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DD wanting to give up gymnastics - will she regret it?

(27 Posts)
Rebi Tue 19-Aug-08 10:05:47

My dd is 5.5 years old and is very good at gymnastics. Last year she was put on a squad to work towards the 2020 olympics (I know, really surreal). She has now declared that she wants to give up. The last 6 months or so she has said this on and off but this morning (she was to go to class at 9.30 for 3 hours) she went beserk (she is a very stubborn child). She always seems to love it when she is there. Over the summer she has been doing two session a week for 3 hours each.

I don't want to make her do something she doesn't want to do but she is bound to regret in future not taking this unbelievable opportunity. I am not a pushy Mum and just want my kids to be happy.

Advice / experience please?

derelicte Tue 19-Aug-08 10:07:39

Don't make her go if she doesn't want to. She's only 5 fgs! Plenty of time to return to gymnastics if she wants to take it up again.

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Tue 19-Aug-08 10:08:14

my loved her dancing she got a place in one of the troupes and they were training her for competions and solos when she decided to leave. she is now very upset that when she goes backk as she has dceided to go back she wont be in the troupes or have an extra practise slot for comps.

id keep taking her if she seems to enjoy it.

belgo Tue 19-Aug-08 10:08:21

I would never push a five year old into doing a sport such as gymnastics for six hours a week unless she really wanted to do it.

Is there any way you can just cut her hours down? one or two hours a week?

The danger is, she'll end up hating it if you push her to carry on doing so many hours.

She's only five.

Rubyrubyruby Tue 19-Aug-08 10:09:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dinny Tue 19-Aug-08 10:10:08

3 hours is a huge amount of time to spend doing something she doesn't enjoy

can you just keep her going to a "normal" class of 45 mins a week and see if she starts to like it again?

Cappuccino Tue 19-Aug-08 10:14:09

is the 3 hours just for the summer?

in that case I wouldn't have a prob with it; I have friends with kids at football camp for longer than that over the summer

if it's for school time as well then way more worrisome

Lauriefairycake Tue 19-Aug-08 10:21:45

find out if she really does 'love it' while she's there because it may be more to do with something else, extra clinginess today/wanting to do something with you/others.

I would hang around discreetly to see what's going on and ask her immediately when it's finished today whether she enjoyed herself

Rebi Tue 19-Aug-08 10:27:22

Gosh thank you for quick replies. I agree with everyone.

Before the summer she was doing two evenings a week 5.30 > 7pm. She absolutely loves it when she is there. She is a very very energetic child. She needs the physical activity to keep her calm iykwim.

Seashells - that is my big concern that I let her give it up but then she regrets it in the future. She could go back to it but will never get into this squad again. They need to train now if they are to progress to that level. But I really don't mind if she doesn't want that for herself.

That is why I am so confused. I do not want to push her but at the same time I would hate for her to waste a real talent that she has.

ReallyTired Tue 19-Aug-08 10:30:56

I think its a difficult dilema. The training demands will only increase. For example there was a lad where my son used to go to gymnastics who did 16 hours a week. The boy was the UK under nine champion. I believe that Russian and Chinese children train considerably harder.

Prehaps you need to talk to her coach and see what they think or talk to other parents of children in the squad.

Rebi Tue 19-Aug-08 10:43:03

ReallyTired - the training will increase. The drive has to come from my dd I do realise and it does when she is there and she is so happy when she comes out of class. I do think it is very intense training but its what they need to do to get to a high level and she does have the capability and strength.

Thanks for all your replies.

LuLuMacGloo Tue 19-Aug-08 10:59:25

Agree with ReallyTired - why not talk to the coach? S/he will surely have experience of this. Then go on your gut instinct.

mumeeee Tue 19-Aug-08 11:52:33

3 hours is a long time for a five yrar old, If she doesn't want to do it then let her give it up.

ReallyTired Tue 19-Aug-08 13:51:08

I think that Rebi has to go with her gut feeling. Her daughter is very lucky to be so talented and the physical training she is having would cross over into other sports.

