younger gymnasts with older gymnasts?

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Gymgirlsmom

New Member
Aug 15, 2009
25
the gym-no kidding LOL
Hi guys,
I don't know if you read my intro but my DD is almost 8 years old and will be competing L7 this upcoming season (1 L6 meet to score out). She is the only one being fast tracked, so she is going to be with girls 12+. Her level 5 team was mainly 10 and under so she fit in pretty well and will be leaving behind all her friends. All her friends will be doing a second year of L5 so she won't be competing with them and training schedules are different in the gym. She is intimidated and scared to be with the older girls all the time because she's afraid they will pick on her (which will be a slim chance because they seem like very nice girls)

Can you help me out with this? TIA

GGM
 

JBAGWELL

New Member
Feb 10, 2009
8
Des Moines, Iowa
My daughter is also 7, and moving up faster than most of her friends. She and one other girl her age are basically doing the same thing your daughter is, except they will be competing once at L5, then moving (probably) to L6. At least they have each other, but they, too, will be leaving most of their buddies behind. On the L6 team at our gym, there will be these 2 who are going into third grade, then 2 fifth graders, then a 7th and an 8th grader.

First, let me say that the older girls are basically good kids. I certainly am not afraid to have them working together, but I know she will encounter that pre-teen/tean attitude. My dd's friend has already had a little bit of trouble with the older girls. She describes them as "snotty". Basically, they will say things like "You're such a baby" if they think the younger ones are getting special treatment or asking for special things. Or they will walk away from the younger ones saying "You're too little to hear this." And it's not always WHAT they say as much as HOW they say it...with attitude.

Aside from just being a difficult age (anyone remember jr high fondly??) it's also perfectly understandable that older girls will be jealous of younger ones at the same level. Who wouldn't be, right? They may resent it when our daughters make tricks look easy, especially if it's a trick they are struggling with.

I've warned my daughter than some girls can be a little mean, sometimes without even meaning to. But I've also told her that sometimes they are mean on purpose. And I've advised her to just ignore as much as she can, unless it is really hurtful or gets out of hand. But the point I've tried to really get across to her is to not be braggy about how well she is doing. Self-confidence & pride in your work is awesome, but I've tried to teach her how to express those things without putting others down at the same time.

And the time my friend's dd had a problem with the older girls, my friend ended up telling her daughter that they were all a little bit to blame. In this particular situation, the coach should have put a stop to her daughter's questions, AND the older girls should have left it up to the coach and not gotten involved, AND the child herself should also have known better.

I'm never one to say that a child deserved being treated badly, but at the same time, I want my daughter to understand that she often contributes to the problem. Things are rarely completely one-sided.

Ok, that is a much longer answer than I intended!! But I hope it helps. Incidently, the girls we are more worried about are the girls they are leaving behind. A few of those girls did 2 years on L4 and are barely moving to L5, but our girls are now passing them by. I think those are the girls who are more likely to be mean to our girls. We've already had a little bit of that because our girls did TOPs this year and the others weren't invited to.

Good luck! And give your dd our congratulations on her progress!
 

Gymgirlsmom

New Member
Aug 15, 2009
25
the gym-no kidding LOL
Thanks fishchimes! DD doesn't cry too often- only when hurt or frustrated. She is just intimidated by the older girls and scared she won't have friends. I tried explaining that they will like her for who she is, and not her age. My younger daughter, Sophia, is upset she won't get to see her sister anymore (compulsories and optionals have different schedules)
 

Gymgirlsmom

New Member
Aug 15, 2009
25
the gym-no kidding LOL
First, let me say that the older girls are basically good kids. I certainly am not afraid to have them working together, but I know she will encounter that pre-teen/tean attitude. My dd's friend has already had a little bit of trouble with the older girls. She describes them as "snotty". Basically, they will say things like "You're such a baby" if they think the younger ones are getting special treatment or asking for special things. Or they will walk away from the younger ones saying "You're too little to hear this." And it's not always WHAT they say as much as HOW they say it...with attitude.

Aside from just being a difficult age (anyone remember jr high fondly??) it's also perfectly understandable that older girls will be jealous of younger ones at the same level. Who wouldn't be, right? They may resent it when our daughters make tricks look easy, especially if it's a trick they are struggling with.

I've warned my daughter than some girls can be a little mean, sometimes without even meaning to. But I've also told her that sometimes they are mean on purpose. And I've advised her to just ignore as much as she can, unless it is really hurtful or gets out of hand. But the point I've tried to really get across to her is to not be braggy about how well she is doing. Self-confidence & pride in your work is awesome, but I've tried to teach her how to express those things without putting others down at the same time.

The whole pre teen\teen against a younger child is mainly MOM'S problem LOL. I don't want her coming home saying she got ignored and such. At least I know my daughter isn't the only one going through this. Thanks- this was a very helpful post!
 

dreamofgymnastics

New Member
Nov 3, 2008
7
Hey, im 14, and i train with mostly people my age. But there are a few younger girls and we all get along just fine.:) I actually like some of the younger girls a little better. They're less dramatic and overall super-sweet. Most of us older girls love the younger ones. Don't worry, she'll probably be fine.
 
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gym law mom

Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
Honestly I think your dd will do fine. Yes, these girls are at different points in their lives----middle school is way different from elementary school. Many kids who are the same age can be quite nasty to each other. Don't necessarily break ties with girls from her current team. She can still do things with them that might be more age appropriate. I wouldn't take it as a slight either if dd doesn't get an invite to say a 14yo teammate's birthday party. I think overall, she'll find the older girls more like big sisters and after a short time nobody will really think about age difference unless its brought up.
 

