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This is embarrassing to talk about and I actually started typing up a post once before then chickened out. I'm gonna try again though.

My daughter (age 5) has an attitude problem. It's not all the time and does seem to be worse on days where she's eaten too much sugar or hasn't gotten enough rest. Naturally we try to avoid this, but the reality is I don't see it as an "excuse" when she does get an attitude.

Sometimes, unfortunately, this attitude happens in the gym. Usually if she is corrected about something or can't get something right the first time. She's not the kind to give up, but rather just makes herself and everyone around her miserable while she continues to try, which is unacceptable to me. I want to encourage a healthier response to frustration.

Another thing is that she often "self corrects" if she *knows* she is doing something wrong. You could tell her great job and she'll say, "No, wait, I can do it better." The issue is solely when she didn't know it was wrong and gets corrected. Then the attitude sets in.

It took her a few week to warm up to her team coach, and she got an attitude with him a few times, but I told him not to take any nonsense from her and he didn't and withing 2 classes, it was nearly gone, and within 5 classes, it was completely gone, with one slip up on day when she skipped lunch (which led to the rule: 'no lunch, no gymnastics', and we haven't had a problem since). He corrects her ALL the time and she doesn't skip a beat. She's pleasant, and he says she's doing very, very well, "like a whole new kid". There are even times where the whole class will be goofing off and she doesn't join them but instead stays focused.

That said, we had an attitude incident again recently, and it concerns me. One of the toddler coaches is out and so her coach is taking over some of this classes. So he teaches the beginning of the class, and then the owner teaches the second part of the class. Unfortunately, my daughter decided to get an attitude with the owner when corrected on form. The recreation class my daughter was in before taught the cartwheel with the 'X' position and I knew the soon they were going to be teaching 'arms by the ears'. I ever let her know this to sort of prepare her, and they have been doing it somewhat in class, but the owner is really strict on form (something I think is a GOOD thing), so when she substitutes in the class, she focuses on that a lot. Perhaps even especially with my daughter who has all the skills down already and needs to work on cleaning them up.

If her regular coach corrected her, she'd have no problem. Perhaps because he's already established he's not putting up with that. And my daughter is HAPPIER now. She does well with firm boundaries. I know the owner is firm, too, but my daughter tends to be less responsive to women (other than me) and I think that's because most other women in my daughters life are way too lenient with her. I don't mean to sound like I'm super strict or anything, but I mean very basic things. For example, if my DD gives me an attitude, I will NOT give her what she is asking for. Where other females she is around seem to give her what she wants and tell her to ask nicely NEXT time. (I've confronted the people in the family who do this, but they just don't seem to realize they are doing it or can't seem to change.)

Anyway, the owner/coach doesn't seem concerned at all. She told me it's my daughter's personality and that my daughter will stop when she sees it's not getting her anywhere. She said my daughter has an a-type, gymnast personality and is a lot like the owner was...and that she'd met her match lol. She also praised my daughter's skill level and strength, and I think that's great, but I don't want her getting a pass for being talented, either, though I was glad for the coaches friendly outlook. I told the coach (as I told her old coach) that we don't put up with attitudes at home and that if she needs to be sit out or sent out of class, to do it. Her regular coach had to do it maybe 3 times total, and that was the end of that (because she wants to be participating). So I see this as something best to nip in the bud.

What else can I do on my end? I don't want my daughter to be THAT kid, if you know what I mean. Currently what I do is praise the good behavior. I also let her get a juice after class (we are mostly a water-only family) on days where she is nice to others while in class. The rewards are kept strictly based on behavior and not on performance. When she does have an attitude, we don't do the juice and I let her know that 1) I didn't like her behavior 2) that kind of behavior can get a girl kicked out of a gym and 3) her coach was trying to help her improve and that wasn't kind to the coach and that my daughter shortchanged herself by not listening.

When we got home after the most recent issue, my daughter showed me the new "form" she learned. I'm glad she learned it and that she's proud of herself, but it'd be nice if she was showing gratitude in class to the coach who taught her. I think the attitude comes from hurt pride. But she needs to get used to correction from her coaches--it's part of the sport.

Maybe I'm just over-worrying, but I wanted to know if there is anything else I can do on my end, or is it better to back off and let the coach deal with it? Because I can also see it from the angle that they need to establish their own working relationship and she needs to listen to the coach because of respecting the coach, not because of me. OR is it better that I support the coach and reinforce a good attitude? (She also blames other for her mistakes, which plays into the attitude issues, but maybe that's separate).

