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Thread: How can I help my 9 yo dd get over this communication block

  1. #1
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    How can I help my 9 yo dd get over this communication block

    with her coach. 99% of the time, she is engaged, happy and totally cooperative of whatever her coach is teaching her. She is about to take her juvenile MIF and has her axel and 2 doubles and is working on her double loop now.

    The other day, she got a bee in her bonnet that SHE wanted to work on double loop, but her coach, for good reason, wanted to work with her MIF test, as it is coming up fast.

    Instead of communicating to him that she was looking forward to double loop and giving him a chance to say something like "once we do what we need to do on the MIF test, then we can do a few double loops before we are done", she digs in her heels and gets sullen and starts refusing to cooperate.

    He ended up getting very aggravated with her and kicking her off the ice for that day.

    I talked her down later at home, and I got her to come to the conclusion that she needed to call him and apologize for her behavior.

    She is generally a really good kid, she adores skating, and her dad was so aggravated with her behavior he threatened to stop the lessons and cancel and test and she bawled.

    But this is not the first time something like this has happened and it is a similar situation every single time.

    How can I make her understand she needs to communicate respectfully, not dig in her heels and not cooperate. I know it is partly her age (she JUST turned 9), but still!

  2. #2
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    Sounds to me like you handled it very well. Since she is very young, maybe you could discuss this with her coach, too? If he realizes why she suddenly becomes sullen and digs in her heels, he might be able to help snap her out of it fairly quickly..

    Don't worry too much, she won't be 9 forever! Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OHgal View Post
    Don't worry too much, she won't be 9 forever! Good luck.
    No, soon she'll be 13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    No, soon she'll be 13.
    AH, don't remind me. I have a 15 year old who is lucky to still be living!

    Quote Originally Posted by OHgal View Post
    Sounds to me like you handled it very well. Since she is very young, maybe you could discuss this with her coach, too? If he realizes why she suddenly becomes sullen and digs in her heels, he might be able to help snap her out of it fairly quickly..

    Don't worry too much, she won't be 9 forever! Good luck.
    I will talk with him. Maybe just asking the question, was there something you wanted to talk to me about? She tells me she doesn't feel 'comfortable' asking him- I pointed out that it is silly to say that and then be comfortable enough to act like a brat!

    I am hoping having to make that call and apologize (has to be hard for such a young kid) will stick in her mind enough to change the behavior next time.
    Last edited by Tonichelle; 01-21-2010 at 11:22 AM. Reason: merging back to back posts

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    Actually, this behavior is more typical of 3 year olds, not 9 year olds. That behavior on the ice is inexcusable and her coach was right to kick her off the ice and not put up with sulking. And you said this has happened before, it wasn't a one-off incident. Not good. You need to first get on the same page with her Dad on what the policy will be as to behavior vs being able to skate. The Bad Cop-Good Cop routine between parents won't work on this. Then if necessary, talk privately with the coach. Some things can't be a democracy, and no 9-year old should be a member with full voting rights anyway. What she can be encouraged to do is to ask the coach "Coach, sometime this coming week I want to work on my double loop and show you, can you decide where to fit it in the schedule?" And gracefully accept whatever response she gets.

    Having a private coach to assist with improving her skating should be a privilege to be earned, and privileges can be taken away. This is language a kid can understand. Decide your (and coach's) parameters for her behavior, communicate them to her, and clearly state consequences for her violating the good conduct rules. Example: next sulk or refusal to cooperate, she's off the ice for that session and the next 2 practice sessions, or whatever. She needs to have a potential loss that is of consequence to her. Then follow through on the very next time the bad behavior happens. She will just have to bawl and you will just have to ride it out rather than give in. I suspect one or two such "punishments" will cure this behavior, if she's generally a well-dispositioned kid at other times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    Actually, this behavior is more typical of 3 year olds, not 9 year olds. That behavior on the ice is inexcusable and her coach was right to kick her off the ice and not put up with sulking. And you said this has happened before, it wasn't a one-off incident. Not good. You need to first get on the same page with her Dad on what the policy will be as to behavior vs being able to skate. The Bad Cop-Good Cop routine between parents won't work on this. Then if necessary, talk privately with the coach. Some things can't be a democracy, and no 9-year old should be a member with full voting rights anyway. What she can be encouraged to do is to ask the coach "Coach, sometime this coming week I want to work on my double loop and show you, can you decide where to fit it in the schedule?" And gracefully accept whatever response she gets.

