Parents Role of Parents at the Gym

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Our gym allows parents to watch from a loft upstairs. My son is almost 5 and has been doing gymnastics for two years. He is in a rec class with 5 and 6 year olds. In the class that he is in there are a group of boys whose parents are all friends. Two months ago the boys were doing floor and my son pushed this other boy. His mother called to the coach from above and told on my son. Yesterday I was talking to the owner downstairs. When I got upstairs this woman said are you .....'s mother and I said yes and then she started to scream at me saying that my son punched hers. Now the coach sat my son down and made him apologize. She then said that my son hits the other kids every week and that they have all complained. I explained to her that the coaches have never said anything to me. She continued to scream about how I need to do something about this. I then went back upstairs and was told that they have not complained and that my son has not hit other kids. I mean they all shove each other. I ended up switching my sons calss because I did not want to deal with this mom and another day is more convient for us.

I personally do not think parents should be getting involved in these situations and leave it up to the coaches. What do people think?
As a coach, if I have a problem with a child misbehaving I talk to the child about appropriate behavior in class and explain that it might be different than what is expected at home. I also talk to the parents to make them aware of what is going on in the class, and I inform them that I have talked to their child about appropriate class behavior. I also check with the parent and see how they deal with things at home because often times situations are handled differently at home and children are taught to act a certain way (it often takes them a while to realize the difference between play time and serious time).

I think that the situations should be handled by the coach and the parent of the agressor (if that is the case and please know that i'm not saying that your child is an agressive child). If the situation gets completely out of hand I would talk to the parents of all the children involved.

I'm not a parent so I can't comment from the parents side, but I would think that I would leave it up to the coach being that they are in charge of the class. As a coach, I don't care for the parents who try to take control of the class from the sidelines. I was also taught by senior staff members to ask one of them for assistance if it is needed.
If the boys were all just messing around, that's one thing. If the boys were getting aggressive towards each other, then I would involve the parents. I tend to be a pretty tough coach and don't have many problems, but there are occasional situations.

Involving the parent's can happen in a couple of ways.

  1. The first can just be an informational talk. Something like, "We had a few issues in class today, I just wanted to let you know about them."
  2. The second would be if something aggressive (fighting) happen. This one would be more along the lines of, "We had some very unacceptable behavior in class today that we all (coach, parent(s), and gymnast(s)) need to talk about immediately." That would go into a 5 min. sit down meeting on what is expected at the gym.
With boys classes, respect and discipline are a major part of the class. By instilling these values, classes run smoother and more boys join the program.
Discipline in class is something that should be dealt with with the coaches directly. If the coach felt that there was a problem with the behavior they should have come to you and if other parents felt that there was something disturbing in class they should have gone to the coach. Parents should not deal with situations upstairs while viewing, unfortunately when parents sit upstairs together they can create problems that are not really a problem. The coach is most likely dealing with the situation and should be given a chance to deal with it, without parents yelling from upstairs what they missed.

I feel it is important to teach our children to speak up when something happens, a parent should not have to yell from upstairs if their child got pushed. If it is something that bothered him he needs to "use his words" by telling the other child and the coach.

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