I just don't know, but I wanted to ask for some opinions so I'm not making things worse or not doing nothing when there is more I can do to support a positive attitude. I wouldn't say it's a constant thing, but she does it sometimes usually in the same scenarios, even non-gymnastics related things at home. It's not a frequent problem, just something that comes up now and again. And it's embarrassing. Once someone establishes boundaries with her though, she does get to the point where she's a total angel. I just don't understand why she keeps going through this with every new person in her life, as SHE seems to be miserable when she's doing it!

I keep an open line of communication with the coaches where behavior is concerned. Another thing that might be worth mentioning is that we have some issues in the home, being that her older brother has autism and severe behavioral issues that affect everyone in the family, though our daughter deals with it better than our youngest does. The gym is also aware of this. They seem to be glad that I'm aware of the issues and have told me that sometimes they deal with things where a kid has a really bad attitude, doesn't get a "stamp", cries to their parents about it, and their parent promises to take them out for ice cream, which needless to say is very different from the approach I take to being disrespectful in class. But I still want to see some real change. She's a little bit younger than some of the other girls in class (but not by much) but sometimes I think she is much more immature than they are. Not in the goof off kind of way, but she's less social than they are and seems to get more upset about missing skills/being corrected than they do. I don't think I've noticed one other kid in her class get upset about being corrected, but maybe that's just because I'm not focused on them. At any rate, I tell her if she wants to be in class with the other "big girls" she needs to have big girl behavior, too. Really makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong as a parent when she gets this way.

I also don't want to see herself shoot herself in the foot. She LOVES gymnastics. She's told me she wants to live there and only come home to eat and sleep. Over the holidays, she said she was sad she didn't get to go to gymanstics and that she wishes the holidays could be over already (I was thinking a normal kid might be looking forward to Christmas presents!). When she doesn't have gymnastics, she's counting down the days to her next class. She's the first one at the gate to get into class. I love seeing her so passionate about something, and I think that's why she usually does well. But her attitude could ultimately ruin for her something she loves.

I'm all over the place and rambling. Sorry. Any feedback would be appreciated.
no help - shes twins with mine - except mine hasn't worked out that her attitude makes her miss out and is still giving it "large". Its led to her beeing put down a group in gym and having her hours cut from 12 to 4.5 - we are now trying to integrate another session as she need the hours - wish me luck :eek:
Sorry to hear you are going through the same thing :( I hope things look up on your end soon!
I actually think you're doing really well with what you've outlined. Repetition will work - she will get it, but it's a process, and children that age are impulsive. So if they already have a more outgoing and verbal personality, that impulse is going to show. It sounds like she has already made progress.

The fact you are even aware of it AND have a plan in place that your child knows about to address it shows that you're on the right track. It sounds like maybe (I'm somewhat speculating about this) that your daughter has a fairly different personality from you and that may be difficult to reconcile if you tend to be a natural "respect for authority and following rules" person. If it helps you keep it in perspective, it may not be quite as bad as you think, just something you are sensitive to and aware of (which I think is great - and I don't think you should stop - but I don't think you have to be guilty about it). What the coaches told you is true - they deal with kids every day I'm sure who have worse behavior and the parents will not address it. It happens.

Also, I think it is generally helpful when dealing with undesired behavior to try and stay neutral and just correct the misbehavior rather than showing emotion, if that helps you let go of some of the guilt. You have a plan in place, the plan is working - your daughter has clearly made progress in this area even if there are still a few issues - so that's great. You also have a lot on your plate, so honestly I probably wouldn't even begin to judge you if you were too exhausted sometimes to do anything but make sure your kids survive the day ;) Everyone has those days where it seems like progress was derailed, but if you look over the long term it isn't as bad an outlook.

Take care of yourself too - you are obviously a loving and attentive mother, and you deserve it.
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Let her establish her own relationship with the gym owner. It seems that she has coached many kids and it doesn't sound like the class is in distress or out of control. The coach may not be comfortable giving as much correction or having time outs when she is trying to accomplish something she feel she can plow right through. She may have a different way of managing the class and your DD. If your DD tries to bring her attitude from class to a situation with you, you just say maybe the coach handles that differently, but around here we do it this way.

