Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Moral Question...

Ok Mommas (and Daddys if you're reading too). I have a BIG question for you.  May be it is not a moral question...maybe it is just a question of when is enough, enough? If you're reading this then you probably know that 2 of our girls are in to gymnastics. Our 6 year old has been taking gymnastics at Parkettes and is now starting her 4th year there. She LOVES gymnastics. She gets very excited when she gets a new skill and she really likes the girls that she is in class with (they have been together for the past 2 years now). That being said, let me tell you about her schedule. Over the summer she was moved up to Level 4 (this is the level where you start to compete) so things have gotten intense. Her summer schedule was Monday and Friday 12-3 and Tuesday 12-3:30. Yes, that's right. She is 6 years old and was spending 9 1/2 hours a week in the gym. There were a few times that she got upset because she couldn't go swimming or anything else and it was difficult but she always had fun in class. Fall classes have started and now her schedule is Tuesday 4-6:30, Thursday 4-6:30 and Saturday 11-3. Yes, 9 hours a week. Plus she still has school, dance class and PREP. It is a lot, I know. Recently, E has started crying when we take her, gymnastics, etc. She cries and says she is going to miss us to much.  Today when Daddy took her to gymnastics, she cried the whole way there because she wanted Mommy to take her instead. When he started asking her about gymnastics and what was wrong she finally came out with, "it is just not fun anymore." Hmmm...what do we do with that?
I understand that it is not really fun. It is a hard working class and it is a ton of hours. BUT she does love gymnastics and she LOVES to compete and this is the level where that really starts to happen.So, the question is what do we do? There are options. She can stay where she is for this semester (I think it goes until the end of November) and see how she feels then. She can move down a level and be in the same class with her sister (which would make traveling a WHOLE lot easier but is not a factor in the decision!) or she can quit completely. Now, the thing is we don't want to push her to do this and make her hate gymnastics but we don't want to encourage her to quit when the going gets tough either. What's the right decision and how do you know???
Any advice at this time would be greatly appreciated!
: )


  1. I was just talking to a group of moms about this very thing. Now gymnastics is different because girls are usually at their best in their early teen years so starting young (if you want them to be really good-college scholarship and beyond) makes sense. But if they are not happy doing it, then there's your challenge.

    I swam through college but didn't start putting in the hours in the pool (16 plus in the water and then weights and dryland on top of that) until I was 13 or so. It ended being the right thing for me because I did get a college scholarship and there were times when I wanted to quit because I was just plain tired and sick of not being able to go to some things but I was older and my parents saw the potential. But when they are so young, the burnt out rate is so high. In my opinion I would let her take some time away. She's 6. Maybe when she's 8-9 and she's interested that could be the time to push her more for a sport like gymnastics.

    For other sports- coming from a person that trained a lot, I would not push a kid to really get into it until 10 or 11. They need to find out what they like, what they can be good at. They need time for their body to change to put on muscle. They are just kids and if you see a future down the road for great success, you don't want them to get burnt out or worse- injured.

    If you don't see or care about a future in sports right now then definitely don't consider pushing her. I feel very strongly about this, obviously, but it's just my opinion;)

  2. I feel a little funny commenting because I may be a little biased ;)
    It's kind of hard to explain, but gymnastics is very different from pretty much every other sport.
    I understood this first as a gymnast, then as a coach, and now as a mother.
    The thing is, there are two distinctly different routes that you can take in the sport. The first is to take gymnastics classes on the recreational level, and not compete.
    The second is to be on the competitive team. In order for the girls to remain at the competitive level, it requires them to train for quite a bit of hours. It is necessary not only for the girls to be able to learn the skills that are required, but also to learn to do them safely.
    I know that it is a big commitment. But it can be very, very rewarding. Overall, it is a very personal decision.

  3. Hmmm, that is so tough. Maybe you could do what you said and leave her in until she's done in November and reevaluate. If she's still saying it's not fun anymore than maybe change her level or let her stop. The other thing is, maybe she should decide what she'd rather do....gymnastics or dance. That way you could eliminate something from her schedule. At best, if it's like swimming was for Adrienne, she could start up again when she's a little older and be no worse for wear. Just some thoughts....good luck!

  4. I'm no expert or anything, but i like the idea of giving her the choice to step down a level with her younger sister. This isn't quitting, just re-adjusting. And it gives you the time to see if she still wants to continue with gymnastics or not. Plus, all kids have different personalities and different needs. What works for one child, may not be best for another. Being with her sister may be the answer for her. And the fact that it will simplify your schedule is just a bonus that will also give you more time with your precious daughters. My prayers are with you... Parenting is the most important job we'll ever do, but O' sooo complex.