Parents Daughter doesn't like nickname given by coach

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Alibri

Proud Parent
Oct 31, 2016
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My daughter is 6, on the level 2 team. A couple of months ago, I heard about the nickname that my daughter's coach gave to her. She didn't seem phased by it at first, and she didn't say much about it. Its a nickname that could be perceived as cute in an offbeat sort of way I guess, and the coach uses it as an endearment, but my problem with it is that I found out it has to do with one of her flaws as a gymnast. I don't understand why a coach would give a nickname with a negative connotation to a 6-year-old.

Recently, my daughter started to tell me it bothered her, so I knew I needed to ask the coach to stop calling her the nickname. I am not a confrontational person at all, never complain, but I approached her about it in as nice a way as I could possibly think of, basically just asking if she would consider not using the nickname and telling her it bothers my daughter. She said she would stop using the name. This was 2 weeks ago, and my daughter told me that she is still calling her the nickname. I can't believe that she forgot about our conversation already, so I can't help but think she has chosen to ignore my request.

I'm looking for advice on what to do next, since I haven't faced a situation like this before. Would you have another conversation with the coach? Go ahead and try to talk to the head coach or the gym owner? What are some ideas on what I should say? Am I overreacting and should I let it go instead?

(I'm paranoid about the coach or another parent from our gym seeing this, so I'm not prepared to share the nickname on this post. I hope I can still get some advice with what I did share though.)
 
I highly doubt the coach forgot. Probably more like coach doesn't really think it's a big deal. Would your daughter feel comfortable (with your support) telling the coach to please stop?
 
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I would try one more time with the coach in a still very nice, but insistent way. Make sure coach understands daughter is truly bothered, even if she doesn't appear to be phased in class. Let coach know your daughter enjoys gymnastics, her coaching, and the class very much, and you are very appreciative of her efforts to make your daughter feel comfortable and inspired. But the nickname, light-hearted as it is clearly intended, is working against her enjoyment and inspiration. Thank coach for her help with this again.

If coach still continues after that, then I would go to coach a third time, confirm directly that the nickname is still in use, then flat out ask why she feels the need to use the nickname despite your discussions.
 
I wouldn't assume that the coach is willfully ignoring your request, if it's a nn she has been using for months it still is going to slip out.
As far as it being negative, do 6yr olds really have flaws as gymnasts? They're such works in progress.
If it's possible your daughter could say, as soon as the coach slips "Coach S I really don't like to be called that", but she's pretty young to expect that of her. What about approaching the coach to help pick a new nick name? It's easier to stop a habit if you have a replacement for it.
 
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I totally agree that 6-year-olds don't really have "flaws as gymnasts", which is another reason I don't really get why the coach chose the name. Im confident that this particular "flaw" or whatever it can be called is something that she will outgrow, so I'm hoping she can stop using the nickname before it sticks, before my daughter starts telling herself "my coach thinks I can't do this right", or before it becomes a self-fulfilling name.

My daughter was the one who told me why the coach calls her the name, so the coach must have told her the reason behind the name instead of just letting it be a cute (but still weird) nickname. I know she knows the coach is focusing on something negative when she uses the name. I also heard one of her teammates telling her mom the nickname and why the coach uses it for my daughter.
 
I wouldn't assume that the coach is willfully ignoring your request, if it's a nn she has been using for months it still is going to slip out.
This

And you don't request to be called by the name you wish. You insist.

And as triplethreat said above it's now become habit so it will take time to break it. And it will take repeated reminders.

Your daughter should be taking that on. And when her coach slips, she should remind the coach what she prefers to be called. Now is a good time for her to start advocating for herself.

Since she is 6 I would have one more conversation with the coach, to insist (not request) your child be called by the name she prefers and let the coach know your daughter will be reminding her/him.
 
I totally agree that 6-year-olds don't really have "flaws as gymnasts", which is another reason I don't really get why the coach chose the name. Im confident that this particular "flaw" or whatever it can be called is something that she will outgrow, so I'm hoping she can stop using the nickname before it sticks, before my daughter starts telling herself "my coach thinks I can't do this right", or before it becomes a self-fulfilling name.

My daughter was the one who told me why the coach calls her the name, so the coach must have told her the reason behind the name instead of just letting it be a cute (but still weird) nickname. I know she knows the coach is focusing on something negative when she uses the name. I also heard one of her teammates telling her mom the nickname and why the coach uses it for my daughter.
That is not okay. At all.
 
