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I go to a crop (scrapbooking) once a month and recently there were a group of moms who came whose daughters were all on a cheer team. These girls were no older than Kindergarten age. It was almost scary how some of the moms seemed to be living out their dream through their daughters. For one mom in particular it seemed almost an obsession. Just talking to the "cheer moms" left a bad taste in my mouth so I wanted to get some feedback about how you feel about cheerleading for little girls.<br><br>
These 4-5 yo's compete almost every weekend plus practices 3-4 nights a week. Some are 2 hr. long practices. One mom commented (and laughed about it) about her daughter's exhaustion. She said by the time the weekend competitions roll around she cries and cries and throws fits once they get to the competition. She insisted that her daughter "just loves it!"<br><br>
I guess I'm curious as to what the benefit is of cheerleading for little girls. For me, it ranks up there with the pageant life. The "cheer curls," the pounds of make-up, skimpy uniforms, the insane amount of $ dished out for the uniforms, memberships, competitions (gas, hotels, food, etc...). I realize it's considered a sport, but the emphasis is really put on the "look" and the body type, etc... No?<br><br>
I want some feedback to know if I'm being overly critical or if there is some agreement here that cheerleading is beneficial to young girls. And, if you think it's beneficial, why you would choose cheerleading over another sport or activity?
 

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I desperately wanted to be a cheerleader as a young girl. My mom felt that cheerleading was a "bad" thing and she refused to let me be a part of it. I always longed to be one of those girls.<br><br>
She did however have me in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz class. I had classes 4 nights a week some of them 2 hours, competitions, costumes, etc. I was EXHAUSTED and I grew to hate it. I really wanted to quit but she wouldn't let me.<br><br>
I think that if a little girl "WANTS" to be a part of an activity then we as parents should let them. However, if she becomes overwhelmed and exhausted then I think it should be ok for her to quit.<br><br>
If my DD wants to be a cheerleader or in Dance I won't have a problem with it and I will allow her to do so. I think though that it will be my responsibility to give her a good dose of feet on the ground reality when it comes to the extremes that go along with the activity i.e. makeup, costumes, conformity pressure etc.
 

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I never did pagents, but I was in dance for about 4 years (5-9th grade) and was a school cheerleader in 7th, 10th-12th grade. I never danced or cheered competitively.<br><br>
That said, I don't think you are being overly critical. I find competitive cheerleading and dance (not to mention pagents) for 4-5 yos to be absurd and harmful to girl's long-term self-image. I also think it has the potential of being harmful to children's developing bodies at that age. It is all about what you look like, and has very little to do with developing a strong body that will be healthy and serve you well.
 

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I don't like the idea of it. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I don't think ANY little girl would *choose* to wear a face full of make-up, a head full of hairspray, and tight-fitting clothing in order to dance and cheer to the point of exhaustion 4-5 times a week.<br><br>
I agree with you, PP -- seems very similar to the pageant world, except the parents can justify it by saying it's teaching their children coordination, balance, benefits of exercise, whatever.
 

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I was a Jr. High and HS cheerleader, and I absolutely loved it. I have some of the best memories from those times. That's a whole different ball o'wax from the competitive type of new cheerleading squads they have now, that are solely out there for the competitions and have no affiliated teams for which to cheer. I had gymnastics for competition, and cheerleading for school spirit, bonding with my girl (and boy) friends, exercise and fun! No way would I let my little girl be on a competitive squad.<br><br>
At the risk of ruffling feathers, I see it more in the light of a beauty pageant, in the sense that the young girls are generally pushed way beyond their emotional and physical maturity to compete fiercely and learn that winning is the prize, instead of participating in a team sport where sportsmanship and staying healthy and learning teamwork is emphasized.
 

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Oh, I just wanted to add in that I was a gymnast as a preschooler and grade schooler. My mom signed my up because I was horribly uncoordinated. I was falling on my face so much that my teeth were turning black. I was never dolled up and my "team" didn't compete. And it def. did help. I'm still clumsy, but I can fall without hurting myself (or the child I'm carrying/wearing).
 

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I was okay with cheerleading until I saw a group of *maybe* 4th graders cheer "and if that doesn't turn you on..." and then they turned backwards and wiggled their pompoms along with their little butts "... then maybe this will!"<br><br>
ew. ew. ew. ew. ew.
 

