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When is a parent "too involved"?

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Billy

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In reading other posts, I began to wonder what constitutes a parent being "too involved" in their child's gymnastics. I read something somewhere that parents that "watch every practice and attend every meet" were too involved. Do you think this is true? If not this, then when does a parent become too involved?
 

Tumblequeensmom

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Feb 19, 2007
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Hi Shawn!

I attend every single meet (wouldn't miss them) and watch the last part of every practice. I don't consider myself "too involved." I feel that it's important to get to know the other parents, the coaches, and just be the "eyes and ears" on my daughter's behalf. Granted, she's 13, but I don't know if that age is easier to deal with or not! Anyway, what I consider a "too involved" parent (and have seen a few in my time), are the parents, who "coach" from the sidelines, tell their child "not to listen to the coach" but to do it "my way" (WHAT?!?! . . . that parent has been asked to leave), questioning the coaches on every thing that they do, etc. I'm there, but I let the coaches do what we pay them to do. I do think that getting to know everyone else does make the time commitment, money spent, etc. much more enjoyable!

-Lynn
 

Aussie_coach

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Watching every practise and attending every meet is not being too involved, what these parents probably are describing are some of the behaviours of parents in their gym that are too involved. Doing the above is fine it the the parents who try to coach their kids at home, wander out onto the floor without permission, are constantly in the coahes ear, make desicions for their child that they are capable of making themselves and push that are too involved.

As a parent it is important for you to be involved in your child's gymnastics career, they need your support.
 
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Billy

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I, too, attend every meet (I love them!) and I am at every practice. I sit through the whole 4 hours three times a week. My daughter is only 6 and I will absolutely be at every practice keeping an eye on her and be there is something happens. (Not to mention it's fun to watch all the girls doing so well!) I keep up with her scores at the meets and I'm learning everything I can about the sport. And I do try to help her at home (we've got a "mini gym" in our basement). I spot the skills I can, tell her when she's not pointing her toes or if her legs weren't straight, etc. However, as much as I try to help her, I would never second-guess the training she gets from her coaches. She tells me if I contradict something her coaches have said and I always tell her to do what they've taught her.

My daughter seems to have a talent and it's my job as her parent to provide her the opportunity to explore that talent. Its also my job as her parent to make sure she's safe while she explores that talent.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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I view the parents as too involved when it becomes more about what the parents want than what the child wants. I've seen too many parents push their kids because of the dreams they have for them. When my dd started I used to stay and watch a lot more practices - now I don't mostly because I can't - I have other kids in sports and am usually running all over the place. In her 3 years of competiting I have only missed one meet and it broke my heart but it was unavoidable. I try really hard not to push her or coach her at home - I really believe between school and gymnastics they have enough pressure. They need their parents to be their cheerleaders, not critiquing everything they do, imho.
 

Geoffrey Taucer

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I read something somewhere that parents that "watch every practice and attend every meet" were too involved. Do you think this is true? If not this, then when does a parent become too involved?
Absolutely not! I think it's GREAT when parents watch every practice and attend every meet.

I would consider a parent "too involved" when they start trying to play the role of coach.
 

Ingymmom

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Jul 12, 2007
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I agree with the OP's that said too much involvelment including - on the sideline coaching, questioning coaches on everything, as well as the coaching at home. (not to be confused with practicing at home - there are many things kids can safely practice at home if they like). I also think that bribing kids to get the next skill, or getting angry because a skill the gymmie had was "lost" for a bit (unfortunately, I have see parents get way to upset about this) is way over the top. I like to be the one to pat my kids on the head and tell them great job! - and leave the coaching to the coaches:p
 

gym mom

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Sep 8, 2007
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You have to stay involved in your child's live.My dd started competing L2 at 61/2 and I stayed and watched every practice ,She is now 8 L4 and goes 3x wk 2 1/2 n occasionally I stay through the entire practice but usually I just watch an 1/2 hr to 1hr a night I find it to be a good time to do my errands,also I tend to distract her she will keeping looking at me and I will point down to the coach .I have seen 3 types of gym parents the ones that are totally obsessed and watch most off the practices has a side line coach and totally go crazy when there dd does not score has high as they beleived thaty should have,then you have the hidden parents you dont see till meet time which have no idea what there dd is doing or not doing in practice whe have one girl on our team I have never seen her parents ,and then you have the parents that try to be involved has much has possible and no what is going on with there childs life and are happy and supportive if there dd scores a 7 or a 9 .
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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I came from a cheerleading background and the gym where we were this past year, there tons of over-involved parents. It got to the point where they had to close practices because the parents became so involved to the point where they were coaching from the sidelines, tapping on or yelling through the glass observation window, making comments about OTHER people's kids with their parent's in the room within earshot...I understand that there are competitive people out there but getting so competitive to the point where they are putting down other kids and criticising their skill because they want their kid to be better is just vicious and mean. All Star cheerleading is known for it's competitiveness and it can get ugly at times.