    Having a private coach to assist with improving her skating should be a privilege to be earned, and privileges can be taken away. This is language a kid can understand. Decide your (and coach's) parameters for her behavior, communicate them to her, and clearly state consequences for her violating the good conduct rules. Example: next sulk or refusal to cooperate, she's off the ice for that session and the next 2 practice sessions, or whatever. She needs to have a potential loss that is of consequence to her. Then follow through on the very next time the bad behavior happens. She will just have to bawl and you will just have to ride it out rather than give in. I suspect one or two such "punishments" will cure this behavior, if she's generally a well-dispositioned kid at other times.
    While I understand your points, I was trying to go a different route first before I went punitive. It isn't easy for a little kid to have to approach an adult and apologize, so I'd like to see what will happen first before getting punitive on her. This was the second incident ever.

    And in my defense, dh was taken off guard, I was away on business and it had been a difficult week for her altogether including being really upset I was leaving, new skates, losing her team jacket (found now thankfully). I didn't want to be draconian about punishment until I got home and he and I could talk and get on the same page.

    And yes, she is usually well dispositioned. I can punish her of course, but I'd like to teach her how to communicate as well.
    Last edited by momof3chicks; 01-21-2010 at 11:03 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigsisjiejie View Post
    Actually, this behavior is more typical of 3 year olds, not 9 year olds.
    I'll have to respectfully disagreement with that statement. I've seen my 11-yr old behave like a wonderfully mature 20-yr old one minute, then a bratty 2-yr old the next. It's part of that "wonderful" time of life called adolescence. God help us parents, LOL.

    Momof3, I'm impressed that your girl actually worked up the nerve to call her coach. That took a huge amount of courage (and humility) on her part. Good for her, and good for you. Many adults would have struggled with it!!

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    Spending too much time at the arena CdnSkateWatcher's Avatar
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    Hmmm ... when my 8 (or was it 9?) year old attempted the same thing, the coach a) ended the lesson b) met with me c) informed the kid that if it happened again, it would be the last time. End of discussion.

    And, we required our kid to make a full (and real) apology before the next lesson.

    The behaviour never happened again, as she has the same expectations of all of her skaters, and my kid knew it was a real consequence. Does the kid get iffy sometimes? Yes, but you see the immediate "snap back" to more mature behaviour.

    I enjoyed seeing the behaviour management, and I supported the coach fully in her decision. It was inappropriate behaviour; I reminded my kid that, had the same thing happened in school OR at home, there would have been consequences, and that skating was a privilege not a right. We also discussed how unpleasant we had found other skater's behaviour who had done the same thing; other's perceptions; and setting a good example for other skaters.

    The ability to produce well behaved, polite and effective skaters is part of why we chose our coach in the first place!
    Last edited by CdnSkateWatcher; 01-21-2010 at 02:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CdnSkateWatcher View Post
    Hmmm ... when my 8 (or was it 9?) year old attempted the same thing, the coach a) ended the lesson b) met with me c) informed the kid that if it happened again, it would be the last time. End of discussion.
    Yup. Getting kicked off the ice is the best way to deal with this (and it should come from the coach and be backed by the parents). I got kicked off lessons/the ice (during practice) several times as a kid -- I was a little too much of a perfectionist and got frustrated easily. But you can bet I never acted badly enough to get kicked off a lesson more than once every year or so, because my parents would have drastically cut my lesson time down if I had.

    It sounds like you need to sit down and talk to her and explain that what her coach says goes. Period. She can say she'd like to work on this or that -- once -- but if the coach decides they're going to work on something else, than she'll do it and not sulk.

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    I have also seen laps imposed to teach the skater a technique to cool herself if the behavior hasn't escalated too greatly, but I've also seen skaters kicked off the ice. Pretty common. Generally, the coach is in the best position to determine an effective deterrent. The phone call apology was nice. I also like written apologies delivered along side an oral apology.

