or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting the Gifted Child › athletically gifted
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

athletically gifted

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

DD1 is 8, heading into 3rd grade. We know she is a bright child but no idea beyond that, she is dyslexic, has SPD, and struggles with anxiety. What she does do well is sports, lots of them. She rarely meets one she doesn't like. Because she does struggle in life in other areas, I've always felt it was important to let her do what she is good at. 

 

She is on pre-team for gymnastics, swim team in the summer, snowboard team in the winter, she white-water kayaks, and then danced some for fun. These are the paired down sports, the ones she really loves. Today is what sent me over the edge. First week of a day dance camp and I get ambushed at the door by the instructor asking me if I had any idea how talented DD1 is. They want her for the dance team. 

 

I feel like I already spent half my life in the car going from sport to another, she is the oldest of soon to be 4 children. DH stays late in town already many nights to pick her up from practices, it really eats into our limited family time. The other children that are old enough to do sports also do them, but obviously not at her level, and honestly most of them probably never will. Heck, the child already out boards many an adult, there is no way I could keep up with her anymore. I just can't say no, pick one sport, she has so much energy, never tires out, eats, sleeps and breathes her sports. If she isn't off doing one of them, then she is pestering us endlessly around the house. We've never pushed her, it has always been lead by her, she is one driven child. I don't doubt that she will end up as a serious athlete one day, which sport(s) will be the big question. 

 

I know I can't be the only parent in this boat, struggling to balance one child's talents with the rest of the family. 

post #2 of 11

I have an 8-year-old who is a little like yours. With my kid the talents are less loaded in sports and physical pursuits and more evenly distributed ... and the other difference is that she's the youngest in a family of four kids. So I think it's been easier for us to find the balance. Her older siblings already had big dibs on family time and parental energy when she started poking her bright little head into this and that. And I'm less tempted to encourage her at every opportunity because she doesn't need success to balance out any areas of challenge she struggles with.

 

Anyway, for what it's worth, I've had no trouble limiting my kid to introductory classes and non-competitive streams in all but a couple of areas. Just because she has "striking potential" in dance and aikido and gymnastics and soccer and figure skating and running (and math and writing and 2nd language study and science) doesn't mean she needs to realize that potential in every area. What I've done is to look at the community of support, the depth of teaching/mentoring, the philosophy of the studio/club, the long-term prospects for healthy growth of my child, and her passion and affinity for various activities, and chosen one or two extra-curricular pursuits in which to encourage her to excel. These I allowed her to delve very deeply and passionately into. Yes, they've taken up a lot of time, but it's easier to do 12 hours a week of violin than 2 hours a week of six different activities. The other areas we treat as recreational, on-again-off-again, exposure-type activities and yes, I've had to smilingly and graciously acknowledge the encouragement of the dance instructor who has begged us to get our kid into a serious ballet program. I had to deal with the flabbergasted piano teacher who couldn't believe that a barely-7-year-old who was playing so well, advancing so rapidly and clearly loved music was quitting piano lessons.

 

The reality is that in our family we cannot have four kids passionately pursuing more than a couple of different areas each, because for these kids passion means PASSION -- large, committed, time-consuming. (We are also rural, and things like violin lessons or gymnastics practices may involve hours of travelling.) So we've had to ration our time and energy to balance everyone's needs. Even if you're managing to hold it all together at this stage, I would keep open for discussion the issue of "balancing our family time to meet everyone's needs" with your dd. Give her the support she needs to have one or two activities to which she is deeply committed, but do get both her and yourself used to the idea that it is simply not possible or sustainable to pursue everything in depth just because one has talent. "What do you want your main summer sport to be, and what else can we fit in around the edges easily?" That sort of discussion is one you'll likely need to revisit repeatedly over the seasons and years.

 

Good luck!

 

Miranda

post #3 of 11

Some of her chosen activities seem seasonal, ie snowboarding, kayaking, summer swim team.  The gymnastics and dance go all year, correct?