Gymgirlsmom

New Member
Aug 15, 2009
25
the gym-no kidding LOL
Thanks! I think it's going to be kind of weird, like you said Middle school is a lot different from Elm. They will be talking about boys, make up, etc. (these are a VERY close knit group of girls) I don't want DD to feel left out or I don't want them to think DD as a tag along. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.:rolleyes:
 
C

cathiann

Jumping in a little late, but wanted to say--my own DD is the youngest optional on our team at the moment--not by a ton (next youngest is about 9 mos older), but the older girls DO include her in most out of practice stuff and chat with her at practices, etc. I think it would only be an issue if they felt someone was gettng special treatment. They might be slightly jealous of your DD's ability, but if your DD isn't giving off attitude ('oh look how great I am!"), then I'm sure it'll be fine. Since there is an age difference, she might not find a "best friend" on team right away, but she will have girls acting like big sisters to her :).
 
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canadiangymmom

Active Member
Jun 26, 2006
566
Ontario, Canada
Hi,

I'm jumping in a bit late too, but wanted to give you another positive experience. My dd has always been the youngest in her group. Sometimes by a little (1 year) other times by several. The 2 teammates she carpooled with last year were both 15, and Bean was 9.

We've had nothing but positives! The girls spend so much time together training that the really do adopt a sisterly relationship. Bean has been invited to birthday parties of 14/15 year olds, and we've had a few over here and on outings too.

The only suggestion I have is that your dd be her sweet self, and work her hardest, especially in the 1st month. Work ethic was what won my dd's teamates over, according to her coach. Initially they saw her as more of a cute little mascot:)

Good luck to your dd, I'm sure she'll belong in no time!
 

Ingwe

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
760
Region 8
My dd is 10 and is a L7. She and one other girl are the only elementary age girls in the group. (the rest are 14 yrs old) I will be honest, in the begining of the summer I was really second guessing my decision to have her moved into this group. (she is also skipping L6. Her score out meet is on 8/29 ) Those older girls were what she called "snotty" and not overly nice. BUT, after two months of being together, getting to know one another, things have worked out. She does come home with more information then I think she should have at 10 but there is not a whole lot I can do about that. LOL!

Tracy
 
C

cher062

If she is into gymnastics (which at L7 we know she is) it really wont' mnake a difference. OUr L7 team is from age 10 - 14 and they all get along fine. after being together for a month or so she will have some new teammates that will be new friends for her. At the meets too there will be girls competing at her age level so she will see that even though they are not at her gym there are girls her age competing at her level.

She should be fine.
 

gymluvr33

Active Member
Jul 31, 2008
580
New Hampshire, USA
I know I'm jumping in really late, but I just wanted to say good luck to her, and make sure she knows not to feel slighted or that the older girls don't like her if they don't invite her to sleepovers or out of gym things like that. When I was in L6 (last year), the Level 6 team consisted of 5 older girls (12-15), and one girl that was 9. We were all good friends and we talked to the younger girl, but when we were planning sleepovers, we didn't invite her to the events. It wasn't at all because we didn't like her, it was just the difference in ages made it difficult, and we knew we were going to be talking about things we didn't really know if she should be hearing about yet (aka boys, school drama, etc.). Basically, if she isn't invited to out of gym events, it probably isn't because they don't like her, it is most likely just because they are thinking it would be too awkward, or they think she wouldn't have much fun. Sorry for the length, but I hope it helped.
 

Reecee

Member
May 16, 2009
70
Texas
I have trained with girls that are 17, and we all get along fine. They were actually really supportive and gave me lots of advice.
 

Gillatard

Member
Dec 24, 2008
97
Marysville
She should be fine, us "older girls" aren't mean or anything. I remember when I was younger and I would watch the "big girls" I thought that. But just as long as she isn't extremely immature which considering she is skipping a level at that age I doubt she is then things should be fine. At our gym we have a bunch of new younger level 4's and we had practice with them and it was funn :) Some of them are MAJORLY annoying but they are so cuteee :) But yeah she should be fine when it comes to the older girls they will probably take her in as a little sister. But that's to bad that she wont get to see her old friends much.
 

Tumblequeensmom

Proud Parent
Feb 19, 2007
1,453
I also have to jump here in as well. My DD is oldest one on her level 7 team (14), followed by several 12 year olds and then the younger ones. They truly are a "team" in every sense of the word. I think the older ones treat the younger ones as "little sisters". There haven't been many problems at all with the girls getting along.

I do have to say, however, that some hurt feelings have been produced when the LITTLE ONES are the ones bragging about "how the skills are just so easy and why can't you get it like I do?" I know the coaches have pulled them aside a few times to discuss how people progress at different rates, smaller bodies are easier to flip around, etc. So I think our coach really handles any issue that comes up very well. They just need to be aware of what's going on and get ready to nip any cattiness in the bud!
 

Flippers Mom

Member
Jul 20, 2009
200
Region 3
I'll chime in late, too. Flipper was the only optional level gymnast, so worked out mostly with the girls on the local high school team when they were at the gym. While the older girls love her and treat her like a little sister, they are at such different places in their lives. She found the drama of boyfriends (they don't like girls with rough hands or big muscles) difficult. The older girls were perfectly nice girls, it's just that they would ask if anybody had a tampon in front of Flipper. My DD got really attached to these girls, but we eventually changed gyms so that she could have kids her own age at her level (and a team to compete with). Flipper is still friends with the older girls - they text each other regularly and they try to make it to a meet each year to watch her compete. She goes to high school meets when she can to cheer for them.
 

Ingwe

Proud Parent
Apr 14, 2009
760
Region 8
The tampon thing made me laugh. My dd (10) came home last week totally freaked out by the whole tampon thing. She had NO CLUE (we are still at the very basic level with those discussions) she was practically crying at the mere thought of using one. She is with a group of older girls and these are the things they talk about. But boy was she twisted by it all. LOL!!

Tracy
 
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