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WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Is this bad parenting in your opinion?

Asked by WillWorkForChocolate (23132points) May 30th, 2012

When my kiddos are really tired or feeling “burned out”, they ask to skip their gymnastics class. I’m usually okay with it. I’ve been criticized by some family members.

It’s just not a big deal to me. It’s not like I’m letting them ditch school… it’s gymnastics.

Do you think playing hooky every once in a while is okay, or am I wrong for letting them skip class?

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38 Answers

dabbler's avatar

You’re the reasonable one. Like you mention “It’s not like I’m letting them ditch school… it’s gymnastics” – exactly !
Presumably this is for recreation, and some exercise, if you force them to do it when they are burned out that is not recreation. If they skip it too much maybe get them on some other exercise/sport activity.
Tell those busy-body relations you’re not trying to crank out olympians.

Trillian's avatar

Gymnastics and other extra curricular activities should be fun, not a chore. Let ‘em skip. I gave my oldest daughter the occasional free pass from school too. She managed to survive.

thesparrow's avatar

Who cares.. it’s gymnastics. They’re not skipping school. Those who criticize you are in the wrong.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Good parenting is know when to let them have some slack. They’re kids. They’re not machines.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe See? That’s the way I see it. If they’re on gymnastics burnout, why not let them skip a class? Let them be kids, for crying out loud!

Blackberry's avatar

S’all good, brah.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate It’s knowing when to say okay that makes it good parenting.

wundayatta's avatar

Personally, I think that piano and reading are equally important. If my son is not allowed to miss a day of regular school, then he can’t miss his piano lesson. If we can be flexible on his school, then we can be flexible on piano. My wife and I don’t see eye to eye on this.

I also think it’s fine to take them out of school to travel to other countries. But my wife feels that if we are paying a gazillion dollars for education, we can’t do this. And even if they go to public school, they better not miss a week of school.

I’m all in favor of missing school and whatever else is important, if you have some more important reason to take them out. Maybe they are sick. My wife gives my daughter mental health days. But she works hard on her own and maintains a high GPA, which, while I hate the idea of working for GPA, I think that if you’re going to play the game, you better put pressure on yourself to do your best. But not too much pressure so you drive yourself into stress and anxiety. Anyone know how to draw that boundary?

I don’t believe in the school system. I think things should be more flexible. But the world doesn’t work that way. As far as gymnastics is concerned, it’s whatever your deal with the coaches is. When my son did gymnastics, he refused to compete. We were paying a lot for lessons, though, and if he missed them, that was not money we really wanted to throw away. In the end, it turned out he didn’t want to work that hard, and so he stopped doing gymnastics. It was too bad it had to be either very serious or not at all. But such is life in this town. I wasn’t really into be a gymnastics dad, anyway. But I can be a music dad. I am one.

jca's avatar

I would say in order to give a proper answer, how often does this occur? I ask because maybe it’s occuring all the time, and that’s what your relatives are upset about. If it’s occuring all the time, they may see the kids as manipulating you. Also, if it occurs all the time, you’re paying (I presume) and they’re not attending, therefore, relatives may see it as a waste of money.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@jca Sometimes it happens twice in one month, and sometimes it won’t happen for two or three months. It just depends. I can also understand why my little one feels burned out more- her coach bumped her up to three hours a week, because she has major potential and kicks gymnastics ass. But I see her getting less and less excited to go, so I’m planning on dropping her back down to one hour a week after this month.

jca's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: They are supposed to go once per week? So sometimes it’s half the time they’re out, and sometimes not, correct? Just trying to understand what makes the relatives mad.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate That sounds like really good parenting. Reading their enthusiasm and reacting to that makes more sense then forcing them to do something they don’t want to do.