 

I understand wanting to have your child experience success, and balance the places where she struggles, with places where she has mastery.  We do that here as well.  But, at a certain point, if the schedule isn't working for your family, and you're feeling overrun, or over committed, it's time to be the parent and set some limits.  You can absolutely say 'here are your choices, we can manage to do two of them this fall/spring/summer.  Which would you choose?".  She can't have this kind of schedule without your arranging it for her.

 

I have also found that breaks from activities can provide some perspective.  Either my kids love the activity so much that they are asking to return, or they have needed the break to give them the space to re-evaluate.  My kids are busy-they could go all the time.  But, they need some guidelines, and we need family time, so we do make choices.  There isn't anything on that list of your dd's except perhaps gymnastics, that would be affected by taking a semester or seasonal break.  And even that wouldn't be a big deal to me, although you may be invested differently.

post #4 of 11

I know you hate to do it, but you just have to say "no." Believe me, it's a lesson that took me a long time to learn but we're better off for it.

 

Some BTDT tips..... reach out to other parents for carpooling. I know it's harder at the younger ages when parents still want to watch everything but soon, that will shift. Instead of 5 different sports... let her take 1 seriously. Going the same place 3 or 4 afternoons a week is WAY better than going 4 different places. Plus, the focused and higher level activities can be more physically and intellectually stimulating and perhaps she wouldn't still be bouncing off the walls at home. When you are home, put your foot down on the pestering. She absolutely needs to figure out how to handle her unstructured time and she won't until she has too.

 

Don't worry about coaches and wanting her on their teams. They are programmed to recruit and it doesn't neccessarily mean anything. What makes a dancer good at 8 doesn't neccessarily mean they are cut-out to do it professionally. If your DD was destined for dance greatness, she'd be telling you "this is what I want and I'll give up everything else to do it." Kids that have real passions absolutely will make choices when they have to.

 

Family health is incredibly important. Your other kids are incredibly important. Just say no mama! Or better yet, sit your DD down and let her figure out what to say "no" to. It's a lesson they need and in the long run, a kid who has been taught to consider the well being of her whole family when making choices is a better person for it.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

DD1 is 8, heading into 3rd grade. We know she is a bright child but no idea beyond that, she is dyslexic, has SPD, and struggles with anxiety. What she does do well is sports, lots of them. She rarely meets one she doesn't like. Because she does struggle in life in other areas, I've always felt it was important to let her do what she is good at. 

 

She is on pre-team for gymnastics, swim team in the summer, snowboard team in the winter, she white-water kayaks, and then danced some for fun. These are the paired down sports, the ones she really loves. Today is what sent me over the edge. First week of a day dance camp and I get ambushed at the door by the instructor asking me if I had any idea how talented DD1 is. They want her for the dance team. 

 

I feel like I already spent half my life in the car going from sport to another, she is the oldest of soon to be 4 children. DH stays late in town already many nights to pick her up from practices, it really eats into our limited family time. The other children that are old enough to do sports also do them, but obviously not at her level, and honestly most of them probably never will. Heck, the child already out boards many an adult, there is no way I could keep up with her anymore. I just can't say no, pick one sport, she has so much energy, never tires out, eats, sleeps and breathes her sports. If she isn't off doing one of them, then she is pestering us endlessly around the house. We've never pushed her, it has always been lead by her, she is one driven child. I don't doubt that she will end up as a serious athlete one day, which sport(s) will be the big question. 

 

I know I can't be the only parent in this boat, struggling to balance one child's talents with the rest of the family. 



 

post #5 of 11

Well, first of all, if you have to drop something, and she doesn't have a strong preference, drop gym.  Don't get me wrong, gym is great.  My DD7 does 4 hours of gym a week, DS6 goes 9 hours.  However, particularly with the girls, it has no realistic longevity.  Its practices are, at most gyms, absolutely inflexible.  The chances of NCAA participation are very low.  Getting to the top of the sport is survival of the least injured. 

 

Swimming on the other hand is very flexible in most clubs.  There will be 5 or 6 practices scheduled a week and you go to maybe 4 at that age.  There might even be great overlap between the practices of your kids of different ages and abilities.  Competition is not usually stressed early on.  You won't be required right away to commit weekends to meets.

