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FITGLAMGIRL Posts: 2,045
1/6/13 1:37 P

I think it's great that your girl stepped out of her comfort zone and tried something she may or may not be good at. I think that is huge. She must have great confidence. I would continue to encourage her, she may not be the best, but she is learning to be HER best.

Also, we encourage our kids if they start something that they really need to finish it for whatever length of time that is. Like if it's a semester or the spring session to at least try to finish that and then decide if they want to do it again next year. This teaches perserverance rather than quitting things later in life when things get too difficult. Studies have shown that if you always quit things then there is typically a pattern of this in life like a job, a marriage, school etc.

EREBECCA SparkPoints: (4,541)
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1/1/13 10:54 A

Encourage her to do her best in anything - if cross country isn't for her then she could always run cross country privately. It was her first race and she'll just get better and better :)

WANNARUN4MILES SparkPoints: (4,899)
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12/31/12 3:38 P

I am soooo proud of your daughter for going out for Cross Country! I was sooo proud of my daughter when she did it also. My daughter is also academic, but she was starting a new school and thought this was a good way to meet people. The most awesome thing about Cross Country is that, unless you are varsity and making points for the team, you are really only racing against yourself, your last best time. My daughter found the cross country group to be very encouraging and she met her best friends from high school. Encourage your daughter to keep up with it. Running is winning - she doesn't have to come in at the front of the crowd.

COTTERR SparkPoints: (11,727)
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12/29/12 10:28 P

You don't know what a child will be good at or enjoy in a month, year, or 5 years. Only through experimentation will she find her niche. If it's not her best sprot, you should still encourage her. Consider it cross training. Marathoners still swim, cycle, use the elliptical. Please don't get a private coach for her unless she's the one to ask. Even then I'd be weary. I have seen too many young athletes with great potential get burnt out before high school. Keep it fun and let her decide when to take it to the next level.

Instead of make her run a mile after practices, maybe you (better yet she) could ask the coach what she can do on her own to improve and you do it with her.

CECISMOMMY09 SparkPoints: (0)
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12/24/12 10:01 A

if my mom tried to tell me i wasn't good at something and i should stop i would have hated her for it! when they are that age ya gotta let them decide when they want to stop...which sounds like won't be to much longer anyway good luck!

JMCROF SparkPoints: (7,520)
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12/14/12 12:21 P

I've raised my two girls and neither were into sports. We always encouraged them "don't give up" and "do your best". I really just want to say "good for you for being there!" So many parents today don't have time for their own kids! Keep up the good work. Your daughter will do just fine.

ZEDMAY Posts: 41
11/28/12 12:11 A

Picking up anything new (instrument, sport, etc.) is tough and typically comes with some challenges, but we learn far more from our failures than from our successes. It sounds like your daughter is quite experienced at swimming, so it may be quite an emotional struggle for her to be a beginner in a new sport. It may help to remind her of how she overcame challenges with swimming that she may have forgotten about. It will also help if you emphasize effort rather than outcome. Praise her for how hard she practiced or how passionate she seems to be about her new sport. If she does better at her next race, get her to reflect on what was different and what helped that improvement come about, so that she can start to be conscious of how her hard work contributes to her success. This works well with school assignments as well (I give very similar advice as a teacher to my students and their parents all the time when kids are struggling with a new academic skill).

RUNNINGINOR SparkPoints: (36,642)
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11/25/12 11:01 P

Running is a life-long sport. The fact that your daughter is interested in starting now is wonderful! She is so young. Runners don't peak until they are in their 20's and 30's. Winning races should motivate a runner to continue, but should not be the REASON for running. A lifetime of physical fitness is a much more valuable goal. However, that is difficult to tell a tween. Help her focus on realistic goals first, like distance or length of time, before she focuses on where she places on a race. While xcountry IS a team sport, mostly a runner's competition is within their own self. I have run most of my life, but I have never been a star. I keep doing it because I feel the most alive and energetic when I have a good, consistent training program going. Pushing yourself too much, too soon, can lead to many injuries. (I know, I've had 'em). I love to run, and I still can do it because I have always been a tortoise instead of a hare! Slow and steady means many more years of physical fitness. What is your daughter's long-term goal for running?

Also, training with your daughter is a GREAT idea! All three of my daughters love to run. Why? So do my husband and I. And we treat it as a family activity to do together. There are never any tears because we stop when it isn't fun anymore. ENJOY this time with your daughter!