Your DD is eventually going to have lots of different adults/teachers in her life and you won't be there every minute to oversee things, so let her starting learning about how different people do things while continuing to reinforce your rules when she is with you. If the coach asks for help or suggestions, you know what to do.
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That is so encouraging! I probably tend to over-analyze things and can always see the pros and cons to my actions (not matter WHAT my action are) so I'm always worried about those cons! Your words get me all teary-eyed... yes, I probably am too emotional about things sometimes. And I have always been more the type to follow the "rules", though I had issues when I was younger, too. I want to support my daughter in her dreams and goals, and I think that not only are good manners important to stay in good standing with others, but she will also personally make gains by being polite and listening to her coaches. Her coaches really have been SO amazing. I remember when she first started in her current coach's class and wouldn't give him a high five when he was telling her she did great. Now she gives him a high five, even comes up to him before class and says hi and chats with him. She learned her bridge kick over during christmas break and couldn't wait to tell him, then he invited her onto the floor before class to show him. So, they really are VERY encouraging. She just has to learn that sometimes that encouragement will come from challenging her to help her improve, because they know she can do it. Many times, it's her own head getting in the way. She can do things but she doesn't think she can and won't try because she's afraid she won't get it right the first time. And a lot of her attitude stems from that. Every time she learns something, I point it out to her. "You couldn't do that before, but you practiced and now you can!"

One thing I've had with her is sometimes she is trying to do something and is getting upset and i tell her to just take a break and she won't, even though she's clearly miserable. I can't understand why she does this. Mostly I just don't engage when she gets like that. But there seems to be something going on--like you said, maybe something with her personality she needs to work on--but that gets in her way when she can't do something and even more-so when someone corrects her to try to help her improve.(When the correction comes, it's not just whining anymore. It's crossed arms, grumpy faces, refusal to do things). The coach/owner the other day when she did that just said, "That's a nice face you got there." And my daughter just stomped off to the next rotation. Coach was unfazed...but I was mortified! Then what's she'll do is just "go through the motions" without trying with her grumpy, stompy attitude. Personally, if I were her coach, I'd have sat her out a long time ago LOL I probably sound like super militant or something, but I'm not. I'm very patient and it takes a lot to get me actually mad. I just don't engage in bad attitudes. We've even done a sticker chart for her for her attitude, so she gets stickers on days where she has no attitude, which she likes.

Anyway, she's a smart girl so she learns quick who she can get away with that attitude with, which is why firm, clear boundaries work best with her, I think. She's very responsive to consequences (even though she's not responsive to correction... if that makes sense). I do think she was just in a generally grumpy mood yesterday anyway, so that didn't help things.

I'm really glad about the communication with her coaches, too. I hope this isn't wrong to say, but the gym is full of nannies and VERY rich people who are more there to socialize (which is fine!) but I think that the coaches general response is to not sit out a id if they don't have to because they don't want parents complaining they paid for the class yada yada. Where as I rather see her sit out now and get those behaviors over with so she can more fully enjoy her time at gymnastics. It's not fun for the kid having an attitude either, from my observations. But I think talking with the coaches help, because they know I'm OK with her being sit out and that they don't have to worry about my reaction in that event. (Well, other than me being mortified! but that is from her behavior--not from them correcting it!).

It's good to hear from a third party though that it's not something to be too worried about. We'll keep at it with her. Also, the whole process is new to her. She missed the cut off date for school and has never been to day care or any other structured "class" setting. She's very smart (alphabet, numbers, colors in two languages, counts to 60, can tell the time on a "hand" clock, basic bath, basic reading, etc), but she also doesn't deal well with getting things "wrong". She's hard on herself, but heaven forbid anyone GENTLY correct her. It's definitely a nut I haven't cracked yet.
You are doing great with her--you set clear limits, have consequences, and follow through consistently. What more can you do as a parent? Keep at it!

I would just suggest keeping the lines of communication open with the coaches. They do have to work out their own relationship, after all. You have communicated your expectations and your willingness to follow through. I think the rest is up to them.

