Maureen Turner: We Are Family


I Let My Child Quit A Sport

Am I a Bad Mom?

My daughter, Rebecca, is 6 years old. She has been doing gymnastics since she was 1 and a half. Last year, her coach suggested she try out for the competitive team, so she did, and she made it.

At 5, competitive gymnastics is not all flips and tumbles; it’s more repetitive motion and stretching. 6 hours a week. That’s 3 hours, 2 days a week.

Rebecca’s interest started to wane in about January. It was then that she told me she didn’t want to do gymnastics anymore. I didn’t know what to do.

Gymnastics has been so great for her. She has incredible balance which made learning to skate a breeze. She is super flexible and she can do the splits perfectly all 3 ways. It has given her great strength, allowed her to meet new friends, and kept her little body in good shape.

I was never delusional about gymnastics; I didn’t think she would be a professional gymnast or anything. It’s not even an emotional thing for me; I was never in gymnastics.

So why was this such a difficult decision? Well, I guess part of it is the idea of quitting something. Especially something she is good at and it’s good for her. The other part is: kids are so fickle. I didn’t want her to quit and then regret it.

So, I told her she had to stick with gymnastics until the end of the school year.

Despite what the weather feels like, June is upon us, summer is coming... and so is the end of the school year.

I had my yearly parent interview with Rebecca’s coach last week, and she told me that she didn’t think Rebecca was “giving it her all”, she wasn’t “taking it seriously.” In my mind, I thought “Is that because she’s 6, or because she’s not interested?” In either case, I agreed and said I didn’t think she was either.

Then she told me that Rebecca would not move up to the next level for the summer, she would stay at 6 hours instead of moving to my mind, not a bad thing. She said she may be able to move up come the fall. I wondered how Rebecca would take this news since her friend was moving up.

At dinner we discussed what the coach had said. I told her she wasn’t moving up, but her friend was and Rebecca got a little teary. It was then that I asked the most important question of all, and her answer was very telling.

I asked her if she was upset because her friend was moving up or if she was upset because she would be doing gymnastics in the summer. She said she was upset because she didn’t want to do gymnastics anymore.

Done. No more gymnastics.

So, this summer I’m forcing her play soccer, which IS an emotional thing for me since I played from 5 to 32. I don’t know what I will do if she wants to quit. Can you force your child to play a sport until they’re an adult? What if I use that “So long as you live under my roof” theory?

Am I a bad mom?