Anon Parents: If you knew then what you know now....

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Feb 16, 2022
783
Would you still have signed your child up for gymnastics in the first place? I stumbled across an old thread that really got me thinking about how parents feel after years in the sport, you can read the thread here.

So, if you knew the crazy road ahead, would you still have wanted your child to do gymnastics?
 
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Feb 16, 2022
783
DD is still in the lower levels, so it's not been super crazy for us yet. So far, gymnastics is the thing she's stuck with the longest, so I don't regret it. I have another child in sports and comparatively, I can say that non-gym sports also require a lot of time, money, and parent stress. I can't imagine doing this at upper optionals or elite levels, though!
 
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Feb 16, 2022
783
I think so, I had 2 in gym and one is now D-1 college the other one went into dance. My gymnast had the choice to play soccer instead, ultimately it was her choice. She never says she wished she chose soccer instead but she does say she’s not sure if she’d put her girls in gymnastics but they will play soccer.
 
Feb 16, 2022
783
@Gymx2 it was a GREAT thread!

My kid has only been on team a year so far, and I can already see how all-consuming gymnastics can become. As of right now, I think I’d still sign her up because she loves it. But, if I’m honest with myself, I hate how much of our family time it eats up. I don’t like planning my vacations around the gym schedule, and I really don’t like rushing through homework and dinner because practice goes so late. Most importantly, I worry about gymnastics culture, about nothing ever being good enough, and the effect it’ll have on her long term. I’m just not sure it’s worth the sacrifice… but find myself rationalizing it all because “she loves it”

I guess only time will tell
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
883
It's quite a trip down memory lane rereading the thread and I wonder what happened with some of those posters. There were so many thoughtful responses that gave me a lot to think about.

I would do it all over again for many reasons, but I also wonder what I’ll think about it all in another four years.
 
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Coach Kate

Coach
Fan
Oct 13, 2021
240
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I'm currently 11 weeks pregnant (for those of you who have read previous posts, I did miscarry our first and then conceived again very soon) and my husband is already not interested in gymnastics just based on what I've told him! I actually think I had a really good experience in the sport, and have coached at an Xcel only gym for the last 4.5 years which has also been a really positive environment and good experience for me. I think I would be open to a less stressful environment like the gym where I coach, but I would be such a picky gym mom! As long as we stay in the area and my bosses and coworker keep coaching the next 15-20 years, I would totally be a gym mom.
 

RTT2

Proud Parent
Oct 9, 2015
883
I'm currently 11 weeks pregnant (for those of you who have read previous posts, I did miscarry our first and then conceived again very soon) and my husband is already not interested in gymnastics just based on what I've told him! I actually think I had a really good experience in the sport, and have coached at an Xcel only gym for the last 4.5 years which has also been a really positive environment and good experience for me. I think I would be open to a less stressful environment like the gym where I coach, but I would be such a picky gym mom! As long as we stay in the area and my bosses and coworker keep coaching the next 15-20 years, I would totally be a gym mom.
Congrats on your pregnancy! Hope you are feeling well!
 
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gymgal

Gold Membership
Proud Parent
Aug 22, 2008
4,688
This was my answer from 4 years ago: Yes, If I had a do over, I still would have signed her up for those classes and let her go onto team. There are many things over the years I may have changed about her journey, in hindsight, but not whether I would let her pursue her passion. Of course, I am 15 years into this journey, and now know that gymnastics truly is her passion, one that she wants to continue it in college so I come from a different perspective.

She is now going into her senior year of college, competing D3 and still loving it. Coming to the realization that this will be her last year to compete and it is going to be a very emotional season for all of us. My thoughts from 4 years ago have not changed. I am content in our decision to introduce her to gymnastics and encourage her to pursue it competitively. Something that I didn't say originally is that I never really had doubts about our decision. Yes it changed the way our family developed, took vacations, etc but our other children were also in sports that did the same so it wasn't a major difference. We just found the "new normal" for us each step of the way.
 

NutterButter

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Proud Parent
Jan 24, 2013
900
This was my answer from 4 years ago: The longer my kid is in the sport the more I move into the NO column. It’s not a solid no, but is stronger than even 6 months ago.

Four years later and my answer is a solid 'no' (and this includes an overall enjoyable 2 years on a D3 team).
 