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I absolutely do not agree with any thing like that. Thats a horrible thing to do to your child. For what? So your child is a "winner" or "good" at something? Seems cruel.<br><br>
I cheered in high school, competitively, worked my butt off, was often very exhausted, but it was my choice, and our uniforms were very tasteful. I also danced as a younger kid, but it wasnt anything like what you just described.<br><br>
If DD wants to dance, cheer, tumble, thats fine with me. But like another poster had mentioned, its your job, as the parent, to look out for your childs best intention. And forcing them to do something they dont want to do is very unhealthy. Im all for gentle encouragement that they finish what they start, but if they are exhausted, and crying.. thats so not cool.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa Lubner</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929179"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was okay with cheerleading until I saw a group of *maybe* 4th graders cheer "and if that doesn't turn you on..." and then they turned backwards and wiggled their pompoms along with their little butts "... then maybe this will!"<br><br>
ew. ew. ew. ew. ew.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"> OMG! My daughter would be off of that squad in a minute if that was the type of "cheering" that they were doing.
 

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Wow, cheerleading sure has changed since the days when I was a kid! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">: I don't think I would let my kid participate in something if it was the way you've described.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa Lubner</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929179"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was okay with cheerleading until I saw a group of *maybe* 4th graders cheer "and if that doesn't turn you on..." and then they turned backwards and wiggled their pompoms along with their little butts "... then maybe this will!"<br><br>
ew. ew. ew. ew. ew.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/crap.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crap"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br><br>
I think if dd really begged to do cheerleading, I'd have to really look into whether the particular team/studio was highly competitive or highly sexualized.<br><br>
Dd has asked about taking dance lessons, and I got a good recommendation from another like-minded mom from my church for a studio that keeps things very non-competetive and low-key, so I'm considering it.<br><br>
One of dd's previous daycare providers had 2 girls in dance lessons and their commitment level (or really the mother's commitment level) was just astounding. But they also had pictures of the girls all over the house in tight glittery costumes and heavy make-up with their hands on their knees and butts sticking out. It was so sexualized, so much about perfection and appearance. Bleh.
 

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It's a huge business around here. Cheer schools, camps, etc. Most of the cheerleading programs, from what I've seen in my area, aren't actually cheering for a team. It's interesting how it has evolved.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa Lubner</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929179"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was okay with cheerleading until I saw a group of *maybe* 4th graders cheer "and if that doesn't turn you on..." and then they turned backwards and wiggled their pompoms along with their little butts "... then maybe this will!"<br><br>
ew. ew. ew. ew. ew.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hopmad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hopping mad"> :puke
 

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Ummmm.... Who are 4-5 year olds cheering *for*?? At my son's school competive sports (playing other schools, etc) doesn't start until the 3rd or 4th grade. Isn't the point of cheerleading to cheer for the home team?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Nikel1979</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7928964"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think <i>any</i> activity with that kind of commitment level and competition/performance is too much at that age.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
AND<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sadean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929005"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I never did pagents, but I was in dance for about 4 years (5-9th grade) and was a school cheerleader in 7th, 10th-12th grade. I never danced or cheered competitively.<br><br>
That said, I don't think you are being overly critical. I find competitive cheerleading and dance (not to mention pagents) for 4-5 yos to be absurd and harmful to girl's long-term self-image. I also think it has the potential of being harmful to children's developing bodies at that age. It is all about what you look like, and has very little to do with developing a strong body that will be healthy and serve you well.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:. I danced (ballet, pointe, jazz) from age 6 to age 21, and was in our summer recitals/yearly Nutcracker performance and did high school musicals and a few dance shows in college, but didn't do any competitions...I just don't get it - I danced for the joy of dancing and performing and entertaining people, not to prove that I was better than someone else at it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">. If my daughter is interested in dance, gymnastics, martial arts, or anything like that (including sports), we will sign her up for instruction that gets to the heart and meat of whatever it is, not for competition or the 'glamour' aspect of whatever it is (and I won't be one of those weekend tournament traveling team sports moms, either - that's WAY overkill, IMHO). I'm not paying for 'fluff'. And pageants? That would be one of the only things I would actively discourage her from doing, as I am really, really against them for a multitude of reasons. I won't force my child to do something they don't want to - but if they want to do it, they're going to have to want to do it for the right reasons (passion for it, desire to learn about all aspects and its true form, etc.).<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa Lubner</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929179"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was okay with cheerleading until I saw a group of *maybe* 4th graders cheer "and if that doesn't turn you on..." and then they turned backwards and wiggled their pompoms along with their little butts "... then maybe this will!"<br><br>
ew. ew. ew. ew. ew.</div>
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WOW. Gag. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Lisa Lubner</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7929587"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">okay... that was like 15 years ago, btw.</div>
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That makes me feel even WORSE about it.
 

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IMO- it's weird for little girls and their nutso moms to be that into cheering. But IT IS A SPORT> Iwas a cheerleader in high school and loved doing that.<br><br>
I think if it's approached AS a sport it takes aways the strange "sexist" qualities of it.
 
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