Trillian's avatar

Are the family members also the children’s parents? Because lots of… how the hell do you spell that word? Criticizm – what? ... lots of criticism goes on in families about parenting, but who cares? You don’t answer to them do you? Tell them to mind their own damn business. These are your children.

thesparrow's avatar

@wundayatta That’s very sweet that you care about your kids.. you’re already one step ahead of a lot of men. As for you and your wife not seeing eye to eye on some parenting. I’ll be honest.. when I get married and have children, I think I’d consider myself lucky to find someone who cared enough about parenting or was passionate enough about it to stand up for issues rather than slacking off because it’s easier to just let ‘the mom’ do it (as has been my experience with most of my family’s friends or relatives).

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@jca Actually, my little one goes on Mondays and Wednesdays, and my oldest goes on Thursdays. So we’re up there three days a week. Even if we miss a class or two, we’re still there 9 or 10 times per month.

jca's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate: That’s a lot. I think kids need time to be kids. Tell the rels to back off!

6rant6's avatar

Are they part of a team? If that’s the case, then yeah, get their butts to practice! If not, I guess you don’t need to worry about it.

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t have kids so maybe I shouldn’t be answering this but it doesn’t sound like bad parenting to me. It’s a matter of balance. I don’t think it’s a good idea to teach kids that it’s o.k. to bail on their commitments simply because “they don’t feel like it,” but you aren’t doing that, it seems. Parents aren’t prison wardens and children aren’t convicts, who must do everything, according to the rules, on on schedule, all the time, whether they want to or not. So they want a day off once in a while? Everyone does. Kids seem to have much tighter schedules these days than we did when I was growing up. I don’t see any problem with it;

unless, as @6rant6, who snuck right in there while I was “crafting,” mentions… unless their absence may have an impact on the other kids in class. If your kids are part of a team and their not being there would negatively affect the other students in the class it could be an issue. That would be a little different. And even then it wouldn’t necessarily be “bad parenting,” exactly, it would just be unfair to the other students in the class, I think.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Nope, they’re not on any team, just regular classes.

augustlan's avatar

You guys are there an awful lot. I don’t think it’s any big deal to let them miss it at the frequency you’re talking about. It’s supposed to be fun, damn it.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

That’s what I think, too, it’s just so frustrating to have my mothering criticized for letting my kids have some time off when they want it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate I they’re not on a team then no problem. The people criticizing you need to chill out and MYOB in IMHO. :-)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Thanks @lillycoyote. Thanks to everyone. I guess I needed reassurance that I wasn’t wrong for letting them ditch class sometimes. I appreciate your opinions.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Here is what I’ve discovered about people. Some have an extremely high measurement of what is called ‘Responsibility’ by The Gallup Organization.

Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion. Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable. When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help—and they soon will—you must be selective. Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should. Source

So, let’s say that some of these family members who are passing judgement have a high level of this characteristic. It’s one thing if they live by this Strength, but it becomes a Weakness when they expect others to act the same way in all circumstances. There are just some times where the rules should be bent, as long as it isn’t impacting others. From what you have described so far, it doesn’t sound like it.

If I were in your shoes, I would ask these tut-tutters a couple of questions, just like you have allowed us to do. “I respect your opinion, so help me to understand what the objections are.” Once they give one, ask “What else should I take into consideration?” Keep asking this until they cannot come up with a new one. Then answer each one, like you are doing here.

My guess is that these are people who don’t know the full story. They may also have been subjected to attending some sort of lesson no matter how they felt about it as a child, and figure, if they had to do it and survived, so can your children. Then again, they might come up with a valid reason that you haven’t thought of yet.

My three remaining questions for you are: 1.) Is the instructor being notified in advance that the daughter(s) won’t be attending? 2.) How will this impact the instructor’s schedule and demeanor towards you and your daughters? 3.) How might this impact your daughters’ view on not following up with a commitment if they are allowed to skip an occasional class?