That is kind of the reason why I took my dd out of cheer and switched to gymnastics. In my opinion, gymnastics seems to be more disciplined and the parents understand that. At the gymnastics gym where my dd now is, their policy is strict but clear and to the point. They allow you to watch practices but they do not recommend it for the reason that the athlete needs to build that "athlete/coach trust relationship and bond". The athlete has to know that they need to listen to the coach and not look at the window for parents approval. I totally agree with this. I usually drop off and come back and watch the last 20 minutes or so of practice. I do, however, like knowing what my dd is doing at practice and what skills she is acquiring and what she needs to work on. The coach usually comes out after practice and talks to me about my dd and lets me know how she is coming along. So, I am happy with the communication between the coaches and parents so far :)

I also think that it is important to be involved and support your child with the sport and do the conditioning maintenace at home so that it complements and enhances the work in the gym. It is a delicate balance to maintain so that the child is not getting overworked but getting added strength and stamina. I DO NOT believe in spotting kids at home with tumbling AT ALL. I think that this can lead to injuries and bad form. I also think that trampolines at home are a definite no-no as well. We had a tramp at home and my dd was on it all last summer and her jumping on it and "playing around" interfered with her form in the BHS and created major problems throughout the season. This is just my opinion so maybe others have had better experiences than me regarding tramps?

This is a great topic for a post, Shawn btw!! I think it is great that parents are suppportive with their kids and love reading all the posts and ways that we can further help and support our kids!!!
 

Livinatthegym

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Feb 4, 2008
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Let's see . . .

Coaching from the sidelines.

Coaching during open gym (it's supposed to be play time)

Yelling at the kid for not doing well, falling, etc.

Catching the coach for conversations after every, single practice.

Pushing a kid to stay in the sport even if they'd rather move on or take a break.

Seriously planning an elite career before the kid is out of the primary grades. (We had one family at our gym that actually moved to another state because they wanted their dd, who was 8 or 9 at the time, to go elite. She's currently out for a whole year due to a serious overuse injury. She may not be able to go back at all, and she is not even in high school yet.)

Parents should be at as many meets as they can. Practices? Well, when they're short, sometimes you might as well stay, especially with gas prices the way they are. We've had parents who had to stay even when the practices got longer because they commuted from nearby communities (the next closest competative gym is close to 100 miles away). They'd bring stuff to do, though, rather than sit and watch. I think you're more likely to see the new gym parents sitting through the whole practice by choice. At our gym, none of the optional parents stay.
 
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Cross training also allows you the ability to vary the stress placed on specific muscles or even your cardiovascular system. [/FONT]
·[FONT=&quot] [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Cross training is also necessary to reduce the risk of injury from repetitive strain or overuse. [/FONT]

  • [FONT=&quot]Reduces exercise boredom [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Produces a higher level of all around conditioning [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Conditions the entire body, not just specific muscle groups [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Reduces the risk of injury [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Work some muscles while others rest and recover [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Can continue to train while injured [/FONT]
  • [FONT=&quot]Improves skill, agility and balance [/FONT]
 
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krazykidzmom

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I don't like to see younger siblings "living" at the gym while mom watches the whole practice. To clarify I am not talking about an hour rec class.
 

gymjourneymom

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I totally agree with you Livinatthegym! I've seen all of those situations also...are we at the same gym???LOL. I only stay to watch my dd practice occasionally & I ask her if & when she wants me too. Lets face it these girls work hard in practice...sometimes they struggle. Some practices are more productive then others. It can be stressful to watch your dd struggle with a skill. I find that the parents who stay for every practice tend to get "catty". They start comparing the gymnasts(not in a good way), etc. One actually had the nerve to "report" to me about my dd progress in a neg. manner. When I discussed the situation with my dd...the "observing" parent did NOT know what she was talking about & was spreading incorrect rumors. I find "those" parents to be one the most neg. aspects of the sport! My dd frequently thanks me for not being like "them". And she tells me she "feels sorry for those kids b/c their parents put too much pressure on them & they never get to just have fun". Wise words from a 12 yr. old!!! When my dd has something she's ready to show me then I stay to watch & cheer. DD is a level 6 state champion...so I know her & her coaches have a good working relationship and we all have open lines of communication. I write the checks, cheer her on & give emotional support as needed....but I prefer to stay out of the parental "cattiness" & let the coaches do what they do best...coach.
 