I suppose it depends a lot what Rebi wants her to achieve. I forced my son to do gymnastics at the age of five because his gross motor skills are very weak. Infact he used to have physio. My son hated gym with a passion but it did him the world of good physically. Admitally he only did one and half hours a week.

mymblemummy Wed 20-Aug-08 00:48:00

Rebi, you might find Joan Ryan's "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" a help in making up your mind, if you can track down a copy.

It is about American elite female gymnasts and skaters, and is researched by a reputable American sports journalist.

Having read it, I would think very seriously about subjecting any child of mine to such training. I don't think an Olympic gold medal is worth the sacrifice of your childhood. And the odds against getting that far are ludicrous in gymnastics.

Unless your daughter is passionate about it I would definitely cut down her training. Let her enjoy being the best gymnast in the school.

S1ur Wed 20-Aug-08 00:57:27

I think it is worth bearing in mind that children have many talents.

I could have been a contender (cue rambo music) I was a very talented gymnast BUT I didn't really fancy it so thankfully (I think) my parents didn't push. I was able to discover the other thigns I am good at, things I couldn't have explored properly if I'd been busy lunging and tumbling.

I would find different ways to exercise that particular talent if her current gym club isn't working well for her.

How about something a bit unusaul like circus skill camps, there's a few about the pace. Might spark off new enthuasiasm. Or free-runnning shock or dancing. But if she doesn't fancy it then don't push.

Gold medals are won by those who actually love what they do. Baby beauty pagents are won by those whose parents love what they do wink

twentypence Wed 20-Aug-08 01:03:19

I announced that I didn't want to play the piano any more several times over my childhood. My parents kept taking me for lessons.

I am now amongst other things a piano teacher with a significant amount of adult pupils who gave up as a child and regretted it enough to spend their own money on learning again.

Personally I would have taken her anyway - because it was already arranged and by not going she was letting her coach and team down. Then I would have let the coach deal with it.

I had the same with a pianist (only he wasn't particularly talented) and I advised his mum to tell him his lesson was booked and paid for and he didn't have to play but he did need to come and sort out what he was going to do. He said he wanted to learn the drums, I told him that as rhythm was a weak spot for him I didn't think it was a great idea, but wished him luck and told him to mention me when he was a famous and sought after drummer and wrote his autobiography!

I don't think that's what his mum expected, but him staying at home would have acheived nothing.

Earlybird Wed 20-Aug-08 01:52:52

Do the children have a chance to play/socialise at the training sessions, or is it all 'work' and drills?

My dd complained this year about swimming and ballet because they seemed too 'serious' to her, with no time for fun and larking about. Maybe your dd feels the same?

drivinmecrazy Wed 20-Aug-08 02:16:57

DD1 (7) is very 'talented' ballet dancer. Every one thinks she should go for royal ballet school associate programme. It is such a strain every week to get her to her classes, so know exactly what you mean. If she had no natural talent i wouldn't care, but i feel as if i 'owe' her the commitment. I have to travel miles every week, not to mention the bloody fortune it costs!
I take great pride in her talents, and sometimes I wish I could let go a little. She has just spend 8 weeks in Spain with NO training and i feel really guilty but she couldn't care less. But her teacher said before she left that she picks up the skills so easily (BITCH!) she will not suffer.
So maybe if your daughter is so gifted she would not suffer from a break from her training. My DD cannot wait to get back to classes next week, mind you it might mean a difference between a highly commended or a pass at her next exams.
It is hard to let go, but it is their talent and not ours, but I know how painful it is. (so much so we nearly didn't go a fantastic adventure)

twentypence Wed 20-Aug-08 02:43:18

Thanks goodness music at present is only 1/2 a week lesson plus his practise.

I deliberately didn't put him into the most basic orchestra this year as once he starts that it's just orchestra after orchestra (there are 7) with summer concerts and rehearsals at the top level. My exact words were "it's lovely that he's good enough, but he is 4 years old and needs another year to bounce on trampolines and climb trees." He has actually done neither of these things, and so I will take him to see the orchestra later in the year and he can make the decision.

He started the piano and then gave up when his cello got more involved - but as I was teaching him piano my not letting people down rule did not apply.

But the difference is he can become a musician any time (or not)- he doesn't have to be Mozart. I guess as the Olympics are only every 4 years they do have to plan when children are only 5.

