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gymbean

Proud Parent
Feb 10, 2021
1
40
My 13 year old is a platinum and spends about 20 hours at the gym a week, she loves it, happy as can be and super confident in herself outside of the gym. Her non gym friends have totally turned on her and are being awful — saying terrible things like ‘why do you spend so much time there, you won’t go to the Olympics’, ‘I bet you aren’t even that good’, ‘oh we stopped inviting you places cause you probably can’t go anyways’, ‘your shoulders are so big’. My daughter is devastated and feeling completely upside down.. I don’t know how to help. Has any other gym families experienced this? Any advice?
 
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Summer01

New Member
Aug 7, 2022
25
I have heard of similar stories at our gym. Its so sad and not nice but I think at the age the girls don't know how to better express their frustration that a friend they want to hang out with isn't available. I'm sorry. In the past we have encouraged more social activities with the gym girls because they're easier to plan around practice (even if they're short and sweet ice cream dates after practice etc).
 
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CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
681
Yikes. My kids definitely had stopped being invited to school parties, sleepovers etc by outside friends bc they "could never go" but comments on someone's physical appearance?!? NEVER acceptable - I'd coach her on a few body-positive replies and then encourage her to try and befriend some like-minded kids (driven kids deeply committed to something outside of gossip, etc).

"Girl, I work hard for these shoulders! Thanks, for noticing! [wink]"
"Yeah, they are pretty muscular, aren't they? I dunno about you, but I like being this strong."
"I work really hard to be muscular - makes it tougher to find a dress, but helps me flip my vaults and swing bars better, so I'm pretty proud of my big shoulders!"

That sort of stuff.

And to question commitment bc she won't go to the olympics, is just silly as most athletes committed to any sport at all, won't go beyond H.S. if they're lucky. These girls just seem to be a bit envious of her passion for something real in the world.
 

rlm's mom

Proud Parent
Aug 21, 2021
308
39
100% they’re just envious. I second all the above. Help her think of some confident replies for these comments. It is important though that she keeps her non-gym friends. She can try arrange a playdate on a non-gym day etc and show them she’s still interested. On gym days its probably easiest to keep to her gym friends - for timetable reasons.
Kids don’t mean to be nasty! They prob just don’t know better and are using your DD as a scapegoat.
 

catchingupmom

Proud Parent
May 4, 2022
29
Hi Gymbean, I know this is a bit late, but hopefully you will see it. For my daughter this was somewhat the norm until she his high school. She had the choice of several high schools in our city and chose to go to one where she knew next to no one attending. The first year was a bit rough, but she now has friends with similar non-gym interests who are also passionate about their extra curriculars which largely aren't the same as hers. However, they are also very committed kids that are putting in many hours at their passions as well. They don't spend a lot of time together outside of school but communicate frequently. She rarely talks to her old "friends" who weren't really that friendly. Hopefully things improve for your child and have faith it will get better - 13 is such a hard age.
 
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GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
301
43
My DD is a similar age and while her friends are super supportive (they have come to her meets and do sleep overs around her schedule) she is embarrassed by her physical abilities and where she once was always upside down or cartwheeling down hallways now pretends that she can't do things or doesn't want to draw attention to herself by doing something that "normal" girls can't do.

Her and her non-gym friends went to one of those Ninja gyms to play on the equipment and she didn't want to swing on the bars or climb the walls because the other girls couldn't and would sort of pretend to fall off things at the same point as the other girls. It made me sad seeing the competitive athlete in her hidden behind a shy teenager.
 
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ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,441
62
So odd, my kid was at a gymmie friends dive meet and met a non dive friend of her gymmie friend.

He said what is it with you gymnasts, you all have big shoulders. They/we all took it as a compliment. They have great shoulders
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,441
62
20 hours a week at 12 for Xcel? JMO too high

But that is the choice she is making part of that is giving up time with non gym friends. The reality is if people keep asking and they get no for an answer they stop asking. If she wants more time with non gymmies she needs to be willing to spend time with them.
 

Wendy

New Member
Nov 8, 2022
5
43
I have heard of similar stories at our gym. Its so sad and not nice but I think at the age the girls don't know how to better express their frustration that a friend they want to hang out with isn't available. I'm sorry. In the past we have encouraged more social activities with the gym girls because they're easier to plan around practice (even if they're short and sweet ice cream dates after practice etc).
My 13 year old is a platinum and spends about 20 hours at the gym a week, she loves it, happy as can be and super confident in herself outside of the gym. Her non gym friends have totally turned on her and are being awful — saying terrible things like ‘why do you spend so much time there, you won’t go to the Olympics’, ‘I bet you aren’t even that good’, ‘oh we stopped inviting you places cause you probably can’t go anyways’, ‘your shoulders are so big’. My daughter is devastated and feeling completely upside down.. I don’t know how to help. Has any other gym families experienced this? Any advice?
 

Wendy

New Member
Nov 8, 2022
5
43
Find a like-minded friend. My dd's friends didn't invite her either because she is always busy, and her friends are very quiet and non-sporty. Then she found a friend who is also very sporty and into basketball. They have sleepovers on weekends and holidays sometimes as they are busy on weekdays. She is really happy to find her.
 

catchingupmom

Proud Parent
May 4, 2022
29
It made me sad seeing the competitive athlete in her hidden behind a shy teenager.
I think it is just the age and wanting to fit in/not be too different. She'll grow in her confidence and it just won't be an issue anymore. I'd just try and encourage her to embrace her strengths. Talk about other things that are different that her friends may have as a particular talent or skill. That way she comes to see that everyone has unique talents and we don't need to hide them. Hang in there dad!
 

Srose

Coach
Gymnast
Fan
Nov 4, 2020
24
27
My 13 year old is a platinum and spends about 20 hours at the gym a week, she loves it, happy as can be and super confident in herself outside of the gym. Her non gym friends have totally turned on her and are being awful — saying terrible things like ‘why do you spend so much time there, you won’t go to the Olympics’, ‘I bet you aren’t even that good’, ‘oh we stopped inviting you places cause you probably can’t go anyways’, ‘your shoulders are so big’. My daughter is devastated and feeling completely upside down.. I don’t know how to help. Has any other gym families experienced this? Any advice?
Solution? Stop being friends with those people. “That’s harder than it sounds”. Not really when she realizes that those people didn’t value her and they won’t actually like her more if she quits gym.

Context for me: I did level ten and quit around age 15/16 so believe me, I lived that mess for about 10-12 years. I hated being bullied but I realized that gymnastics made me happier than shallow friends did. Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Showing her strong role models who were teased for being buff like Aly Raisman and Simone Biles may be helpful. Even if she quits gym, these are still bad friends.
 

JPC13

Proud Parent
Mar 25, 2022
336
Even if she quits gym, these are still bad friends.
I think that's the main takeaway. I've always tried to instill the idea in my daughter that having no friends is superior to having bad friends. That's a very useful lifelong lesson for people -- so many of life's problems come from being around people (peers, boyfriends, whatever) who don't actually care about your well being. Being able to see those people for what they are is key.