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Sep 19, 2008
I'm writing this in the hopes that it's cathartic in addition to getting some outside advice. I'm about as close to as mad as I was when Ashley spread poo all over her walls when she was 3! Of course then she was 3, and though she understood what she was doing was bad...she was still 3 and my irritation was tempered with patience. Now she's 6 and has discovered her inner diva, who has been making unwelcome appearances at gymnastics.

To make matters worse, she takes classes where I work. I honestly think my gym is the best place to have her at. In preschool classes she did not have to do the splits. Since she turned 6 in March and moved up to girls rec, she's had to do them. Honestly never her favorite thing, but she did them. Her coach moved last week and is no longer teaching at our location. Last week, she walked out on the splits saying she had a headache. Her coach found me to tell me that she disobeyed when she was asked to stay. I had her apologize to her coach and she went back to class a-ok. This week, she had a new coach she has never met (I haven't either) and proceeded to have a meltdown during the warm up. Her coach told her to get in her splits because the class was waiting for her, one of the kids told her to hurry up, and Ashley hit her on the leg. A coach she knows told Ashley that is not acceptable and she was going to get me. Ashley responded 'Don't you dare.' Yeah.

So of course she gets me. I tell Ashley her behavior is unnaceptable, to apologize to the girl and never talk back to any coach. She knows better, I know she does. She told me 'I hate gymnastics.' When I said 'Okay, lets go home then.' she all the sudden wanted to stay in class. So she goes out, and her coach starts sympathizing with her and hugging her, and of course Ashley gets all teary and eats it up. Coach offers for her to sit next to her while she coaches. I let it go for 10 minutes, when Ashley was still sitting I called her from class since all she was doing was being a distraction. We went home.

I switched her class to an earlier time. I have no problem with her new coach though. I'm grasping at straws here, hoping that maybe she is just too tired and grumpy that late after school. Her class was from 7-8, now it will be right after school. Potential problem: her coaches that hour are 3 of the strictest ones in the gym. She got an earful on the way home about willfully disobeying her coach and being disrespectful to her whole class by refusing to do her splits. I told her about the class switch, and warned her that tantrum behavior and general brattiness will get her exactly nowhere with her new coaches. I also did throw in that she's lucky to go to gym, even if she doesn't realize it. Freaking out, being mean, and mouthing off to adults will not earn her a ticket out of it.

I'm at a loss. She never ever did this with her old coach. Also she has always been aware that it's where I work and knows that bad behavior is even less acceptable because of it. If this is a power struggle, how do I win without wreaking havoc on whatever class she's in? I can't bow down to this behavior though. Grrrrrrr

Unfortunately I read this after my brain wAs done for the day ! I will have to mull it over when I am not mentally overdrawn, maybe I will have an epiphany as I sleep and a brilliant reply in the morning : )
Well 6 year olds are notorious for testing their bounderies and seeing just how far they can push. It is good that you have made it clear that this behaviour will not be tolerated.

I would remind her before the next class that if she misbehaves that she will have a consequence. You can decide what that will be but the punishment should fit the crime and hit hard. I would not allow her to do gym for a week (you will find your own thing), and on her return to gym I would make her apologise to the coach and explain why she is sorry.

But you must establish your expectations and the consequences before she has achance to get into trouble. It is tough being a coach in the same gym as your kid, so you need to make sure she gets it early on the that she is just the same as any other kid and that she needs to abide by gym rules.

Good luck with this, it is a phase and if you deal with it straight away she will quickly learn that you mean business.
Hugs to you. Sucky situation for sure. I don't really know what I would do in this situation since I am not really in it, but here is what I think I would do. LOL.

I might try the new class with strict coaches and see how that goes. If it doesn't work,I would take her out of classes for awhile. Maybe she truly doesn't want to do gymnastics. Maybe she does and she just misses her old coach and is just testing out how far she can get with these other coaches. Either way, she will either start asking to go back and then you can tell her that it is a privilege and her previous behavior will not be tolerated OR she won't ask again and will want to do something else. Sometimes kids don't know how much they like or don't like something until they miss it for awhile. :D Good luck figuring it out. Hopefully some better advice will come around. Having not dealt with this situation, don't have any truly good advice. :D

Hang in there. Sounds like you have a spunky one. Mine are both spunky. It is both a blessing and a curse!!!
Thanks so much for the advice and the hugs! This was very much a situation that made me feel lost, and too sticky for me to see a clear way out of. I tell myself to be objective but it's very hard since I have a relationship with everyone involved. I second guess myself and then feel frustrated at my lack of clarity ><

While I was writing the original post and cursing my indecisiveness my husband stepped in. He went upstairs and pretty much laid it out for Ashley very simply. Mom and dad are the boss, you can disagree and that's okay, but acting up in a disruptive way will ALWAYS land her in hot water. When in ballet, Miss Emily is the boss, when in gymnastics, the coach is the boss. If she doesn't know how to phrase her frustration then the best option is to do as she's told anyway (unless she's hurt) and then bring it up after class to talk about. He had her repeat it back to him, she did, and agreed to it.

