For Parents question about quitting

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emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
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My 4.5 year old has just started back in the last 2 months into gymnastics. He was a precocious kid, throwing cartwheels 2 years ago, etc. Enjoyed preschool gym and free play. He was kicked out of mommy and me a year early because they were afraid of liability and they wanted him in a preschool mixed gender class. He's well behaved but was attempting gymnastics they were not comfortable with during free play. He did a year in the coach-led classes but consequently he quit gymnastics from about ages 3.3-4.3, but for most of that year he got 1-3 hours of gym free play at other gyms.

Then he asked to go back.

My feeling was that rec would not go over well -- when he initially "quit" gymnastics, I put him in a big-boy intro class (ages 5-7 and he was 3) thinking he would like that. He did a trial class and did ask to enroll, but as soon as I paid he refused after the next class. So I still think it was partially that rec was a bit unchallenging in his age group, and partially that he was just done with coaching back then.

Since pre-teams around here do not take boys until about age 6, I put him in a tumbling program. He liked it, so we signed up. He is now supposed to go 3.5 hours a week.

Constantly with the whining. Why? Well mainly, too many assisted back handsprings (that is to say WORK). Also outrageous complaints: "I don't want to go back!!!" "Why?" "They didn't give me any birthday cake!!!!!!!!!" (referring to cheerleader's birthday party going on in gym during his workout)

It seems silly to make him go (at age 4.5), but I don't feel comfortable letting him quit.

(1) He asked for it. Now, I know he's 4.5 but developmentally he's a bit older. Give him 5 at least. I was OK with him quitting stuff at 3. 4.5, not so much, given the evidence that it's a good thing in his life.

(2) He seems to enjoy practices, and I really should video them because you'd never believe it to hear him complain before or after. It's like I need evidence that he's lying. Here's the most recent example. On vacation I took the kids down to the only gym in the town (a tumbling gym) on a rainy afternoon hoping to avoid some deconditioning as they'd be out of the gym for 2 or more weeks. I took them to a one hour class at their level. Whine whine whine before. Enters class. Clearly having a good time. Rushes out of class, biggest smile I'd seen all vacation. "Mom mom!" Mom: "Did you have fun after all?" DS: (suddenly remembering he's supposed to hate tumbling) "Uh, a little bit. [BIG ANIMATION] Did you see my one handed cartwheel? Did you see my [I have no idea he's talking so loud and fast]?"

Now his "team" practices are longer, 1.5-2 hours, and after 2 hours he is not smiling and bouncing. But he does smile and bounce for the vast majority of the 2 hours while he's in there.

(3) It's something he's quite good at, though he does need to work like everyone. I think he'll be quite pleased in 2 months if he will stick to it, though of course no adult was ever harmed because he couldn't do a BHS back when he was 4. However when he's not busy complaining about tumbling, he's professing that his greatest life ambition is the RO-BHS.

(4) On the one hand, he's 4.5 and I don't expect a whole lot of work out of him. On the other hand, I'm not sure he needs to do next to nothing. He is home schooled so his lessons (which are K and 1 level) take well under an hour. He did swim team this summer but that's over. I may make him take swim / stroke lessons one hour a week and Spanish this fall. Other than that he is basically in non stop fun city besides having to hang around while his sister is in gymnastics. Which is often when we do his lessons so he can spend the rest of his day in NSFC.

Hmmm. I would really like the whining to go away one way or another, any thoughts? I'm sure his sister would love to spend his tumbling tuition on more gym hours for herself.
 
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gymgramma

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I don't know how to make the whining go away - other than to tell him that you can't answer him when he whines because you can't understand what he is saying. maybe if you do that each time he whines he will finally make the connection between whining and not whining.

I would make him finish what he has started....but I think I would not have him practice the whole time. If practice is 2 hrs, then pull him after 1 1/2 hrs or 1 3/4 hrs - leave practice w/him wanting more practice.

Even at 4 1/2 yrs you are setting a pattern for him that it is OK to not finish what he starts.....it won't get better as he gets older if he is allowed to quit now.
 
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emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
1,155
I guess I shouldn't call it whining all the time. It's better described as complaining.

I will talk to his coach about shorter workouts.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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I agree that maybe the practices are too long for him and cutting them a little shorter may help.

