When jealosy starts to rear its little head...

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MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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Ok--I have a situation that I had a feeling was going to come but hoped wouldn't. DD had her first competition this past weekend and dd was the top finisher on her team. All the girls did really great for their first meet and I was really proud of how they were all very composed and well behaved out there. So coach has a little talk with them at practice (I heard this 2nd hand from dd in the car) and says how well everyone did and how proud she is of all of them. Coach also tells them that for all the girls who didn't get anything on the podium, to continue to work hard because they will be trying to take the girls spots who did make it on the podium. And for the girls that did do really well to work even harder.

Then dd's good friend (who finished behind dd in the AA) pipes up and says "Yeah--and I'm going to beat Dani!" Dani was a little upset by this because she obviously took it in a threatening way. Here we go...the jealosy is starting! :rolleyes: I guess you will find this at every gym and gymnastics is competitive so I guess it is par for the course. I told Dani not to worry so much about it and to continue to work hard and try your best to improve on the skills that need improving. I also told her that there is always going to be someone who is trying to "chase you". I said the important thing to rememeber through all of this is don't worry about someone trying to beat you but to try to improve yourself because only you can control your routines. I know that is hard to teach to a child because in reality, there is always someone who is going to be stronger, better and faster...it's just life.

If anyone has any words of wisdom they want to share with me it would be appreciated!!! They are such great friends and I would hate for this "competitive streak" to get in the way or affect their friendship.
 
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bogwoppit

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My oldest had exactly the same issue when she was Dani's age, my only input was...the only person you need to try to improve on is yourself. Can you do better, could you be prouder and did you do your best.

I have found that now the team is in their teens they are kinder, but those tween years were harsh. Setting up team mates that way is very ugly.

Dani should feel proud of her great work and should not have to be looking over her shoulder, she should only be focussing on the skills she needs to improve on.

GOod luck, this is a tough one.

The coach should've been smarter in choosing a way to motivate her group.
 

MdGymMom01

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Mar 5, 2008
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Thanks Bog--I think the coach was trying to be positive in saying that they all need to continue to work hard. She is a very positive and caring coach from what I know so far so I doubt that she would be like that. Again I heard this second hand from Dani so it isn't word for word...and Dani is a sensitive child so she may have misinterpreted some of what she was saying...

I asked Dani if the caoch said anything after her friend made that remark about beating you and she said no because they had to move to the bars. In my opinion that would have been the perfect time for the coach to tell the girl (and the whole group) that they should be focussing on their own skills and events and not to worry about beating your own teammates...

I guess I shouldn't worry about it...or should I speack to the coach about what to do about "competitive friends"?? I don't want to make a bigger deal out of this than it is, ya know??
 
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flippersmom

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At the end of one meet, my DD and I got the chance to speak with the girl who always came in 1st in her level and age group and her mother (my DD had competed against her for 2 years). I told her mother how we thought she was a beautiful gymnast (she was amazing!), and that my daughter often joked that was was going to do so good that she was going to beat this gymnast (not in a jealous way). I told her mother we absolutely meant it in a flattering way, because her dd was just fabulous. We had been speaking for a while and I felt comfortable telling her this. She was so nice, and said every gymnast had someone they looked up to, and that maybe someday my dd would be in the #1 spot, and if she was, her DD would be happy to shake her hand. She was just so nice.

Hopefully the girls were learn to be happy for eachother, and hopefully her friend did not mean it in a bad way. They could flip flop places back and forth all season. Maybe if you are close with the mother, you could just check-in with her. The need to know it that is one of potentially many many meets, and they need to celebrate eachother's succcesses and friends should do.
 
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NYgymfan

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Yuck, that sucks. If it were me, being the wise-rearend that I can sometimes be, I probably would have come up with a snappy retort on the spot.

I guess it is to be expected at that age though. In a way, it is a good lesson though. Life is competative even if its not fair or we don't like it. But a real athlete/student/whatever can accept not winning sometimes if you do your absolute best and try your hardest. Chances are you will win more if you have that attidude, and if you make fun of others for being better then you, its usually a sign of being insecure.

Congrats to Dani tho!!
 

starfish313

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Jan 4, 2009
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Well, I mean...in gymnastics when you make that move from recreational to competitions, you HAVE to be competitive. I think the girl who said she wanted to beat your daughter was probably not so threatening as just determined to do well for herself the next time around, because for the most part, even though there are teams, it's not really a team sport. Of course everyone wants the team to do well at meets, but each individual girl wants that number one spot on her own team...so without a competitive attitude, it's going to be a little more difficult.