    As an aside, I've also seen push-ups metered out when a skater pops a jump. Makes everyone on the ice laugh a bit, including the skater, but the popping by everyone skating that day is greatly reduced after that. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by OHgal View Post
    I'll have to respectfully disagreement with that statement. I've seen my 11-yr old behave like a wonderfully mature 20-yr old one minute, then a bratty 2-yr old the next. It's part of that "wonderful" time of life called adolescence. God help us parents, LOL.

    Momof3, I'm impressed that your girl actually worked up the nerve to call her coach. That took a huge amount of courage (and humility) on her part. Good for her, and good for you. Many adults would have struggled with it!!
    She did it right away too. She has very mature moments (more often that not actually) - the meltdowns are rarer.

  12. #12
    Spending too much time at the arena CdnSkateWatcher's Avatar
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    Laps or pushups are also excellent deterrents for late arrival on the ice.

    I do agree that the skater needs to know that what the coach says is what is to be done. If you factor in the percentage of time wasted in a 15 or 20 minute lesson of having to coax, persuade or discuss a skater into working on a skill, it becomes apparent why it is important that the skater works cooperatively and effectively. Temper tantrums or stubbornness equate to wasted dollars and wasted ice time, neither of which are in unlimited supply.

    I will suggest to parents, however, that they carefully watch dynamics of coach/skater. We had a situation with a coach, since terminated, in which the fault lay with the coach not our child. We later discovered that this coach had had similar issues with other skaters. Since the change, we have never had any suggestion that our child was uncooperative or difficult from any coach. Bad "personality fit" happens, and, sadly, some coaches are not necessarily suited to coaching.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CdnSkateWatcher View Post
    If you factor in the percentage of time wasted in a 15 or 20 minute lesson of having to coax, persuade or discuss a skater into working on a skill, it becomes apparent why it is important that the skater works cooperatively and effectively. Temper tantrums or stubbornness equate to wasted dollars and wasted ice time, neither of which are in unlimited supply.

    .
    Oh I do agree, which is why it is aggravating to me on so many levels. Both incidents had to do with days leading up to MIF tests (first pre juv and now juv). We actually have recently switched primary coaches (this one used to be supplemental and didn't do MIF with her). Her old coach led her to believe she was ready 'as is' for the tests and the new coach disagreed. So I think some of it is a huge feeling of dissappointment and frustration on her part. I am not saying it excuses her behavior AT ALL, but I sort of understand her frustration.

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    It sounds like you and the coach handled this appropriately. I have seen this behaviour across most ages with athletes. They are an overall intense group of individuals and can be quite stubborn and one track minded. Making her appologize is a good strategy as it makes her take ownership of her behaviour.

    The occasional meltdown is to be expected and needs to be handled in a calm rational manner. Eliminating privileges should be reserved for occasions where you feel the behaviour is becoming more common. Also if both times this has occurred it is before tests then this is likely stress related. You might want to talk to DD and see if you can determine if she doesn't feel ready on specific elements. You can then pass this along to the coach privately and maybe he can focus a bit on those elements with the jump practice being an enticement to work on MIF first. The old "carrot on the stick" technique can be quite an effective motivator.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8rdad View Post
    It sounds like you and the coach handled this appropriately. I have seen this behaviour across most ages with athletes. They are an overall intense group of individuals and can be quite stubborn and one track minded. Making her appologize is a good strategy as it makes her take ownership of her behaviour.

    The occasional meltdown is to be expected and needs to be handled in a calm rational manner. Eliminating privileges should be reserved for occasions where you feel the behaviour is becoming more common. Also if both times this has occurred it is before tests then this is likely stress related. You might want to talk to DD and see if you can determine if she doesn't feel ready on specific elements. You can then pass this along to the coach privately and maybe he can focus a bit on those elements with the jump practice being an enticement to work on MIF first. The old "carrot on the stick" technique can be quite an effective motivator.
    Yes, she gets a bit antsy about tests. I did notice that this week, when she was being good about the test practice, at the end, she was doing the double loops she wanted to do. And she passed today !

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