The reason I felt compelled to post is that you mentioned several times that you were embarrassed by her behavior. I am sure you have learned ways not to feel embarrassed with your older son when he does things that might not be socially polite. It is the same with your daughter. You did not teach her to behave this way. You have set up a system to teach her differently and you are working on it. It is not a reflection of you or your parenting to have her misbehave sometimes. I know this is so much easier said than done. I am a mom of a kid who has had all out tantrums in public (not now, but when she was 4, 5, and 6). It is embarrassing. But. when I felt embarrassed I tended to react in not very positive ways. When I took a deep breath and just dealt with the situation in the best way I knew how, it was better for everyone involved. No, I did not teach my daughter when she was 5 to throw herself on the floor in the middle of the store and scream at the top of her lungs.

Anyway, it sounds like you are doing great with her!

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Thanks. That makes sense. I've done that with my friends mom. My friends mom spoils her to the point that when she comes home and people see her attitude, they will say, "She was at [friend's mom]'s house again, wasn't she?" We had one time where she came home and asked for a glass of milk and I said, "Yes. Wait two minutes." And she said, "[friend's mom] doesn't make me wait two minutes." And I thought--wow, what a normal kid lol. I told her, "I'm not [friend's mom]. Here, you wait. And I'm not going to get anything for anyone who has a bad attitude." There are times where I will make my kids wait for something for an hour because that's how long it takes them to get rid of their attitude, ask politely, and wait patiently. But you're right--not everyone will handle it the same. The coach/owner seems to handle it well on her own, but I also didn't want to send the message that that kind of behavior is acceptable to me. I guess from here I can just sit back and then if the coach brings it up to me in the future we can take it from there. I have a feeling that within a couple of weeks the issue will be gone. It just seems to goes through this with every coach.
Yep, sounds like she's normal : )

Another thought on the coach, she may be extinguishing the behavior by not giving it any attention, not commenting on it, not sitting her out, basically your DD gets nothing for bad attitude.
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I actually do get embarrassed by my son, too. I've been through a lot with people CLEARLY judging me where my son is concerned. He's high functioning (now, wasn't always) so most of what we deal with now is behavior, articulation, and sensory issues. But to people who don't know his whole history, he just seems (when in one of his moods) like a horribly behaved child who cannot be corrected. He can, of course, but dealing with him means addressing sensory FIRST and THEN behavior/consequences. But being judged doesn't help. I also look really young for my age (I'm 26, but people often think I'm a teen mom with three kids because of how young I look. IDK what they are thinking... that I have my oldest when I was 10 or 12?!?!) So what you are saying--that is something I need to work on in regards to all my kids. Not feeling embarrassed. I know other kids act out, too, but i have my mommy blinders on and seem to only see my own kids acting that way while everyone else's kids seem like perfect angels. My rational brain knows that isn't true, but I don't think my reactive brain has come to terms with that yet :p

Blue, thank you for sharing your experiences with me, too. It gives me peace of mind. I think sometimes we (as parents) forget we're really not so alone in our experiences, and I really appreciate you reminding me of that. And it sounds like things with your daughter got better--so that's encouraging, too. You mean to tell me that all this parenting DOES pay off? :p
It sounds like you are doing a great job so far of keeping things in check. Like gymdog mentioned, at this age you are dealing not only with the Type A personality traits, but also the innate impulsiveness that just comes with being 5. It's great that you acknowledge this is not an excuse and can see the bigger picture. It will take time to adapt to the idea of corrections, as it's probably something she hasn't seen much of outside the home, but it sounds like she has made tremendous progress so far and it will serve her well in years to come. And while she does resist the corrections, it does sounds like she ultimately keeps them in her head and is willing to make the adjustments which I greatly prefer to the kids who let it go one in ear and out the other.
I think you should be feeling good about what you are doing and the progress she has made so far. It sounds like you have a great grasp on the situation and are handling things incredibly well.
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That's a great point :)

My daughter can do some strange things sometimes. I remember one time she was doing a make up class and had a different set of coaches she hadn't been with before. The whole time, anytime they were looking at her, she was basically purposefully not trying. But I mean, doing worse than just not trying, if that makes sense. Like...sorta just flopping around. Then, when they weren't looking, she'd perform her skills as normal. One of the coaches "caught" her and told the new coach to look (they were trying to encourage the applying herself) and when the other coach looked, she purposefully did the floppy ridiculousness thing again. That was about 6 months ago, but it's just one of those things that leaves me scratching my head. This stuff always comes up with people she doesn't know. She'll also be very shy with these people (doesn't want to give high fives, doesn't want to talk to them, etc) and it can take weeks (sometimes months) for her to come around. The behaviors really do seem to stem from defensiveness, though I really can't figure it out beyond that.
Thank you for the encouragement! It's really great to hear this. Especially from other coaches. I'm glad she's not the only one and that I haven't been handling this poorly.