EWILLIAMS1000 Posts: 242
10/25/12 1:33 A

I have a tween daughter also 11 turning 12. I encourage her to choose new and exciting things but before getting started I expect her to agree to a set period of time where there is no giving up or quitting. More recently was a 12 month stint in roller derby. That was interesting. But she did and became a better skater and met some great friends. I cheer her on in all that she does but I do not drag or force. I remind her of her committment and that at the end rather continuing or not, she will be a better person for it even if perseverence is the only skill learned.

ALMEEKER Posts: 32
9/24/12 2:44 P

She's 10, well almost 11. When she came around the curve she was gasping, crying, saying that she couldn't do it. I felt long term that it would be better for her to finish than to give up, because at that moment she was not only ready to quit running the race, she was ready to quit running altogether. That course is 1.29 miles, there are no bleachers, it's just a mowed path around several practice fields (soccer, baseball, football). So in order to coach her through it, there was no other option than to go with her. Believe me, that was not my usual approach to supporting my kiddos in sports. Yelling my head off on the sidelines of a soccer field - yes, screaming at end of the swim lane - yes, in the water dragging them by the ponytail - no.

Since her first Cross Country meet she's doing much better. She can run longer and longer stretches every day. I've been making her run after practice, just a mile. We take a stop watch and time how long she can run without walking. Her longest time so far is about 5.5 minutes, then she walks for a minute and then it's back to running. Once she can run the whole mile, we'll start working on 2. She and her coach set a realistic goal for her this season, her goal is to run a race without walking. As for getting extra from the coach, it's not likely to happen, there is one coach vs. 42 kids. I used to run 2 miles/day, so I know how to get her up to that length, if she wants to go further, we'll have to call on some extended family. We had a long talk about running and how it takes years for some people to win a race. My SIL just won her first race, actually she didn't win, she finished a marathon 1st in her age group, she's 35. It's okay, little DD's eyes are still firmly on the butterfly.

I do think you hit the nail on the head in saying that she doesn't know how to push herself, at least not on land. I've watched her work for hours in the pool on the tiniest skill, so I know she can push herself when she's confident in her ability to gain a skill. At this point with running it's almost more about helping her gain self esteem than anything else. But I've seen some evidence that she's gaining ground on that front. One of her friends is always pushy about her running faster, longer, etc. Last week she asked her friend if she was familiar with the story of the tortoise and the hare. And when her friend nodded, DD said, "you are a hare and I'm a tortoise".

WHOAMI9999 Posts: 48
9/19/12 9:32 P

Please don't take this the wrong way, but a few things jumped out at me on your original post. The first one was that you ran half the race with her. I would have just as hard a time watching my kid suffer, but at her age (you said tween) she needs to be doing this on her own, or with her teammates. Keep encouraging her, and talk to her about "giving her all" and not giving up, but she needs to learn how to do this by herself, and develop that inner drive to do her best at things that are difficult. There is nothing wrong with you doing extra training runs with her, but maybe she needs to talk to her coach about the best way to improve her stamina (and it will take time - maybe a good part of the x-country season).

Also, you say she will never be good at this. She just started running - give her a chance to get better. Maybe she will never be a top runner, but can you encourage her to work at just improving herself? As for swimming, you say her problem is endurance - maybe she just needs to work on pushing herself to her limits.

Are the medals important to you or to her? My son is a lot younger, but after his first fun race at age 4, he said, "I didn't win, so I don't want to do any more races." I encouraged him to stick with it, and he is looking forward to doing the same type of races for the 3rd year in a row and loves it. He has improved a lot, but he is not one of the top few runners either. Also, the race that I was most proud of him for was the one where he got knocked down at the start, and still ran the race - even though he was in the back of the pack for that one. Make sure you tell your daughter how proud you are for her finishing the race even though it was hard.

ALMEEKER Posts: 32
9/18/12 6:24 P

Thanks for the wise words. I needed to hear that as it darn near broke my heart when she came around the half way bend at her meet sobbing, knees all dirty, gasping for air. It's just hard to feel like it was good for her, I know, I know "big picture, long term". She excels at nearly everything else, so I guess it won't hurt her to learn just how hard, working hard can be. I took her out for extra running practice over the weekend and she says to me gasping "I hate running!", I actually laughed and said, "oh Honey everybody who is out of condition hates running, but it's a sure fire way to get in shape, and you never hear anybody complain about being in great shape". We also talked about how this is not going to be like swimming where she usually places, and how the only trophy she should aim for right now is "Most Improved" possibly next year...