Back to the original post - ds says he doesn't want to go sometimes when he is finding something difficult - has your dd been doing something new?

ReallyTired Wed 20-Aug-08 03:03:39

I guess at lot depends on the club. The gymnastics club my son went to took everything very seriously. Although they were kind to him even though my son was truely useless.

The children I saw in the squad were pushed extremely hard, especially the boys. I remember seeing a Russian coach being quite aggressive and impatient when some small scrap wasn't 100% perfect. Prehaps its worth watching the 3 hour session to see what its like for her.

I think it would be sad for your daughter to give up gym completely, but then she might shine at something else like ice skating or ballet.

Rebi Wed 20-Aug-08 10:58:34


Sorry I have been away from computer so have just read new replies. Thank you all for input. There does seem to be varying opinions and I can see both points of view.

We sat down yesterday evening and had long chat. Had spoken to coach in afternoon and she had been really understanding (they get this from time to time). She gave me a few pointers of how they could help but did emphasise that if it was the pressure that was getting to her that that wasn't going to change and would increase. She also said they would hate to lose her as she is (in her words) very very talented.

So trying to get out of her last night what the problem was I think we got to the bottom of it. She just kept saying that she was scared. When she goes to class she always looks happy when there and is buzzing with excitement when she comes out. She is a real daredevil and loves to push herself. So couldn't see where the 'scared' emotion came from. Then she just mumbled something which I just about caught and it turns out what is upsetting her is that her childminder doesn't stay for the whole session, so she can't see her through the window (it is 3 hours long and cm has other children, so wouldn't expect her to).

Poor baby. So the plan now is that I will take tomorrow off work and bring her and stay with her and then she has a break for a few weeks, when she will return to evening sessions and I will be able to be there. I hadn't always stayed to be honest in the past, as there are a group of uber competitive mums who shout over each other for the entire session about their darlings and I just find it really hard to listen to (my desire is to get a wet kipper and slap it over their heads!). So I will just have to bite the bullet and stay in the waiting room for each session from now on (maybe take ipod!).

I know some of you may think it is excessive training and if we were talking about my ds who is 7 years older I would agree. My dd is an energetic whirlwind who needs something constructive to put her energy into. She also has such an amazing opportunity here that may end up not leading to anything - but how sad would it be for her in the future to regret giving something up at 5 years old. We must support her, not push her.

Thank you all for helping me clarify what we need to do.

ThatBigGermanPrison Wed 20-Aug-08 11:09:10

Personally I think it's more important to be listened to at 5 years old than to make sure you don't give up at something. If she wants to drop it, let her drop it.

3 hours is a long long time to do something you do not want to do, that is making you miserable, regardless of how focussed and energetic you are. Save the pushing for what she needs to do.

ReallyTired Wed 20-Aug-08 11:35:55


I can understand what you mean about the uber competitive mums. I remember when I took my son to gym meeting mums who made nasty comments about children in the squad. The truth was that they were jelous and just couldn't accept that their kids had no talent at gym.

I never felt any jelously, probably because I am enternal grateful to our ex child physio that my son can walk and run.

I'm pleased for you little girl. I am glad that you have found the cause of her unhappiness. It would be sad if she gave up gym for the that there was no one to watch her.

I hope we get to see her taking part in the 2020 olympics. (If that is what she wants)

Rebi Wed 20-Aug-08 11:45:11

ReallyTired - I know exactly how you feel re your ds. My ds (now 12) had physio and ot when he was little and I brought him to Tumbletots and Gymbobs as an extra ot class - it was so good for him. I suppose that is why it feels so bizzare to me to be thinking this way about my dd. It is such an extreme.

ThatBigGermanPrison - I DO listen to my daughter - it would be the easy option to just not send her and not find out what the actual problem is - it would save me a lot of time and money - but I have to do the right thing by her. She LOVES gymnastics - she spends her evenings practicing hands stands, cartwheels, splits - that is even while she is watching tv. That is why I posted for opinions here because I was so confused.

Anyway fingers crossed we have found a solution with the help of opinions on here. Thank you.

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