I agree with asking your dd if there is another nickname she would prefer and let the coach know that your dd would prefer the new name. Also, it's hard for you to know if her coach is still regularily calling her the name or if she just slips occasionally now. (If she's been using the name for a long time)

Does the coach give all/most kids nicknames? Do you know if your dd has indicated to her that it bothers her. This shouldn't matter but it's possible that the coach just thinks it's bothering you and not your dd (even though you told her it bothers your dd).
 
My daughter was called "Dumbo" by her coach because (also at age 6) her hands were always far apart in her walkovers and handsprings, like she had to accommodate dumbo's ears. She didn't say anything (never would have told a coach she was bothered.) She loves Disney so at first she thought it was super cute, until she learned why. Of all the possible names "dumbo" seems like calling someone a dumb person to me....

However, I told her she was dumbo because they saw something in her, and she had the ability to fly, differently than the rest of her team. I told her the coaches could never admit this as other girls might be jealous, so they used the ears as an excuse to help her fix her arms and cover the real reason for her special name. It actually worked with boosting her confidence.
 
It is absurd that any adult would think that nicknaming a kid based on their shortcomings is a good idea.

Sadly, this stuff has been going on in sports for generations - it's more prevelant in boys sports than girls, but it is something a lot of coaches do. They think it's endearing and entertaining to the group, or motivating to the kid (if you don't fix the problem, I'm going to keep calling you that), but sometimes it's more like bullying - especially when the kid doesn't like it.

Since your daughter is only 6, I see no issue w/ you addressing this w/ the coach.
 
Would your daughter be comfortable approaching the coach with you? Even if it is just to stand next to you while you speak to the coach? While busy at practice the coach may not be able to "see" how her nickname is affecting your DD, but may be able to see it when she is standing in front of the coach while you speak with her.

We have always told DD that she is only to call a person by his or her real name, or a nickname the person has chosen for his or her self. When each child moves up to pre-team, the coaches ask each kid to choose a nickname for themself that has something to do with one of their strengths. Perhaps you can suggest to the coach a nickname that has something to do with one of your DD's strengths?
 
I really do not get saying the kid should be confronting the coach. This child is 6!
I think it most likely the coach is either choosing to ignore your request or has utterly forgotten. Think about it- if it just "slipped out" by mistake, she would immediately apologize or at least correct herself.
I would suggest, just on the off chance she simply forgot, talk to the coach again, and say something like "remember last whatever day, I asked you to stop calling my child X? Well I am telling you again. Her name is Y. Please call her that. Nothing else is acceptable. Thank you!" Better yet, put it in writing - an email or text with a time/date stamp- so when/if you have to go over her head, you have proof that you addressed this directly with the coach and nothing changed.
And if it continues after that, then if possible yes, you go over her head and lodge a complaint. Absolutely. Enough is enough.
 
I'd talk to the coach one more time, be very firm they they should abosutely not be calling
your child this nickname, then see how they respond.
My gymmie recently decided to go by her 'full' name instead of her nickname, which everyone has called her since birth. She told her coaches and they make every effort to remember. She is 7, and they respect that she made a choice.
Your daughter's coach needs to respect that the nickname she gave your daughter is not acceptable.
 
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I really do not get saying the kid should be confronting the coach. This child is 6!
I think it most likely the coach is either choosing to ignore your request or has utterly forgotten. Think about it- if it just "slipped out" by mistake, she would immediately apologize or at least correct herself.
I would suggest, just on the off chance she simply forgot, talk to the coach again, and say something like "remember last whatever day, I asked you to stop calling my child X? Well I am telling you again. Her name is Y. Please call her that. Nothing else is acceptable. Thank you!" Better yet, put it in writing - an email or text with a time/date stamp- so when/if you have to go over her head, you have proof that you addressed this directly with the coach and nothing changed.
And if it continues after that, then if possible yes, you go over her head and lodge a complaint. Absolutely. Enough is enough.

Yeah - 6 is way too young to be expected to say anything to an authority figure, let alone something that would require a lot of assertiveness like this. Frankly, I find it very impressive the kid even is socially mature and articulate enough to understand why the coach is calling her that and telling the OP about it - it would probably go over the heads of a lot of kids that age (which makes it even more concerning cause these girls are so young). She may have "endearing and cute, yet at the same time bordering on degrading" nicknames for multiple kids in the group for all you know.
 
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Yeah - 6 is way too young to be expected to say anything to an authority figure, let alone something that would require a lot of assertiveness like this. Frankly, I find it very impressive the kid even is socially mature and articulate enough to understand why the coach is calling her that and telling the OP about it - it would probably go over the heads of a lot of kids that age (which makes it even more concerning cause these girls are so young). She may have "endearing and cute, yet at the same time bordering on degrading" nicknames for multiple kids in the group for all you know.

the coach told her why, that is how she knew.

It is not acceptable.
 
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