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Ajoy

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
11
A few of my daughters teamates who she considers friends are in my opinion incredibly rude and entitled. My husband (who is somewhat anti-gymnastics) says their behavior is a natural extension of all the resources we parents devote to them. Travel, their insane training schedule, pt, chiro, sports medicine like they are a professional athlete. So my questions are:

1. Do you think gymnasts can be entitled? What do to do to keep your gymnasts grounded?

2. How do I keep my daughter from adopting the unacceptable behaviors of girls she spends so much time with? They are all around 10 and in early optionals.
 

LPmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
49
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I spent the summer around girls of all ages in a context that was not gymnastics. The 10-11 year olds were noticeably rude, especially to each other and sometimes to adults. I don’t think it’s specific to the sport but may be a developmental phase that is made a bit worse by overly gymnastics-centered families. The older middle school girls and high school girls I interacted with were lovely, so hopefully it is a passing phase for your daughter’s teammates vs. their actual personalities.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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I think quite the opposite. Achievement in gymnastics is impossible without hard work, perseverance and commitment. Kids who want everything handed them on a platter and are after instant gratification, just wont get far in this sport.

The sport itself usually keeps them grounded, literally they fall a lot. They learn to fall and get up, and fall and get up and persevere.
 

JessSyd

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2013
323
Sydney Australia
I would say it is a situational thing rather than a gymnastics thing. A gym who disproportionately values natural talent and treats its promising early level gymnasts like stars actually does create divas. Particularly if the parents also buy into the ‘my kid is a star’ thing. And the girls can feed off each other too, in a spiral of entitlement.

A gym that focusses on work ethic and sportsmanship won’t create entitlement. The top gymnasts at my daughter’s gym like to win, but they are so humble and supportive of every team member that they are really sweet and I love that my kid gets to hang with them.

But this is probably the same for any kid-centric facility really - schools, clubs, dance schools. Attitude filters down from the adults and parents involved and through the kids. A parent keeping it real can absolutely balance out some peer influence. Especially if there are other peer influences in the child’s life as well.
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
681
@Ajoy Your husband makes a really interesting connection that I never really thought about. Do you have examples of the entitled behavior you are seeing? I'm curious based on the behavior if I'd also connect it to the sport like that.
 
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Ajoy

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
11
At a minimum a competitive gymnastics needs a ride to practice and far away meets and a lot of money. My gymnasts, who I consider a very nice girl, gets that plus the best medical care anytime she is hurt, homemade high protein smoothies for breakfast and a pregym snack, more leos than she could wear in a month, trips to see elite and college gymnasts, expensive camps in the summer, professional hair for meets sometimes. It's franky a lot. I am happy to do all of that for her but I would also like her to stay grounded.
 
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Ajoy

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
11
I spent the summer around girls of all ages in a context that was not gymnastics. The 10-11 year olds were noticeably rude, especially to each other and sometimes to adults. I don’t think it’s specific to the sport but may be a developmental phase that is made a bit worse by overly gymnastics-centered families. The older middle school girls and high school girls I interacted with were lovely, so hopefully it is a passing phase for your daughter’s teammates vs. their actual personalities.
I hope so too, their familes are mostly pretty nice.
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
862
My kiddo did two passes at level 8 and had a 10 start value and scored well (9.5 range) She did front Pike Front Tuck and Round off layout half twist punch front tuck.

You don't need a full or 3 passes at level 8. I did see some 3 pass routines that included a Full that scored better BUT 2 clean passes scores better than 3 alright passes any day.

At a minimum a competitive gymnastics needs a ride to practice and far away meets and a lot of money. My gymnasts, who I consider a very nice girl, gets that plus the best medical care anytime she is hurt, homemade high protein smoothies for breakfast and a pregym snack, more leos than she could wear in a month, trips to see elite and college gymnasts, expensive camps in the summer, professional hair for meets sometimes. It's franky a lot. I am happy to do all of that for her but I would also like her to stay grounded.
This doesn't sound like a gymnastics issue. Plenty of kids stay grounded in this sport. Plenty of kids who are given everything become entitled.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
334
Any gym that plays favorites is going to have entitled kids.