 

What can she bike to?

 

Can you move into town so she can bike to more things?

 

Have you considered home schooling so that some of her activities can be enjoyed during the day so that your evenings are not so crazy?

 

 

post #6 of 11

For us, unfortunately, we've been at it a long time and have yet to find a balance.  My middle son plays both high level ice hockey and lacrosse.  He has been playing travel hockey since he was 6 and travel lacrosse since he was 8.  He turns 15 today.  His older sister and younger brother have yet to find their passions.  They have been in so much recreationaly but have yet to find their love.  But I have spent so much time and $$ on him, I know it's not fair.  Last week while at camp I got a call on Tuesday about a broken stick while I was out with my other 2.  Since he was an hour away and needed it no later than in 3 hours I had to run over.  The other 2 were given the option of running over with me (what fun, not!) or continuing to hang out downtown and take the bus home which luckily has a stop 3 houses down from us.  You can guess what they picked.  After years of having to go to 40+ hockey games a season (now 70+), they almost never go anymore unless it's somewhere interesting.  Fargo, ND (13+ hours in the car each way for a 2 day stay) - NO, Albuquerque, NM (6 hours each way for a 1 day stay) - one came one didn't. 

 

All this to day, with multiple kids when one in particular is pursuing an incredibly time consuming activity(s) I don't think it can always be "fair".  I just have to be....the best you can do for each child.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Huge, long post and it is gone! irked.gif The shorter version is that yes, some of the sports are seasonal, but can be extremely intensive when it is their season. Snowboarding is 4 months long, but at least 1 night a week and 1 weekend, with other nights and days thrown in. The one weekend day requires travel to a resort almost 2 hours away. Kayaking is mostly 3 months, but practice in other months at the rec or kayak center. Gymnastics we have done year around for a couple years now but we right now taking our first 2 month break, mostly because I'm pg and due this summer. 2 nights a week right now for her level and 3-4 nights when she gets moved to team. She won't be "making it" in gymnastics, very rural area, small gym, but she adores it and doesn't care. We just this year started doing swim team in the summer only, it used to be spring/summer/fall. Practice is 2-4 days a week depending on her other activities and how many days I can get her to the pool. 

 

Dance team will require 3 nights a week, during the entire school year, one night would be one class after gymnastics practice which doesn't phase her. 1 extra day of practice on a weekend once a month. Her regular night of snowboarding in the winter doesn't start until 5pm after dance. 3 recitals, 1 play thingie, and 2 competitions. All competitions for dance or gymnastics is across the state due to our rural area. Right now she is dancing for 3 weeks 4 days a week almost all day and now she would be required to do a camp in August. 

 

We used to homeschool so it isn't like I am completely opposed to the idea but her and I homeschooling together just did not work. Her dyslexia is very severe, she has a private therapist an hour 4-5 days a week, she comes to our house at 7:30am in the summer so DD1 can still do all her sports and then to her school during the school year. Her school, while not specially for learning disabled, is a private one that is very used to children like her. She is one of numerous children like her and has thrived there beyond my wildest dreams, she was not thriving when we homeschooled. That just adds to the schedule issue though, no bus service and a 20 minute drive each way. We live out of town 7 miles, the real estate market crashed so bad that we are completely upside down in our house, we would LOVE to be in-town. Unless 100K dropped into my account someway, there is no way we can sell our house. No one in any of her sports lives remotely by us, and while there are 2 families nearby that attend the same school, we all have too many children and way different schedules to car pool. DD1 has to be to school 15-30 minutes early to work with her therapist and no one wants to bring their kids to school that early, I don't blame them. I spent hours a day in the car driving back and forth. If we have an event 1.5 hours away or less then it is too far to come home so we just sit in town. DH can't come home and spend time with us if DD1 is done say at 6:30pm because of the 20 minute drive each way to most places, it just isn't worth it. Being in town would make everything so much easier, except snowboarding since we are closer to the resorts, but that is seasonal rather then my every day drive to regular places. 

post #8 of 11

My kids, one of whom is academically gifted and the other is average academically, are both really into and good at sports. I limit them to 1 or 2 a season depending on how time consuming they are-- right now my 8 yr. old is doing swim team 4 days a week (3 practices and 1 very long meet) and soccer practice one day a week-- soccer will be 3-4 days a week in the fall but swim team will only be 2. My 5 yr. old also does soccer 3x a week in the fall and spring, playing up an age group. 