When she told him her problem with the splits is that they hurt he told her they hurt everyone who's just learning them and she is not special in that sense. He told her they would help her ballet and her gymnastics. He also told her she's not special because I work there, that everyone in her class is special because they are all there and trying hard. When you stop trying you lose your specialness. So since her meltdown was over splits he told her she has to do all 3 after she brushes her teeth before bed. He explained it to her as something that would help her get used to them and make doing it in class not such a big deal, not worded as a punishment. So she stretched first and did all 3, and she actually smiled which was a surprise. John was telling her how big it would make her grand jetes lol.

We told her that if she tries in class and behaves for 4 more classes (in a row) then she can make the decision to quit or not. That if she really wants to quit it would be foolish to throw tantrums and disrespect her coach/classmates. She told us foolish means 'knowing something will get you in trouble and doing it anyway.' Those are her words, so I'm sure she knows what the deal is. Should she be foolish, she will do her chores daily rather than weekly for the rest of the week (for disrupting her class), go straight to bed after dinner (7-ish, she'd only lose an hour) (for disrespecting her classmates/coach), and not get to watch her dvd's on the weekend (for disobeying her parents). Her chores are just emptying out the bathroom trashcans and washing the dog bowls, but she gripes anyway lol. Daily would make her head explode I'm sure.

I agree with what Bog said, I really want to nip this in the bud. I'm glad my husband stepped in, because she wasn't hearing me. Selective mom deafness! Anyway sorry for the book! We're going to hit it hard and see what she makes of it. John is pretty confident, me not so much. I think I'm going to have him bring her to class next Monday just to change it up and keep what's at stake fresh in her mind.
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Sounds like a good plan! Yay for Dads!!! Sometimes I will listen to something my hubby says and think, why couldn't I do that? LOL. Hang in there. Girls are a roller coaster ride, especially the spunky ones. :)
Sounds like a good plan! Yay for Dads!!! Sometimes I will listen to something my hubby says and think, why couldn't I do that? LOL.

SERIOUSLY!!! It seems so simple now. I think it did have to come from him though, she was already pretty steamed at me it would have been like talking to a wall. He used his 'super serious father voice' at first when it came to reminding her who is in charge during her activities; after that it was like tra-la-la be special, have fun, splits are for beautiful ballerinas and gymnasts yay! time.

Hang in there. Girls are a roller coaster ride, especially the spunky ones. :)

Hanging in here! I held my breath for her first evening of pre-bed splits, but she surprised me. That's good anyway! I'm really truly terrified of her teen years. We ended on a good note though before she went to bed. Did a vowel search in her school workbook and her spelling words, had popsicles since she got them all right the first try. Maybe all she really needed was a reality check on her boundaries, here's hoping!
Good job for being a great parenting team. Nice punishment, it fit the crime perfectly! If you can get a handle on her whilst she is small, and ratty, she will be easier to deal with in those teenage,hormonal years!
Parenting the way it should be, as a team.

We have found that tag teaming is really effective as well. Once Midget gets to the point she is not listening to one of us the other one steps in, usually after a cool down period.

Hopefully the time change will help. I know Midget would be totally useless that late in a class. And who knows? She may react better to the strict coaches.
Sounds to me like she's testing her boundaries and acting out because she misses her old coach--I think having coaches who make her follow the same rules as everyone else will be good for her in the long run! Love your DH's talk with her :)!!
To begin with, super job done by both you and dh. She may have a very clear picture in that 6 yo head that her past behavior is not going to get her anywhere. Oh, I'm sure she's seeing how far she can push the edge of the envelope and may have realized that since mom works at the gym, some coaches will "cave" a little if she doesn't want to do something. I think you may be on to something about the timing of the class too. Maybe later in the school year a later class would work, but for now................early class with strict coaches sound best.

Don't cave on the 4 weeks. She might be counting and if she acts up at week 3, then she's done----for now.

((((Hugs)))) x 2. You will survive this. Teenage years are a whole other story:)
Chalk (no pun intended) one up for the DADS...

For what it's worth, the fall my daughter was turning 5, right after the September schedule changes / increased expectations, she was so uncharacteristically horrible that I dragged her into the doctor for blood work about three weeks into September. I hate to punish them when they're really anemic, or dying, or something. After a clean bill of health I had to make it very clear that the boom was lowering. It didn't take long.

This fall as she's turning 6 and starting 1st grade expectations and more hours. I'm having a bit of trouble with her, but mostly mouthing off at me, and I know why it is -- SEPTEMBER. More school work, more time in class and gym, less sun. I believe she only got sent to her room once.

After the transition she's a content girl who works hard and values her activities and studies, but the transition time is not a happy one around here and she is an unruly scholar. Fortunately I think she is treating her coaches OK.
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