I was a very shy kid and didn't really understand competition and "needing to win" until I was about middle school aged, when we realized how serious this was and how we all had the same dream, to go to the Olympics. That's when I kind of realized that it was every gal for herself. At meets, even major ones, I just kind of went along with it. My gym also wasn't so focused on competition because it was also a dance school and that's kind of where they put all of there energy. But when I was nine and switched to a more recognized gym, it's when it all came out.

My best friend at my new gym was my biggest competition. Our families became close and we'd go camping together, have barbecues, etc. Cassie and I began competing over EVERYTHING. I remember one specific conversation, where we were talking about baseball and she said she could hit a ball further than I could, and I said, no, I was the stronger hitter. Then she said "Yeah, I guess you would be because the fatter you are, the more power you have to hit the ball" - talk about an underhanded compliment! So I replied, "Oh, then you DEFINITELY can hit further than I can." We were ridiculous. But in the gym, our coach would use that to help us. He'd say something like, "Wow, Lauren...Cassie landed with her feet perfectly together!" and I'd become focused on what he said, and perfect it. She was the same way. We were the two girls always fighting for the number one spot on the team, and I think it's because there was a healthy competitive drive between us that drove our performance and our will to learn and grow.

Of course, there is always the ugly side...especially in petty preteen girls! I disliked a few girls at my gym because they'd make snide little remarks for no reason and making someone cry seemed to be a goal. I'm sure as your daughter begins competing more and more, she'll see this ugly side to everyone, but she should also know that it's not all bad, and using the comments of others can be a big boost in your own drive if you use them to better yourself instead of feeling bad about it!
 

MdGymMom01

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What a great story Flippersmom! What disturbed me a bit was that her friend didn't seem very happy with herself after the competition--she actually did great--got 1st on floor, 3rd on bars, 3rd on beam and 3rd AA--quite impressive if you ask me!!! There scores were seperated by only .15...so it was very close.

I am pretty close with the mother (we talk all the time when picking up the kids and get the girls together for playdates and stuff) but I also sense that her and her husband are very competitive when it comes to their dd. I do think that competition is good for kids because it makes them work harder and get better. I just hope that their friendship can remain strong and that they can learn to be competitive and also the best of friends at the same time.

I guess I can only be the example for my daughter and would so love for her to be the example in the gym of good sportsmanship, and a role model for other girls.
 

gymjourneymom

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Aaaah...the green-eyed monster has reared her ugly head! So sorry Dani had to experience that:(. But as we all know our girls learn many life lessons in this sport...dealing with jealous teammates is one of them unfortunately! I agree with what you've already told Dani & with Bog's advice(as usual). Discussions about the issues of winning don't come up much(guess no one wants to sound like a sore winner). But there are issues whether you win or lose. Jealousy can be a big problem. Nothing like having your BFF take the wind out of your sails!!! Just teacher her to be a gracious winner, as I'm sure Dani already is. And celebrate her wins at home as a family(& here with us on CB!)...b/c they do deserve to be celebrated!!! Our coaches tend to not acknowledge specific meet outcomes with the girls. They only speak in generalities. I guess as not to stir up competitiveness among the girls. They don't even offer so much as a "Congratulations". So I always make a really big deal out of my DD's accomplishments(new skills, meet wins,etc)...by toasting with sparkling cider & going out to dinner to celebrate. Because she should be proud & her wins should be celebrated(even when some little jealous teammate is trying to knock her off the podium!). You can't control how others treat your DD & Dani can't control her teammates attitudes(or their mouths, unfortunately). So work with what you can control & teach Dani to do the same. Celebrate Dani's wins proudly at home. I find our home celebrations make it a little easier for DD to deal with the teammate jealousy issues & non-acknowlegement from coaches, she experiences at the gym. Hope this helps...b/c from what I saw in Dani's video...her little teammates will be jealous for quite a while;)! Congrats again to Dani!!!
 
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MdGymMom01

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Awww thanks Gymjourneymom!!! I think that is awesome that you have such great home celebrations...such a big confidence booster!! Dani has always been a very gracious and humble winner and she has been in the "shadow" of many of her friends in the past from cheer and it was finally a nice change for Dani to be "on top" for once. She never talks about "beating anyone" just always trying to do her best. So, I think with that character about her she should be fine...it may just be annoying for her to deal with the jealous teammates--especially when they are rude about it.

The way I see it from Dani's scores at her first meet, is that there is plenty of room for improvement and she made some bobbles on beam and bars that are easy to fix. Plus..what gives Dani an edge, I think, is that she is a competitor and LOVES the crowd and performs rather well under pressure. Thanks to years of cheer experience!!!!! If she was allowed to make facials at the judges...believe me--she would!!!!
 
