Why can't she wait and do it then?" I've tried to explain that in regards to college or elite dreams, starting at 10 or 12 is too late, that there just plain isn't time to learn all the skills that quickly. But, to no avail. Non-gym folks just don't understand.
 
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gymgramma

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What we have discovered over the years is that the friends complaining about how much time my granddaughter spends in the gym are either:
- those whose children are "couch potatoes" or
- parents that don't "have time" for anything that "involves" their children. Their own personal activities take precedence over their kids.
 

momof5

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Oct 26, 2007
375
I don't get the comments on time but I always hear from all my siblings and parents about the cost. They can't believe the amount of money I spend on this sport already and she won't even be on team until next year. I try to stay pretty mum on actual expenses that will go into being on team because then I will hear less negative feedback.
 

hunde2

Active Member
Nov 5, 2007
664
I usually do not get to wrapped up about what people say until one day one of my coworkers was asking how my daughter did in her last competition.The meet was about 5 hrs away from home and we had to spend one night there.I told my coworker it did not go so well and told himthe scores.His responce was,"boy that is a moneypit".I could not believe what I just heard,considering his kids do Sports too.
 
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Billy

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The expense is actually the one thing nobody has commented on. I do get the guilt trip about spending so much time at the gym with my daughter rather than with my two sons. I just try to make it up to them in other ways and my husband is home with them on practice nights. It's not like they're totally neglected.
 

catesmom

Member
Nov 9, 2007
220
Illinois
Now that my dd is 12 I don't feel as bad about the money as I used to. All those parents who were shocked at the cost of gymnastics are now shelling out big bucks for travel soccer and travel basketball, not to mention the cost of three different kinds of dance shoes and 4 or 5 costumes a recital. Then theres the competetive cheerleaders, and the baton twirlers and their trips across country.

Our children started earlier because of the nature of the sport, but the rest of the world, (at least around here) are catching up fast. I honestly have to bite my lip HARD when some of the parents who couldn't understand the time spent at the gym, now tell me the trials they are put through with their kids teams. Running them to mutiple practices, because the basketball players,the soccer players and the volleyball players, play for their school and then also play on the town traveling team. Then theres also the time the parents have to spend working at the games, heheheh, It warms my Gymmom heart.
 
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momofagymmie

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When my DD first started we got lots of comments. Mostly from friends not relatives or parents. I actually had one parent ask me why I push my dd to train so much! As if i could keep her away from the gym... They all ask well what about school and homework. How does it all fit in? I just wonder how any of this is any of their business anyway. I smile and say it all gets done and she's really happy doing it all.
 
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Megley

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I've been relatively lucky in this regard. I was a competitive swimmer and spent my childhood training at least as many hours in the pool as my daughter does gymnastics. My parents were supportive because they knew it was what I wanted to do - and they now realize the same about my daughter. My in-laws get it even more - they are the parents of two former college gymnasts! Kids are starting serious sports younger and younger these days. I totally agree about the travel soccer, travel basketball, and would include swimming, dance, anything that child is passionate about. I honestly haven't had anyone say anything negative to me about the hours.

Meg
 
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