Feb 16, 2022
783
I'm strong in the "I don't know" category. lol. She's been very fortunate and really has had a very good run so far. Made it to level 10 at 14/8th grade. Never repeated a level/never skipped a level.. just a steady progression. No major trauma from gymnastics thank goodness. No abuse, no serious injuries (a couple of broken ankles is pretty much it), no mental blocks, no painful repetitive use issues. She's pretty much just been cruising along. So I honestly can't strongly say that I regret putting her in gymnastics or that we have had a bad experience.

On the other hand, there are some aspects of it that I am completely over and a large part of me dreams of her being done. First, the cost. It's just so darn expensive. The meets are already stressing me out. The cost of travel for one, but I also pretty much can't watch her at meets anymore because it makes me want to throw up. I get too nervous. I still like watching training videos, but actual meets where hitting matters, nope can't do it. But the main reason I am over it is she really doesn't have any friends left at gymnastics and I hate that for her. All of her teammates that she was close to have quit over the years. The ones left (and she has a huge team honestly) are ok at practice, but are very cliquish and do not include her in anything outside of practice. I honestly don't get it.. maybe it's my daughter's fault, but she just is always left out. There have been new girls that have joined and are almost instantly best friends with these girls, and then there is my daughter. I think part of it is that most (if not all) of the other families are wealthy and just have a different lifestyle and beliefs than we do. She's also kind of shy and I feel like I am holding her back, because I am also pretty quiet/shy. Idk, but I hate it for her. She does have friends outside gymnastics and she says that she wants to continue, but I just long for the old days when she (and I) had friends at meets to hang out with.

So some days I dream about how life would be if she was never a competitive gymnast and I do regret the decision. But it has brought a lot of happiness to her over the years and has definitely shaped who she is right now and so I don't think I would want to take that away even if I could.
 
Feb 16, 2022
783
100% I would. But we would have started at a different gym. The life lessons dd has learned from gymnastics are invaluable (confidence, grit, determination, hoal setting, work ethic, etc.). I've also seen how her gymnastics background has helped her succeed in other sports. She's doing xcel platinum now and it's such a perfect compromise with the lower hours but still really good coaching. So she can do what she loves (gymnastics) , but also explore other interest.
 

ReluctantGymMom

Proud Parent
May 11, 2020
357
32
Solid no.

Besides all the other issues, my kid is constantly in a state of injury.

Her ankle got better, she jacked up her knee 2 days later. Brace and crutches.

I’m frustrated for her, she was supposed to go to camp, to enjoy the light hearted side of gymnastics instead of the daily grind, but she can’t even walk on that leg. If I had known the number of injuries that would come up, I would have stuck her in swimming to begin with.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
783
My gymnast is retired now, and I have nothing but regret. If I'd never signed her up for gymnastics and let her join team, she'd probably still be happily enrolled in ballet. My career wouldn't have been destroyed by the stress of getting her to practice after school and during the day during the summer, along with physical therapy for the never-ending parade of injuries. She would never have been exposed to high-pressure coaching tactics that seem to have done permanent damage. We would have a lot more money and the whole family would be a lot happier.
 
Feb 16, 2022
783
Two years ago, I might have said yes glad she did it. But lately not so much. Although my daughter loves gymnastics and she has great friends and a lot of strength and determination she also has anxiety, disordered eating, and now a 1 and a 1/2-year battle with an ankle injury that I think quite possibly could end her career.

Like many gymnasts she had the dream for a very long time of doing college gymnastics. But we are not at a power gym, she developed a fear of going backwards, repeated levels several times, and now has perhaps a career ending injury. I don't think she understood how hard it was to get on a college team when she was younger, but by her junior year she realized and lowered her expectations appropriately. At this point though I just hope she can compete any level next year. I know failing to reach a childhood dream is not the end of the world, but as her mom it is breaking my heart right now watching her go through all these struggles. I know every sport has injury issues, but somehow, I feel like gymnastics injuries have a better chance of career ending at a young age given the physics of the sport.

Getting good coaching also seems difficult these days and with the history of abusive coaches yes sometimes I wish she had done something else. The thing I hate the most is her mental health and hope that someday she can get over the perfectionism that she has developed. I will say though that when she developed her fears so many years ago, I thought about pulling her out of gymnastics, but I also think she would have hated me for doing that, so it has always been her choice to stay. At this point I just hope she can get a positive result after two years of trying to get back.
 
Feb 16, 2022
783
Two years ago, I might have said yes glad she did it. But lately not so much. Although my daughter loves gymnastics and she has great friends and a lot of strength and determination she also has anxiety, disordered eating, and now a 1 and a 1/2-year battle with an ankle injury that I think quite possibly could end her career.