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gymdog

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I think it's also important to remember some kids at that age tends towards being sensitive and tactful, and some, well, don't. It's possible this other little girl said that largely without thinking, and didn't really mean to target your daughter in that sense, but had a thought process kind of like "we were close in AA at the meet > coach says we're working to "take" the other spots > I'll be working for her spot." I wouldn't necessarily take it as her resenting or not being happy for Dani, it might have just been a thoughtless conclusion at the time. A lot of kids don't understand the concept of "not being personal." You are unfortunately approaching an age where there will probably be some "mean girl" behavior, and as well as explaining about only being about to control your own performance, you might have to explain some of this and that she can only control her own reactions and continue to be gracious - and that in the end people will gravitate towards those who are friendly and gracious to all others, even if it seems like "mean girls" are temporarily pulling others into their orbit.
 

Panda-girl's Mom

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My daughter and her teammates are very supportive of one another but at the same time they compare scores and bicker back and forth at each other and then they hug and are best friends. I think it is best to just ignore the behavior and let them work it out amongest themselves. I would try not to make it a bigger deal than it is and I am sure it will blow over. The coaches at are gym do not really discuss scores but they do use other girls as an example like look how she does her routine with straight legs.
 

Granny Smith

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I believe that we have experienced some jealousy in our gym too. But, in our situation, I think it is more with the mom and it has trickled down to the gymnast. My dd happened to do better than her dd in only 1 meet last season, but that meet happened to be the State Championship and my dd became the AA State Champ and her dd came in 3rd. Even since that day, the mom barely talks to me and in the gym setting the mom will compliment every child in that gym, but not my child. Now at meets, it seems that child will cheer every teammate that is competing, except mine. Funny, same pattern. Luckily, the 2 girls do not train in the same workout groups, so I don't have to deal with it all the time anymore, but they are the same level.

Dd hasn't seemed to catch on to what is going on, but I have. What I do is to totally ignore it and not become the same type of person that this parent is. I cheer her dd on at meets and congratulate her dd when she does well - in essense, I just be the better person.


It was funny because at their first meet this yr, the girl was in the bathroom at the end of the meet and her mom walked in and said to her dd - well you really beat those "name of gym" girls. These were her dd's own teammates the mom was talking about. Just foolish, the mom didn't even know that my MIL was also in the bathroom. So, as usual, I know where this mom stands and just try to rise above. My dd just goes out there and does what she can do and if on that particular day she does well and finishes ahead of this girl, than she had a better day - nothing more, nothing less.

It's funny because dd's biggest competition at meets comes usually from her teammates. The way I look at it is, if they are going to do better than you at the meet, I'd rather they be your teammates so your team does well. Because let's face it, they were going to do better than her that day whether they were on her team or not - I'd just rather them be on her team.

I never say anyone is better than dd, I usually just say they were better than you at that meet or on that particular day. Isn't that really the truth, doesn't mean they work any harder than my dd, it just happened to be their day.

Edited to add, that while I try to take the high road, my dh is adding up scores to see what it takes for dd to beat this girl every meet! (Just added this so you know we are not perfect and dh is my evil side), but at least I'm trying....
 
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MdGymMom01

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Thanks Granny--your post puts a lot of things in perspective. I have told my dd that there are going to be some meets where her teammates will place ahead of her and that she needs to be happy for them just like she would want them to be happy for her. Even if some of the girls tend to be sore losers at times, I always tell my dd that she should rise above and be the example in the gym. I always try to look at each girls strength and compliment that because EVERYONE has some skill or event that they totally shine on. I think that is what is really important in the big picture of things. There is always going to be bickering and jealousy--it's just the age and how young girls learn about socialization and adolescence..it's just a tough stage to go through sometimes. The oh-so-lovely "tween years"!!!!
 

gymgymgymnast08

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When I was "in the tween years" I had friends who would be really nice to me and telling me how well I did if they beat me. But If i Beat them, they would be nasty.
Its not as bad now that we're older, but there is definitely some jealousy still there.
 
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GymmomOR1127

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Who knows exactly what this girls thoughts were when she said what she said. I agree with Gymdog that at this age (or any age for that matter!) some kids have tact and some don't;)! I also agree with Granny Smith on the parent sometimes being more competitive than the kid. Your dd seems to have a great attitude about winning or not, which is good, because honestly it causes them much less stress:)!

All that being said, I find that in our gym there are a few overly competitive girls, but for the most part they all cheer each other on and share in each others triumphs and griefs. And, I do find that you can practically match the overly competitive kids with their parents - if you know what I mean:rolleyes:! We have a couple girls that cry and throw fits if they don't come in first, I mean can you imagine how much stress that must put on them?! There are also parents that when you attempt to share a skill that your dd has finally gotten, they immediately have to "one up" her with some amazing thing that their dd did that was WAY BETTER than what your dd could ever do!

