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CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
678
This was my DD as well. She also just finished L4 and turned 8 a couple months ago and I swear, the second she turned 8 fear (or perhaps vestibular issues?) kicked in. Skills she had already been working on and progressing on really well, she lost (BWO beam, flyaway, vault) and the only thing that didn't bother her was floor. It took nearly 4 months for her to get over it and the first of those 4 months was SO HARD as a parent. She cried all the time, couldn't sleep because of it, etc. It would have been so much easier to just let her quit, but she was the same as yours where once she was there, she was super happy and would come home on a high, but the dread of the skills she was struggling with was truly paralyzing for her. The funny thing is that per other parents, similar things happened to many of her teammates when they turned 8 the year before, but I think because my DD was a year younger, that fear and awareness just hadn't hit her yet.

We talked about it with her not in terms of gym but more in terms of how to handle anxiety and worry in general. We used a book called "What to do when you worry too much" and worked through the techniques with her. On a few of the days that started out rough but ended happy, her coach had her write down how she felt at the end of practice (happy, proud, etc) and to keep it with her so she could read it before practice. I took that a step further and had her also write down the feelings she experienced before those practices so she could compare start to finish. Her practice group is also made up of the most amazing group of girls who saw how she was struggling and made it a point to meet her at the door and walk her to the bathroom to all change together and hang out/socialize before practice to keep her mind off of things.

I still often feel a subtle sort of worry in MY head when it's time to practice, and I try super hard not to project that worry on her. Knock on wood, I think she's finally back in a good place, but man did it take a while. Be patient and encouraging. Parenting is so hard sometimes!
 

CuriousCate

Proud Parent
Jul 12, 2016
678
I still often feel a subtle sort of worry in MY head when it's time to practice, and I try super hard not to project that worry on her. Knock on wood, I think she's finally back in a good place, but man did it take a while. Be patient and encouraging. Parenting is so hard sometimes!

Spoke too soon! We just got back from a short trip and sure enough, my babysitter just texted that she's crying and complaining of a headache and stomach ache as they drive to practice... so I guess the nerves still get to her and are amplified after any break in routine!
 

John

Proud Parent
May 5, 2017
1,592
54
Dani's best friend has the same issue, she goes as far as to vomit after a break from gym. When I bring her to practice I feel responsible, we usually have a nice talk remind her it is her anxiety and all returns to normal. Don't feel alone.
 

Akl597

Proud Parent
Oct 16, 2014
49
42
This was my DD as well. She also just finished L4 and turned 8 a couple months ago and I swear, the second she turned 8 fear (or perhaps vestibular issues?) kicked in. Skills she had already been working on and progressing on really well, she lost (BWO beam, flyaway, vault) and the only thing that didn't bother her was floor. It took nearly 4 months for her to get over it and the first of those 4 months was SO HARD as a parent. She cried all the time, couldn't sleep because of it, etc. It would have been so much easier to just let her quit, but she was the same as yours where once she was there, she was super happy and would come home on a high, but the dread of the skills she was struggling with was truly paralyzing for her. The funny thing is that per other parents, similar things happened to many of her teammates when they turned 8 the year before, but I think because my DD was a year younger, that fear and awareness just hadn't hit her yet.

We talked about it with her not in terms of gym but more in terms of how to handle anxiety and worry in general. We used a book called "What to do when you worry too much" and worked through the techniques with her. On a few of the days that started out rough but ended happy, her coach had her write down how she felt at the end of practice (happy, proud, etc) and to keep it with her so she could read it before practice. I took that a step further and had her also write down the feelings she experienced before those practices so she could compare start to finish. Her practice group is also made up of the most amazing group of girls who saw how she was struggling and made it a point to meet her at the door and walk her to the bathroom to all change together and hang out/socialize before practice to keep her mind off of things.

I still often feel a subtle sort of worry in MY head when it's time to practice, and I try super hard not to project that worry on her. Knock on wood, I think she's finally back in a good place, but man did it take a while. Be patient and encouraging. Parenting is so hard sometimes!
Thank you so much for sharing your story and experience - it's nice to know I'm not alone! I've been told that 8 is when fears and anxieties start to show up. I guess for us it just happened to coincide with the injury.

She seems to be doing much better and for now the tears have gone away. I think I actually bought that book when we were having issues in the fall, but we didn't use it because she seemed to move past her issues. I should dig it out and start working with her so we have a plan if (or when) the anxiety returns. The other day she was complaining about missing practice because we are going on vacation. I told her she didn't even want to go, and she said she just got a little nervous. But she said she loves gymnastics because her coaches are so nice and she loves her friends. So it makes all the worry and the stress worth it to help her push through these challenges. I hope things get better for you and your DD too. You are right - this parenting thing is so hard!
 

gymdog

Coach
Jul 5, 2007
5,120
In case anyone is interested in the update - things took an unexpected turn last week. The anxiety returned and now DD is crying and not wanting to go to practice. She says she is scared of her RO/BHS/BT, her flyaway on bars and backwards vaulting, even though she's been doing those things for months. I talked to her coach yesterday and asked if we should move her back with the 3's (who will be 4's next month). She said she will talk to all the coaches and they will make accommodations to make her comfortable - more mats, more spotting, whatever she needs. She would like to try and get her to finish things out with her team and ideally to train 6 for the summer. She doesn't want her to lose all the skills she has gained (which has been my thought all along). So now I'm just worried about keeping her in gymnastics, regardless of what level she's at.

I thought we had gotten through all this in the fall. Do kids who go through things like this ever get over it completely? Or will we just have to deal with it as it occurs? It's so difficult when she's crying and I just want to make her feel better. The easy thing to do would be to quit, but once she's in the gym she's laughing, running all around and having a great time. After her difficulty in the fall she reached a point where she was happy to go to practice again, always wanting to get there early, loving learning new skills, and told me she was really glad she didn't quit. So this has all come as a bit of a surprise.

It sounds like she should repeat level 4, has vocalized that and that is the pace she is comfortable at. By pushing it and thinking she was just saying that because she is more comfortable with what she knows could definitely cause stress, negative experiences, and mental blocks. I recommend you and the coach go with your daughter's stated opinion of repeating 4 if you want her to stay in gymnastics. by then if the stress and negative experiences are removed I have no doubt she can go to 5/6. It's too bad your gym doesn't have level 5.
 
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