Like many gymnasts she had the dream for a very long time of doing college gymnastics. But we are not at a power gym, she developed a fear of going backwards, repeated levels several times, and now has perhaps a career ending injury. I don't think she understood how hard it was to get on a college team when she was younger, but by her junior year she realized and lowered her expectations appropriately. At this point though I just hope she can compete any level next year. I know failing to reach a childhood dream is not the end of the world, but as her mom it is breaking my heart right now watching her go through all these struggles. I know every sport has injury issues, but somehow, I feel like gymnastics injuries have a better chance of career ending at a young age given the physics of the sport.

Getting good coaching also seems difficult these days and with the history of abusive coaches yes sometimes I wish she had done something else. The thing I hate the most is her mental health and hope that someday she can get over the perfectionism that she has developed. I will say though that when she developed her fears so many years ago, I thought about pulling her out of gymnastics, but I also think she would have hated me for doing that, so it has always been her choice to stay. At this point I just hope she can get a positive result after two years of trying to get back.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
783
I also replied on that thread 4 years ago and my answer is still the same - no. I would not do it again.

My older kid has since quit at age 11/about to compete L8 after breaking the same bone twice and training in the midst of an insane abuse situation at our gym that resulted in her coach being suspended and a change of ownership of the gym (thankfully my kid was not one of the victims). Today, a full year later, I still harbor a ton of guilt for allowing her to experience so much stress to her mental and physical health at such a young age. It just becomes too consuming, like a full lifestyle choice for a family while still in elementary school. I honestly can't believe I let it get so far.

That said, I think there can be better ways to do it. My older kid was on was too fast of a path and I think that was never going to work for her or for most kids. Meanwhile my younger kid is following at a much slower pace...started team at the same too-young age, but after her 2nd season, due to coaching overhauls and COVID shut-downs, she and multiple of her similarly aged teammates have repeated enough that she is consistently 2-3 levels below where the older one was at each respective age. And I actually think this is exactly why she seems to be super happy and reasonably low stress most of the time. But the pace she's moving at won't likely lead to D1 college gym which currently is her stated goal, so I just really hope that she doesn't one day look back and regret all the time she invested. Not to mention that she is currently 3 weeks out from her second gym-related surgery so her comeback is still TBD. But at the moment, I don't regret it for her because it has been mentally healthy. Ask me again in 4 more years....
 
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Flippinmom

Proud Parent
Mar 11, 2022
35
So many insightful responses here. Even though it’s the gymnast’s journey and not ours, I feel we as parents walk right alongside them. Watching them struggle is just so gut wrenching sometimes. Even more so when they throw themselves into this amazing but brutal sport with so much passion, grit, and determination
 

GymDadWA

Proud Parent
Dec 30, 2017
316
43
Strong YES, gymnastics saved her with the pandemic, without the zooms with teammates and coaches she wouldn't have had enough of a connection with the outside world and I really worry what would have happened to her mentally.

Take out the pandemic, I don't know, she probably would have hit some walls sooner and maybe looked to see what else was out there, but at least until now the challenges she's faced have been they type of things that have built character.

Ask again in a few years and maybe there is an injury or a mental she hurdle she couldn't clear that would change my mind.
 
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Feb 16, 2022
783
My answer: I don't know.

The longer she's in it, the more clear it has become that there are more downsides than upsides in this sport, and more things that go wrong, than things that go well.

There are many upsides. Aside from things like time management, confidence, quality friendships, maturity, etc. there is the whole aspect of doing absolutely remarkable physical feats that very few can do. Gymnastics teaches them that they can do really hard things, and that is an incredibly valuable life lesson. How many of us get to have anywhere near the passion for anything, ever in our lives, and the privilege of pursing that passion, that some of our kids have for gymnastics? And there are really, really cool experiences including camps at the NTTC, going to Nationals and other big meets, being in the inner circle of a pretty amazing community, and more.

For me, the biggest downside/regret is that our family could never take off for an entire summer and live/work elsewhere. We could have done it with our jobs, and with the other kids' activities, but not with gym. Sure, we've gone on many vacations, but they were always limited due to gymnastics considerations, and that has been a pretty big bummer. First world problem for sure, but still.

Time will tell if her goal of NCAA is met and if it is, whether it's all it's cracked up to be. I hope someone asks this again in another four years!
 
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