For the coaches saying “all my kids are great”, of course they’re great to you — or even when you’re around. The question is how they act when you’re not around to observe.
 

Aussie_coach

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Jan 4, 2008
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A child who gets a lot isnt necessarily spoiled, and a child who gets very little can be very spoiled.

In general life rewards effort. Work hard at school, more chance you’ll get an A, don’t do anything and an F is more likely. As adults if we work hard we usually make more money.

Kids work hard at gymnastics, and as a result parents are generally willing to spend the time and money.

If they aren’t putting in a great effort, then most parents wouldn’t be prepared to spend the time and money.
 

Coach Kate

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Oct 13, 2021
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It might be a this day and age thing too. I have 10 year olds show up without a hair tie and say "my mom didn't give me one" and to that I say , "you know you have gymnastics . You can grab your own hair tie or keep extras in your back pack/gym bag".

When I was in gym, even starting at 8 or 9 years old, I had to print all the directions for my meets (remember MapQuest?!), fill out my own paperwork, bring in the payments, make my own snacks, talk to my coaches about missing practice, pack my gym bag/travel bags, hand wash my leotards if they couldn't go in the regular laundry, etc. I went to the grocery store with my parents and picked out the healthy snacks I wanted for my meals on the go. As a teenager, I even booked the flights for our whole family, as my parents had never been on a plane before! But I was always one of those 6 going on 60 kind of kids. My parents always made sure the essentials got done, but they were very clear that they were not responsible for my gymnastics, and if I wanted to do it, I actually had to do all of it.

Now my sister, on the other hand, has what is known in our family as the Sue gene, for my aunt Sue. One person in each nuclear family seems to have this gene, and it is a helplessness/neediness. My sister wouldn't even get up in the morning unless someone came and got her until she was about 12. She always wanted everyone else to do everything for her. So don't go giving all the credit to my parents! Although they definitely just let my sister stumble and fall from time to time (and me too!) instead of just doing everything for her.
 

Tmacs

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2019
223
Age 10/4th grade is the WORST. I've seen sweet girls turn into utter brats for a year and then turn sweet again. My friend who has 3 girls said 4th grade was an absolute disaster for all of them. I don't think it's gymnastics.
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
Being 10-11 is, like others have said, probably a huge factor. Give a few years and these kids have the most part dropped out of the sport. Level 8 skills are not going to be handed to you on a silver platter. Most of the upper optionals girls I know are hard workers and wonderful kids.

Rides to practices and meets within driving range are probably a given, as with snacks, grips/other supplies, medical care when needed, and enough leos to function.
However, flying to two meets halfway across the country in Level 6 might require some fundraising or chores to work off the $$$ your parents are spending. Or if you really want that super cute leo but you already have 35, you can wait for Christmas or buy it with your own allowance.
 

Lucia

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Jun 6, 2019
117
This is an interesting question. I have a 9-year old, almost 10-year old, in early optionals also. She does not act entitled and she is not rude at all, but sometimes I think she is oblivious to how our committment to gymnastics involves the entire family (we have to drive an hour to and from practice and her siblings have to come along most days). But I think this is because she's just so focused on her goals that she doesn't always pay attention. I've been talking with her about how to show gratitude with her actions, not just words. On the other hand, I work with kids for a living and have seen changes in children's attitudes with unlimited exposure to phones, social media etc at this age. So maybe that's part of it for some of her friends? I do try to keep her life balanced by verbalizing our family values and not making her sibs give things up (like an important event) even if it conflicts with her training schedule at times. But I am constantly having to reevalute what this looks like as her hours increase. I do think that serving others by volunteering or whatever that looks like can be a good antidote to entitlement as well as negative attitudes.
 

mom2newgymnast

Proud Parent
Jul 8, 2014
1,281
48
Definitely an interesting question. I don’t think the sport itself leads to gymnasts acting entitled. I think entitled kids is mostly a parenting thing that could happen anywhere with any sport. And I agree with that age being especially awful.