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Billy

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I do notice the "cattiness" of some parents. I try to stay away from that (I sit on the other side of the viewing area). But I truly enjoy watching the practice (especially the optionals girls who are learning some really neat stuff). It doesn't distract my DD at all and she often asks me if I saw this or that. And when she gets a new skills or does something particularly well, she'll give me a thumbs up, so proud of herself.

I can't imagine ever saying something negative about another girl. These are children, for heaven's sake! Who would do that? If I say anything, it's usually something like "Wow! Susie's dismount is really getting good!". I would be so mad if someone (besides the coach) criticized my DD to me.

As for practicing at home, DD practices when she wants to. I don't ever make her but I am always willing to go down there with her to watch and help out. But it is never a pushy kind of situation. If I weren't down there with her, she'd be down there by herself. And when she doesn't practice, she has plenty of other interests (including art, children's group and activities at church and swimming lessons this summer). But, gymnastics is what she loves.

And yes, her coaches know she practices at home. They also know that she has taught herself quite a few skills and this has contributed to her being able to skip L3 and train L4 and to her being a L2 state champion on both bars and all-around. They also know that I am very careful with her and do my homework to make sure that I tell her only the right things.

If watching her (and watching out for her) and helping her at home makes me "over involved", I guess I'm guilty. :D
 

momof5

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Oct 26, 2007
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I think that an over involved parent is one that is putting to much pressure on their child to be the gymnast thier parents want them to be. This could be different for each child. My dd is 6 and she wants me to watch every practice. She gets disappointed when I can't stay. If she makes the level 4 team next year there is no way that I can watch every practice but I will definatley try to watch some. My dd also loves to practice at home. If very low key and sometimes its just for a few minutes and she has asked me to spot her and I will. I don't think that that means that I am coaching her. I often correct simple things like straight arms and legs. Right now she has asked me to help her with her handstand forward rolls so I am trying to help her with these. She has also asked me to help with her backhandspring and I have told her no that I don't feel comfortable helping with these. Over involved personally for me would mean me telling her to spend time practicing at home, caring more about her score then she does, and questioning the coaches, and pushing her to improve. The drive to improve needs to come from her.
 
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Billy

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The drive to improve needs to come from her.
At home, my DD will not stop practicing until she gets something right, even if it's only once. Right now she is working on the cartwheel on the beam. She will try over and over and when it's time to stop (bed, dinner, showers, etc) she is always asking to do one more, until she gets it right. She hates to end any practice, even a short at-home one, on a mistake. Is your DD like that, too?
 
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Billy

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I think that an over involved parent is one that is putting to much pressure on their child to be the gymnast thier parents want them to be.
I completely agree. There is a mom at our gym whose DD really doesn't want to do gymnastics but she keeps going because she wants to please her mom, and she's only 6! I think this is just sad. If my DD is ever unhappy and wants to quit, we'll be done. In fact, I ask her frequently if she's having fun. I tell her the "rules" are 1) work hard; 2) do your best; and 3) have fun. I'm also careful to tell her how I'm so proud of how hard she works, not of what she can do.
 
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flippymonkeysmom

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I think an important factor here is also the level the kid is at. When my dd was competing level 4 I watched more practices because they weren't as long or as often. Also because of that, she did a lot more stuff at home - because she wanted to and had the time. Now that she is in the gym for 18-20 hours per week and has a lot more homework she doesn't do nearly as much at home, simply because she is not home enough to. If she does anything she is on the trampoline. The only thing I ever tell her is that when on the trampoline to make sure she does things with good form so she doesn't create bad habits. As far as watching practices - yeah a lot of cattiness - but again I find it the worst in the compulsory parents. I think in that first year or two of competition a lot of parents have Olympic dreams in their heads for their kids and can get real ugly and competitive. Usually by the time the kids get to optional they have realized that there are tons of talented girls out there and they relax a bit (hopefully). If I watch at all it is just the last 10-15 minutes when I go to pick her up. And my dd too is glad I'm not one of 'those' parents. There are a few at our gym. Actually out of nowhere the other day she gave me the biggest hug and told me how lucky she was to have such a cool mom and that she was so glad I wasn't like some of the others.:D
 
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Billy

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I find it really sad that the cattiness of parents finds it's way to the kids. It's bad enough that the parents are like that with and to one another but when the kids know about it, that's awful. It must make it hard for them to feel like a team when the girls know this one's mom thinks that girl's vault stinks and that one's dad said so-n-so's beam needs work. That's just terrible.
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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Gym Mum UK made a really good point about gymnastics being like a marathon. It is really true. In a marathon you have to run 26 miles so you must pace yourself if you want to complete the race. Gymnastics requires learning so many skills on so many levels and does take many, many years to learn everything. If you think of the sport of gymnastics more as a journey of gymnastics and skills, then it makes the experence that much more enjoyable and enriching.
 
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