Honestly, there just isn't time for them to play all the sports they'd like to play. You have to either make them prioritize, or stick to recreational leagues that are only 1-2 hours a week per sport. 

post #9 of 11

I wonder if you can work out a swap, with someone who's intown and would love to be in the country but can't afford to sell right now?

 

It sounds very hard on you.  I know people tend to act aghast at my schedule of driving kids to stuff, and I only have 2 kids and do live intown where most stuff is 10mins away. 

 

What helps me is carpooling (which you can't do because you're out of town) and selecting programs based on location rather than trying to find an ideal fit for my child in the program.  

 

Is there any chance she would be capable of biking in between some of these activities, e.g., if you drove her with her bike to school, and then she biked to gym, and then biked to dance team, and then got picked up?

 

I know I wanted to do many things at your daughter's age but my parents said no because we lived out of town and they were not willing to do the driving / alter the schedule.  In the long run it's not the be all and end all of a happy life, but I would have liked to have tried some of those things seriously.

 

 

post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post

 

 

I know I wanted to do many things at your daughter's age but my parents said no because we lived out of town and they were not willing to do the driving / alter the schedule.  In the long run it's not the be all and end all of a happy life, but I would have liked to have tried some of those things seriously.

 

 


And this is exactly why we keep the schedule we do. Growing up I also lived out of town in the middle of nowhere and I was not allowed to do any activities because my mom didn't want to come pick me up. I remember desperately wanting to do things, it got to a point in high school where I just wanted to do anything instead of riding the bus home directly after school every single day. Eventually it backfired against my parents, I got into a lot of trouble being bored, having no hobbies or interests besides reading, and friends that were all busy doing their own activities. Suddenly my younger sibling was allowed to do activities when they had always refused me. 

 

 

We live in a very rural area, there is usually only one choice for anything. 1 city run gym, 1 pool, there is a closer dance place to DH's work then then one we are currently at but we've danced there before for 2 years and everything is just really lacking. They never know what is going on, teachers change constantly, no one gets back to you, and it just wasn't a good experience. But rural town nestled in a valley means everything is spread out even though it is a small town. School is probably 3 miles from gymnastics partly on a road with no shoulder/sidewalks of any kind, dance is another 3-4 miles away in the opposite direction on a dangerous highway. 

 

 

Tuesday nights seem to be the worst if we did this. I would pick her and DD2 (she attends PK at DD1's school some days) up at 3pm, we hang out in town goofing off until gymnastics at 4:30, I drop her off and go home with the other 3. She goes till 6 then has to be at dance from 6:30-7:30. Usually DH just works late and then picks her up. but since she has to be picked up at 6pm on most other weekday nights, and the smaller kids start going to bed at 7pm, and they don;t get to see him much before work if at all... I think I will find a sitter to take over with her from 6pm on, we have 3 sitters now because I do work part time some mornings, 2 might be able to help out and if not I live in a college town, it would be a plush job just driving and sitting waiting for an 8y.

 

 

Maybe the key will be just piecing together options like that. 

post #11 of 11

We also live in a rural area, so I hear you about the driving!  There is very little way around spending a good portion of time in the car if you want your kids to be able to participate in ongoing activities.  It definitely sounds frustrating in that you'd like to be in town.  I will say that living away from the activities has helped to promote a sense of a restful break when it was needed.

 

I also wanted to say, as a mom w/a child wih an LD, it's been really important that we help facilitate the places where our child has talents and mastery, and that tends to be in athletic areas and the arts.  School is successful, but the outside activities level the playing field in a way that has been crucial to my child's development and self esteem.

 

Your dd is very fortunate to have your support.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting the Gifted Child
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Parenting the Gifted Child › athletically gifted