My 6 year old has been taking gymnastics since she was 3. She is taking classes 3 days a week now. I get criticism from my mom for "letting gymnastics take over her life". My daughter and I have had conversations recently about what it will mean to pursue gymnastics for the next 10 or so years.
She already knows her life will be different from her friends. She already knows she will be in the gym 20 hours a week by time she's 8, and more as she gets older. But it's what she wants. She knows that when she's 16 the Olympics will be held in the USA. She is determined to be an elite gymnast. Will this happen? Probably not. But I'm not going to destroy her dream.
This being said, I do have my concerns. My daughter is bi-racial. She is short and muscular. She has a beautiful booty :) and round, rock hard legs. I overheard two of her team mates talking about how much they weigh recently. These are two naturally thin and taller girls. My child heard them too and cast a look back at me. She used to weigh herself everyday. I got rid of the scales.
I tell her everyday how beautiful she is. She likes to cover her thighs with gym shorts because she thinks she's fat. (She's 45 lbs). I do worry about how things will go down the road, but I feel right now she's in a gym that is supportive and does not focus on the size of the girls or their diet -at least not at her level.
The older teens in her gym are all shapes and sizes- they are musculafat not fat. I rarely see any girls that look anorexic - but I know bulimia can be disguised as healthy looking. so I'm not kidding myself here.
i think the most important thing I can do as her mother is to keep my ears open, my eyes open, and use my instinct as well as use open dialogue with her. I don't think it's necessary to have an eating disorder to be a great gymnast and I will use all my energy to keep this from happening. I pray I am able.
I am working hard on my own recovery and can say that I have made great strides in the past two years.
I have been on chemo for the past 5 weeks and get sick often. It easily could be a trigger, but I can honestly say I'm sick of throwing up.
it's going to be a challenge for my daughter, I'm sure. But I also know what to look for.