Edited by: ALMEEKER at: 9/18/2012 (18:24)
ALMEEKER Posts: 32
9/18/12 4:52 P

Thanks for the wise words. I needed to hear that as it darn near broke my heart when she came around the half way bend at her meet sobbing, knees all dirty, gasping for air. It's just hard to feel like it was good for her, I know, I know "big picture, long term". She excels at nearly everything else, so I guess it won't hurt her to learn just how hard, working hard can be. I took her out for extra running practice over the weekend and she says to me gasping "I hate running!", I actually laughed and said, "oh Honey everybody who is out of condition hates running, but it's a sure fire way to get in shape, and you never hear anybody complain about being in great shape". We also talked about how this is not going to be like swimming where she usually places, and how the only trophy she should aim for right now is "Most Improved" possibly next year...

SOCAL_LEE SparkPoints: (43,325)
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9/18/12 4:03 P

I agree with Jadomb, YES encourage her to keep going! Fitness later in life won't be the sport she played competitively in high school or college. I've got a friend who swam on her college team. Twenty+ years later, I have NEVER seen her in the pool. She is, quote, "all swum out". She cycles, hikes, does pilates and yoga, lifts weights -- the things she likes doing without being spectacular at them -- and she's in great shape.

Anyway, it's great for kids to have an activity they enjoy doing, and to learn that it's okay to enjoy doing something even if you're not great at it -- whether it's running, music, art, cycling, martial arts ...

I guess this pushed one of my buttons. I'm a firm believer in getting to do things you like even if you're not going to be competitive at them. She should definitely try her best, but it's okay if her best isn't the best overall. Let her have fun with it!

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
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9/18/12 3:53 P

To add to this so you know that I speak from experience, both my kids were in many sports. I encouraged them to do their best in whatever they did and they did. The one thing I did push though was to complete what they started. So even if they found they weren't too into that sport of musical instrument, etc., they had to complete that year or season. This was more important that the lessons in many ways. It taught them to never quit and that sometimes a little patience pays off.

When my son first started Ice Hockey, he was the slowest kid on ice. Even the goalie in full gear would normally beat him across the rink. By the end of the year, he and this other kid were the two fastest one on the ice. He even won the most improved award at the end of the year and became one of their best Enforcers. Good thing he didn't let his first days determine his thoughts on what he could attain. So while winning may not be in the books for most folks, improving and having fun is.

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
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9/18/12 3:46 P

My LORD YES, encourage her to do the best she can in all she does. She knows she won't win a cross country run, but the training and being with others is also just as important. Fact is, whether you come in 4 or 104 doesn't matter, none of them get medals and none of them are remembered. This is training and exercise to help her with her endurance, give her encouragement and love the heck right out of her.

That being said, being honest in letting them know this may not be their sport is not wrong, it's only being honest. But again, out of the millions of folks doing millions of sports, how many actually win the medals? The rest of us are just there for the training and fun.

ALMEEKER Posts: 32
9/18/12 1:21 P

Our oldest child is an excellent student, adorable, sweet and alternately funny and serious, she is also somewhat chubby and asthmatic. This past month she decided, out of the blue, to join the Cross Country Team at school! I sooooo did not see that coming. She's athletic, but she is NOT a land creature. Her sport of choice and her talents are in the water, she has been a competitive swimmer for the past 4-5 years. She really would like to be more competitive in the 100 yard Butterfly, her kick is textbook, but she lacks the endurance to exploit it. This is where the Cross Country Team comes in, she joined with the hope that her legs will gain endurance with a new sport, completely out of her comfort zone.

Well she's like a fish out of water, seriously, the best thing I can say about her first meet is that she finished the course and she wasn't dead last, she finished 85th out of 100 (truthfully I'm not sure that the other 15 kids finished the course at all). Meanwhile the race couldn't have been much worse, she fell, she cried, and in order to get her to finish I had to run 1/2 the race beside her, pouring on the pep talk and gasping for breath. And while I'm extremely proud of her for trying, I'm not sure cheering her on is the right thing to do. Do you encourage a child to work HARD on something she will never be very good at or do you convince her to practice volleyball in the backyard so she can make the team next year, and hire a private coach for the butterfly kick business? I feel like I might be setting her up for dissapointment, when I could very easily set her up for success.

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