For Parents How to get 8yr old to realize the importance of telling us of any pain?

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skygirlpc

Proud Parent
Mar 3, 2016
167
My 8yr old (training level 5) came out of practice last night limping. When we asked about it she said she was just being silly in her slides. Later at home we noticed the limp again and asked about it, again she denied it and even walked across the room without limping to prove she was fine. When we noticed it again she finally broke down and said she was scared that she wouldn't be able to go to gymnastics if she told us it was hurting. She is not getting pressure from coaches or us to do this, I truly believe the only pressure is from within herself. We tried to explain how important it is for us to know of any pain so that we can help get it taken care of before she injures it worse. She was very upset and remorseful for not telling us the truth but I'm not sure that our message was clear. Her little 8yr old brain doesn't seem to fully understand.
 

rlm's mom

Proud Parent
Aug 21, 2021
308
39
You can scare her a little, give her some examples what could happen if she doesn’t tell you i.e. injuries get worse… and then make it clear to her you only mean for her good, you want her to be healthy so she can do gymnastics better.
Find out more about her limp, how it happened etc to make sure its nothing to be concerned about.
 
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gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,655
Hiding injuries is pretty common with athletes especially if the injury is mild enough to get away it. Parents and coaches have to be on the lookout for indicators that something is amiss and act upon it. - "It seems you're limping/shaking out your wrist a lot/ standing odd. Let me take a look" - and then if it seems like an issue ask for more info, talk with the coach and make a dr appt. Be straight forward about it and don't harp on the fact that they are trying to hide it. This is a personality thing and the behavior is not going to change. The more you discuss it, the better they will get at hiding it from you.

Also assure them that injuries often do not mean they can't go to practice - just that that they have to modify some training.
 

BusyMomof2

Member
Feb 2, 2022
62
44
Our daughter hurt her forearm at home while practicing her floor routine and attempted to hide it, but it was clear she was in pain. She got defensive with me, so I had one of her assistant coaches, who she really adores, ask her about it and talk to her about the importance of identifying and caring properly for even the smallest injury. She didn't get defensive with him. She took it easy for 2 practices, so she saw that you still get to practice. This was minor, so I'm hopeful she remembers next time...but definitely following for any other ideas!
 
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JessSyd

Proud Parent
Oct 10, 2013
323
Sydney Australia
Here we talk about how little pains can be a body’s early warning system. They tell us that something isn’t quite right and give us a chance to change things before the little pains turn into big pains.

We talked about how when we catch injuries early, this is more likely to mean doing stuff like icing, or fewer repetitions, or briefly focussing less on one apparatus, or massage, or stretching, rather than missing practice.

We talked about how if you let little pains turn into big pains by hiding them, they can become harder to fix, and you might end up having to skip a lot of training to fix the problem.

And, like a previous poster, we had the coach have a chat with her too. That was good because it was a former gymnast to gymnast chat that couldn’t be dismissed as overprotective parents.

To be honest, she still has a tendency to train through pain, but at least she tells me about it now. And we pretty much have her sports physio on speed dial. (Sigh, I exaggerate, but not by much).
 

LucyRobinson

Gymnast
Feb 27, 2022
133
I agree, scare her a little bit. Explain how injuries often get better quickly if she rests them, but they can become more severe if she doesn't give them proper attention.

It's hard as a younger gymnast to manage your own pain and decide for yourself when that "stopping point" is. At home, I would remind her of the types of pain. For example, during conditioning or stretching, she might feel a sore muscle 'good' pain that feels like she is getting stronger. That is different than consistent pain in the ankle so she has to limp. Try to define when it is time to stop.

Even good coaches don't always notice pain, especially if the gymnast is doing a good job hiding it. Come up with a plan for what she can say. For her ankle or injuries in general, rehearse something like "Coach, I twisted my ankle last night and it has been bothering me during tumbling. Could I try a few tumbling passes and them move on to conditioning or drills? I want to make sure I'm still improving." This goes a lot farther than "Coach, my ankle hurts. Can I go to tumbletrak?"
 
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GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
301
43
If she starts doing skills with a compensation to account for soreness/injury that can sometimes train her to do the skill incorrectly and can make things more difficult for her down the road.
 
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raenndrops

Coach
Oct 24, 2009
6,788
The 'Wood, Ohio
Hiding injuries is pretty common with athletes especially if the injury is mild enough to get away it. Parents and coaches have to be on the lookout for indicators that something is amiss and act upon it. - "It seems you're limping/shaking out your wrist a lot/ standing odd. Let me take a look" - and then if it seems like an issue ask for more info, talk with the coach and make a dr appt. Be straight forward about it and don't harp on the fact that they are trying to hide it. This is a personality thing and the behavior is not going to change. The more you discuss it, the better they will get at hiding it from you.

Also assure them that injuries often do not mean they can't go to practice - just that that they have to modify some training.
This 100%!!!
I once hid 7 cracked ribs, a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist. At the time it happened, it was easy to hide. I was on a baseball team and we had to cancel practices for a week because of the field being flooded. My dad was my head coach. I had hurt myself jumping out of a tree (approximately 12-15 feet down) because it started raining. Landed wrong on the grass where we didn't know there was an old, uneven brick sidewalk under the grass. LUCKY for me, our dad was working 16 hour days at the time because of a problem at work, That lasted for 5 days. I made sure my mom and dad didn't see me limping or anything.
When it was time to go back to practice, dad asked me to get the bags (bat bag and helmet bag ... I usually grabbed the bat bag with my left hand and the helmet bag with my right. I would swing them over my shoulders and take them to the truck). Dad noticed something "off" about me, so he suggested we warm up a little before going to practice. Couldn't grip the bat tightly with my left hand. I could catch just fine, but reaching to field the ball was rough and throwing the ball back suffered.
Dad asked what happened. I told him. He went into the house and called the assistant coach. Let him know the bags were on the porch so he could swing by and get them and that he was taking me to the ER. For the first time since I had started playing baseball, I had to miss practices and a game. When I did come back, I was taped up and could only play 3 innings for a few games :( If I had told someone the day it happened, I could have missed a lot less.
 

MuggleMom

Proud Parent
Dec 22, 2016
808
Virginia
My kid has trouble talking about pain in terms of explaining what hurts and how much. So trying to figure out the best way to get your kid to explain the paid is half the battle. I would definately talk about injury and injury prevention when she's NOT hurt so she feels more comfortable and has the vocabulary to talk to you when she is hurt. We came up with plans to check first with a PT to see if additional evaluation is necessary (if its a smaller unclear injury) and she always liked the idea of getting a check without having to get xrays or definately be told she can't do something. I would talk about how in this sport you will always get hurt but identifying whats wrong early and getting help early means your out of gym less time. Also talking about how you can still go to gym to condition or see friends or do a modified practice is still always possible. But if she doesnt take care of her body she cant continue to do the sport. Once again talking about all this when shes not hurt may help her be more comfortable speaking up.
 

ldw4mlo

Proud Parent
Feb 13, 2015
6,432
62
My kid finished practice on a broken ankle. And tried to make light of a broken elbow…… I enlist the docs help
 
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