If a child is constantly complaining or whining(whatever you want to call it), then you need to sit him down and tell him that you put him in this class because you thought he would have fun, but his behavior regarding the class doesn't seem like he's enjoying it. Maybe he can explain in 5yo terms why he is/isn't. You could try the approach that if you get complaints when its time to go to class, then he simply won't go. This sounds a little like a power struggle between the parent and child. By not taking him to a few classes if his behavior at home is poor, he may get the idea of who is in charge. I went through some of this with my gymmie from time to time and she didn't believe I wouldn't take her to gym when she acted up before her class. A few classes missed and that was the end of that.
 

snowbound

Member
Jan 2, 2009
179
I agree that the sessions are probably too long for his attention span (I have twin 5YO boys, also HS'd, and I understand!) and I can see where letting him quit would probably set a bad precedent. I think I would go with a shorter workout, and maybe say that he needs to finish ___# of months before he is allowed to quit. (that way if he still doesn't like it you can let him out of it and still make it sound like your decision:rolleyes:)

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Snowbound
 

v1hebrews11

Member
Mar 16, 2009
61
It may be the strength that he dislikes. Gymnastics is fun when it's about new skills and routines, but when the kiddos have to get down to the drills and strength that are not so much fun, it takes a little more motivation and self-discipline to get through. He may need to be told that worthwhile things, like gymnastics, can be very rewarding but there are many times when we must push ourselves through the parts we don't like in order to make us better. I can't tell you if he is mature enough to work on such tough discipline yet. You as the parent must decide that. I don't let my boys start until 7 (I have 3), but in reality my youngest could probably already push himself pretty well at 5 while my middle son at 7, is not so tough. That is something you will have to evaluate for yourself, but if you feel he has the maturity, then gymnastics is a GREAT way for him to learn to push himself to earn what he really wants. It will be a good lesson for him - at the right time.
 
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cher062

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You know your kid best and know where he really should be but you have to ask yourself why is he doing this for him or for you? Is it supposed to be fun for him and if he is whinning all the time you have to ask how fun is it?

Yes you say he has talent but is he happy where he is? I know you don't want him to quit but knowing when it's time to let go and move on has its merits too.

He is only 4 and really doesn't know what he wants. children from 3 - 5 are very impulsive and like what they are doing at the moment. They don't see down the road. You have to decide if just enduring the whining is worth it.
 

emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
1,155
Thank you all for the advice.

I talked to his coach this afternoon and for now he's going to only work him for an hour at each practice. If possible he can choose to play after that on the double mini and TT. I think that will solve things. Son took the news without complaint HOLY MOLY. If not after 3 months I'll let him quit.

DD had a hard time transitioning into a "big kid" kindergarten lifestyle last fall as an older four. That's why I'll give it through October. Life hit her hard on the butt (about a month of going swimming every day and enjoying a few vacations turned into about 9 hours a week of organized activity). My daughter, who is a true delight, was a totally different kid for about 3 weeks in September, so much so that I took her to the doctor for blood work so I wouldn't feel guilty later about punishing a sick kid (fortunately she wasn't physically ill and she did recover fully). So while all of DS's K activities have not come crashing upon him, this big one started in July, and he's lost his swim team outlet.
 

emorymom

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Oct 10, 2008
1,155
Just an update, for some reason he did not release him during his 2 hour practice until maybe 1:45-1:50; at which point I pointed to my watch through the glass, and he let him go. But they worked extensively on front handsprings, and DS seemed pleased, though tired.

Did I mention one of the 2 weekly practices is 7pm-9pm? LOL At least it's not hockey.
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
2,236
North America
I would think that this is typical 4 and 5 year old boy behavior with the complaining and attention span and all. My son is now 7 and I am having a hard time trying to find an activity that he enjoys that he doesn't want to quit after 2 or 3 weeks. He did gymnastics classes when he was 5 and 6 and that was ok for a while, but her got restless, bored and would have to sometimes sit in time out for his behaviour. Then he said he didn't want to do it anymore. He did the same with drumm lessons--liked it for about a month and then decided he wanted to quit. I signed him up for flag football in the fall so we will see how this goes. It is a shame about his gymnastics because he is very strong and a daredevil but you need to be able to listen and follow directions with gymnastics so I am not sure if that is the sport for him. I am hoping that as he gets older, he will settle down a bit and find that activity that he really has passion for.

For your ds, I would give it time, he is only 5 afterall. Good luck and keep us posted!!!
 

mtbmom

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Feb 28, 2008
308
Bethlehem, PA
I would drop the 7-9 class and just take him 1x/week for an hour or so. I would think that's long enough for a 4 year old to keep interested but not bored or feel like they're working.
 

gym law mom

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Dec 23, 2006
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I would agree that the time of the class(7-9pm) may be the cause of alot of your trouble. My guess is your ds has been on the go most of the day and by 7pm is starting to wind down physically and mentally. Those hours would be tough for an older child to handle. Especially in the spring/summer I can remember both of my girls being outside playing around 7-8pm, but then it was in for baths and bed. He may feel he's missing some evening play time and just be starting into the evening cranky mode when this class is starting.
 
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