I guess we all learn to brush them off;)! Just be glad that we don't place so much on winning that it ruins the FUN:D!
 

gymjourneymom

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Who knows exactly what this girls thoughts were when she said what she said. I agree with Gymdog that at this age (or any age for that matter!) some kids have tact and some don't;)! I also agree with Granny Smith on the parent sometimes being more competitive than the kid. Your dd seems to have a great attitude about winning or not, which is good, because honestly it causes them much less stress:)!

All that being said, I find that in our gym there are a few overly competitive girls, but for the most part they all cheer each other on and share in each others triumphs and griefs. And, I do find that you can practically match the overly competitive kids with their parents - if you know what I mean:rolleyes:! We have a couple girls that cry and throw fits if they don't come in first, I mean can you imagine how much stress that must put on them?! There are also parents that when you attempt to share a skill that your dd has finally gotten, they immediately have to "one up" her with some amazing thing that their dd did that was WAY BETTER than what your dd could ever do!

I guess we all learn to brush them off;)! Just be glad that we don't place so much on winning that it ruins the FUN:D!
Couldn't agree with you more GOR1127!!!! There is one particularly competitive mom/DD pair at our gym. The mother is sooooo over bearing....my DD always feels so bad for this girl. We've always tried to cut this girl slack when she makes rude comments, etc. b/c we see how much pressure her mother puts on her to win. But this gymmie is turning out just like her mother. Sorry to say, this poor child is getting worse as she gets older and is firmly in "mean girl" territory. I know this is bad but...my DD & I have pet names for this pair....the tree & the apple;)! As in... "Mom you'll never guess what Apple said to me in practice today" or "Mom, the Tree was really yelling at Apple in the gym foyer after practice". This all stemmed(nice pun, huh??) from a discussion I had with my DD about this pair & how "the apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree". I know...I'm bad for allowing these nicknames...but seriously this is mild compared to what others call this pair. Poor girl doesn't really have many friends b/c of her & her mom's attitudes. I still try to be nice, to set a good example. But it's sooo hard...they are just soooo mean! So my DD & I are learning together how to deal with them...another gym journey for both of us!
 

gym law mom

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I wouldn't get too upset right now. I agree with a few other posters that since we didn't hear how this girl said she would beat Dani then not sure if she was just pointing out that Dani was 1st and she was 3rd, so that is the gymnast to beat or exactly what she meant. Tell Dani to take it as a compliment that she is being seen as a very good gymnast by her teammates.

Yes, as others have said the girls usually compare scores the week after the meet. We have 2 on my gymmie's team that like to "rub in" a high score, but I know that comes from the moms and so does my gymmie. She just ignores them for the most part and goes about her business, but yes once or twice last season it did bother her for a couple of days. After states, not a word out of them because even though they placed 1st/3rd in their age group, my gymmie had a higher AA in hers.

Just keep your ears open and if you or Dani pick up on more comments from this girl, you may want to chat with the mom(if you feel comfortable) or the coach. This may be just the fire that Dani needs to tell the coach to go spot someone else on the bhs---she can do it alone.
 

gymluvr33

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Jul 31, 2008
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Jealosy is always so sad. At my gym, all the girls in my level are all really close, and we just have fun at the meets. We will always cheer for each other, no matter how we did, because it is always worth it if another teammate it happy. We always tease each other at practice, though. If another girl has a really good bar routine, for example, we will always say how we want to "steal" her bar routine:p. Every once in a while, there is some jealosy, but we are all like sisters, and we work through it. (there are only 6 girls on our level, so it is a little easier, in my opion). Well, I hope your dd and her friend work this out. Good luck.
 

gymjourneymom

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gymluvr33...So happy your team is supportive of each other! That's they way it should be.:D
 
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TeamDad

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Hey, MdGymMom01

I finally put together a montage of dd's first meet and set it to music. I was definitely thinking of you and your dd when I got it together...you might be able to tell from my selection of songs. Anyways....I hope everything blows over soon. Maybe one of the things you can talk to dd about is to try to block out ALL distractions while she's competing...including an obnoxious teammate. Try and just stay focused and in her game and not let outside influences affect her emotions. Harder than it sounds, especially at a young age. One thing dd does is she blocks out everything when she's in line waiting to compete an event. She will totally ignore her teammates until she is done with her rotation. She will spend the time waiting visualizing her routines and executing them with good form. I think you can see her intensity come through in the video. We have to keep reminding her to smile:)

 
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