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Author Topic: Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
bhealy

Posts: 1
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Post Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
on: June 28, 2014, 15:04
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I signed my kids up for summer track (son and daughter). They enjoy it but are not fast runners. They did not seem to have a problem with that fact until my daughter's best friend made a nasty comment when both of my children came in last in their first track meet races. I heard the comment first hand and saw the smug look on her face when she turned to my daughter and said it. They are both 7. I was so mad and told my daughter she needed to stick up for herself or I was going to talk with the her friends' mother...(this little girl has a history of mean little comments and up until now I've let them go). I don't want her bad sportsmanship to make my kids feel horrible and squash their love for running regardless of them being in the back of the pack. We are neighbors with this girl and up until now, her mother and I have carpooled quite a bit because they are involved in many of the same activities. I don't know if I should let my kids handle it with my guidance or say something to the mother. This little girl is very athletic and does well herself, so I don't understand why she continues to be so mean!! Her mother is clueless about what is going on. Any suggestions???

Jana

Posts: 432
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Post Re: Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
on: June 28, 2014, 20:54
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I am baffled by "mean girls". The facts are, though, that you will not be able to change this girl and there are plenty more kids out there who will try to make themselves feel superior by trying to make others feel like less. My daughter has had other kids tell her that she "is slow" or that "she looks stupid when she runs". I know that I can't stop what other kids say so I try to arm my daughter with the skills to deal with these bullies. First, I assure her that she is doing just fine. I also give her some suggestions for retorts like "I like to run" or, my favorite, "Why do you think I care what you think?"

It hurts to watch our children be treated this way but as much as I want to stomp on the mean kids I think my child is better served by accepting that some people try to make you feel bad for sport and she can't let them control her emotions or actions. I probably would end the carpooling though.

Ang J

Posts: 367
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Post Re: Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
on: June 29, 2014, 05:07
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We had a somewhat similar situation when my daughter was younger - 5 and going into K. She had had a relationship with the girl for a couple of years, gone to PreK, carpooled, etc. Though they were nominally friends the relationship was obviously very competitive, and to my eye the clashes seemed to be fueled by the other child's insecurity - she would lash out at or belittle my daughter, whereas my daughter seldom exhibited the same behavior. I'd like to say never but I think that'd be parental prejudice. I was constantly counseling my daughter about how to deal with the other child after yet another upsetting interaction. Finally, after one more incident in carpool, I decided it had to end, whether I'd be The Villain or no. I went to the other mom and basically said this has to stop. We can't carpool, etc. It blew up of course, and makes for awkward moments at times since the kids still go to the same school and we live a block apart. I worried about intervening in my kid's life like that but I definitely feel like all of our lives improved by getting out of that toxic relationship.

I don't think handling the situation in that way is right for everyone, or even right. I relay it by way of saying that sometimes you end up making uncomfortable parenting decisions that will be frowned on by others, or not recommended by the majority of people. But you have to be the one who determines what's right for your unique situation and do it anyway.

I like Jana's advice about how to deal with hurtful comments, and it's true, kids do have to learn to deal with these situations because they're going to continue to encounter them. I think if your children are self assured they will not be so hurt that they will be put off the sport. However, I'd definitely start reducing the amount of contact they have with the neighbor kid.

thenancyrd

Posts: 415
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Post Re: Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
on: June 29, 2014, 11:40
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"Why do you think I care what you think" - Jana, that is brilliant! I wrote it down to remember it, myself. Sad to say but at 53 I still have confidence issues at times...

Beth

Posts: 1
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Post Re: Competition in summer track with kids...help..how to deal with a bad sport
on: June 29, 2014, 13:54
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Jana and Ang J - thank you for your words of wisdom. I've really struggled with what to do and weather or not I should get involved here. I've had conversations with my kids about how to handle it and that they simply need to stay the coarse and do their best but not to be a doormat for this type of behavior either. I certainly realize they will come up against this sort of thing again. I do think it is a good opportunity to be honest with them about their abilities and how we all excel at different things but that they still have every right to be there and compete like everyone else.

Ang J - thank you for your story here...ours sounds very much the same. It validates the fact that I may have to intervene some or at least limit their time together and encourage being with friends that are more supportive. As a mother sometimes I feel as if maybe I am over reacting but your experience validates that we need to do what works for us.

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