One of the things she's been begging for lately is to go to one of the camps. I said if her attitude is good, she can go to one. I also spoke to her coach to ask his opinion re: readiness. He thinks she's ready but to try a half a day first. Of course, that same day, she had the attitude issue. It was only at the end of class when being corrected on form. She was great with the other coaches that day. I did half predicted it, though. I let her have a cupcake before class, despite my usual no sugar before class rule, and I thought... man, I hope I don't pay for this later. (She seems to also have less behavior control when she eats poorly/doesn't get enough rest). I think it all just plays into her needing those firm boundaries. The good news is that usually after days like yesterday (and having consequences, such as no special treats for poor behavior), her behavior is extra good the next day, so she's been angel all day today lol
She is only 5. She is not yet old enough to be motivated to take correction so she can be the best gymnast she can be. That will come with time.

But it seems like the food thing may be an issue. Just the fact that she is worse after sugar and has problems when she hasn't eaten. The fact is that most kids are affected by the chemicals in foods as their bodies are to small to fully absorb them. It isn't an excuse the chemicals in the foods actually affect the chemicals in the brain.

Here is a site with more info. Food Intolerance Network
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Thank you Aussie Coach. Yes, food definitely affects her. Not to the extent it does my son, though. (My son cannot eat gluten or casein. It affects him both physically and behaviorally). I think sometimes people under estimate the importance of food. With my daughter, at least it's a bit more simple. She does well as long as she's eating "healthy". We've eliminated juice from our house and only do it occasionally--such as after gymnastics. The rest of the time it's water with 1-2 glasses of milk a day also. I just have to stick to it. Sometimes I think "an unhealthy snack before gymnastics this one time won't hurt"... but it always does, at least with her.

I also realize that most 5 year olds don't care much about being the best they can be, and she probably hasn't fully reached that point, but I'd say she's probably more aware of it than I would have expected at her age. There are many times where I will tell her she did a great job wit something and she says, "Wait, I can do it better". I don't mind this when she's still having fun, but when she's making herself miserable over it is when I usually feel it'd be better for her to take a break and do another activity she enjoys. But even when upset, that's one thing. She just has to learn to be upset without having an attitude or being nasty toward others. I guess that will come with time, but in the meantime it's still hard on me, as I'm always worrying that she's being more immature than she should be at her age. (Of course, how can I accurately gauge any of that when I don't know any other typical five year olds!) So I really appreciate your feedback :)
IMO you are "over worrying" (your words) if the coach is fine and feels she can handle it- let it go, the other coach has a problem and handled it in his own way- also fine. Let the coaches decide how to work with her. If you want, and feel it is necessary, talk to her about it after practice- either praise her-- "hey good job listening," or admonish her-- "I saw you getting an attitude with your coach today- that makes me sad you talked to her that way/didn't listen/etc.".... something along those lines, if you feel she needs the feedback from you.

My DD was a lot like yours at 5. I will tell you if she likes gymnastics and sticks with it she will come in contact with all kinds of coaches with all kinds of styles and as she matures she will better learn how to "behave" in the gym.
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IMO you are "over worrying" (your words) if the coach is fine and feels she can handle it- let it go, the other coach has a problem and handled it in his own way- also fine. Let the coaches decide how to work with her. If you want, and feel it is necessary, talk to her about it after practice- either praise her-- "hey good job listening," or admonish her-- "I saw you getting an attitude with your coach today- that makes me sad you talked to her that way/didn't listen/etc.".... something along those lines, if you feel she needs the feedback from you.

My DD was a lot like yours at 5. I will tell you if she likes gymnastics and sticks with it she will come in contact with all kinds of coaches with all kinds of styles and as she matures she will better learn how to "behave" in the gym.

Thanks so much :) I'm glad to hear this feedback--to hear of another kid like that at this age, and also that they DO in fact grow out of it. Very encouraging :)
seems these issues come up quite often here. for the 1st time, i would like to recommend a book for you. often, these problems begin at home. it carries over to gym and other activities and relationships that kids participate in. what to do..."The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee" by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D.:)
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