MollyMcGuire's avatar

You get to decide. I let mine skip activities and school from time to time when I felt they needed it and they asked. I never budged on the important stuff, but things like this I wasn’t so hard. I’m saying every now and again. I don’t think you should let them be slackers with any regularity.

ucme's avatar

Erm, if it’s what’s best for the child & is mutually agreed upon as the correct course of action then fuck what anyone else thinks, their opinions really are genuinely irrelevant.

jca's avatar

I agree with @Pied_Pfeffer. If it bothers you that they’re offering negative opinions, then next time they offer the negativity, I would ask them to just give you an idea as to what is wrong with giving the kids a break when they go so often. Yes, you could say as @ucme said that their opinions are irrelevant, but obviously they’re bothering you, since you asked here, so I think it warrants a friendly discussion so you could understand what their issues are. They may bring up something interesting and it could open up a genuinely informative discussion and hopefully, if you come to a better understanding all around, it will end the negative comments and confusion and hard feelings on your part.

Please feel free to post an update, if you do discuss with your relatives, as to how the conversation goes and if they offer any insight as to why they feel the way they do.

The Update Lady

Nimis's avatar

Depends. Are they genuinely tired or just trying to get out of stuff?

Not that you should force them or anything. Extracurriculars should be fun, not a chore.

Maybe find something else that they’re more interested in?

cookieman's avatar

You’re doing just fine.

If children are regularly exposed to a variety of activities and interests over the years, they will (ideally) find one they love. When they do, they’ll want to do it all the time.

You can’t force passion and dedication onto a kid. Gymnastics clearly isn’t their passion. It’s fun and exercise.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I think this actually makes you a bloody good parent. If you can see your kids are very tired then allowing them to skip something as physically exhausting as gymnastics is probably a good thing. These people that think you are in the wrong for doing this, would they prefer your kids to burn out?

Whilst the pushy parents that decide their kids are going to be Olympians before they are even walking will disagree with me, allowing your kids to rest it out once in a while is healthy for their bodies and minds.

Nimis's avatar

Oops. Answered this at 3am. I should clarify that I don’t think it makes you a bad parent either way. (If they’re really tired or trying to get out of stuff.) I just think it sets a bad precedent if they’re trying to get out of stuff. There are better ways for them to communicate their lack of interest to you. Calling it bad parenting is a bit much.

flutherother's avatar

It was always taken as read in our home that if you were meant to be at a certain place at a certain time then you made sure you were there on time. My kids have that same attitude today and like me they rarely take a day off or are late. Is this the best way to be or is it better to have more relaxed attitude to life and work? I don’t know, but I still keep on turning up for work on time.

SpatzieLover's avatar

No. It’s kind parenting.

Bad parenting is ruling over your kids and not listening to their needs.

Gymnastics folks get a bit crazy in my experience. Are your complaining family members all involved in gymnastics @WillWorkForChocolate?

tups's avatar

I don’t have kids, but it’s not long since I was one. I slacked really often and I still do. But I need it. If I’m tired and don’t feel like going to gymnasitics and my mother forced me to do it, I really doubt it would do any good. Lucky for me, my mom is lovely and not very strict. I would rather have a mom who lets me skip stuff like gymnastics if I need it than a mom who forces me to go, even though I am exhausted. But I must admit, I have skipped many hobbies in my life and I wish I would have sticked with some of them. Maybe I wish my parents would have been more encouraging, but not forcing me to do anything.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

@SpatzieLover No, they’re not gymnasts, nor have they ever been.

@Leanne1986 Hahaha, yeah no pushing for Olympians here. It’s funny, because my little one loves watching gymnastics routines on Youtube, and has such potential, that her coaches and I have joked about her being “the next Nastia Liukin”, but I refuse to be a “psycho gymnastics mom”.

Paradox25's avatar

No, but be careful here. You don’t want your kids to develope a mindset where that whenever they don’t feel like doing something, they can just avoid it. Your reasons here seem valid enough for me though. I blow work off sometimes.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

As long as one does not foster maladaptive avoidance behaviours that are associated with fear of failure or normal competition, exercising good judgment and flexibility are examples of good parenting.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s fine. If you FORCE them to go when they don’t want to, they’re liable to rebel and want to quit altogether.

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