I will say also that my daughter has her school friends and her teammates and there is a notable difference between how the two groups act and behave. But I do think that has more to do with the parents and how they were raised than the sport itself. And the fact that most of her teammates come from a lot of money.

I do think that there are kids that have been given advantages such as private lessons, extra attention from coaches, extra hours, equipment at home, etc which might have lead to a sense of entitlement. My daughter feels that many of the younger team kids at her gym have a bad attitude and act like they think they are better than everyone else and that they are extra special. It bothers her a lot at times, but what are you going to do? She and most of her teammates are older now and, although they aren't super close with her, at least don't seem to have that attitude towards her.

At a minimum a competitive gymnastics needs a ride to practice and far away meets and a lot of money. My gymnasts, who I consider a very nice girl, gets that plus the best medical care anytime she is hurt, homemade high protein smoothies for breakfast and a pregym snack, more leos than she could wear in a month, trips to see elite and college gymnasts, expensive camps in the summer, professional hair for meets sometimes. It's franky a lot. I am happy to do all of that for her but I would also like her to stay grounded.

I'm just going to say that we don't have a ton of money and my daughter doesn't get any of that (except rides to practice and meets of course). And she's done just fine in this sport. :)
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
809
Virginia
My daughters gym friends are the nicest most humble kids. They please and thank you everything and are very grateful when you get them something even if its like a protein bar or something. My kid even turned down going to a travel meet in CA (wasn't something she HAD to do and didn't think we needed to spend the $$ if it wasnt important to her)

The kids at her middle school on the other hand...total little sh*ts seriously. Middle school kids are the worst. So I honestly would say its not sports its how parents treat/raise their kids. There is a bit of kids "expecting" things at a certain age but I think its pretty easy to nip that in the bud.

I was "spoiled" as a kid as well didnt really have a lot of chores got to do sports and have nice things and I don't think I was (or am currently) entitled. I still have a good work ethic and am very grateful for the things I have and dont "expect" anything.

I am curious what's the entitled behavior you are seeing/worrying about?
 

gym_dad32608

Proud Parent
Aug 7, 2018
365
53
Making generalizations about large populations is a dangerous thing. We all can find ourselves cherry-picking examples of these things, creating a feedback loop to our biases, which continue to reinforce our biases or opinions. "Gymnasts are entitled, yes, I remember Sally walking into the gym proclaiming my daughter had to go after her because she was better.....". I see this happen so often around here, where someone extrapolates a singular experience and then applies that to a whole population. I highly doubt there is anything inherent in gymnastics that makes athletes entitled any more than there are just rude people out there
 

skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
167
I don't think it has anything to do with the sport. Gymnastics doesn't hold a monopoly on families putting out for a sport... for that matter, sports aren't the only thing I have seen families put out great amounts for. I have seen families move for a child's music lessons.

Entilement or rudeness is a behavior issue that I believe parents have the responsibility to find out why and how to handle. I strongly believe that behavior is communication and anyone that is acting rude has some strong feelings behind those actions. I believe involved parents should take the time to ivestigate behaviors and figure out what feelings are driving the behaviors and see if there is a way to address them.
 

Caesarea

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
20
United States of America
OMG, gahhh...entitled parents are all over the place. This bugs me so much as a former gymnast and now cheerleading coach where people will say things like that all the time to my cheerleaders. The "artistic and acrobatic" sports, often seem to attract SO MUCH public polarization, its either negativity beyond anything reasonable or fetish-like obsession. Dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, figure skating...even diving and synchronized swimming. Yes, you have high commitment. They're early specializing sports. But they're not the devil.
 
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