//Hateful Handsprings

Hateful Handsprings

Hateful Handsprings


I found your page while searching for advice on teaching tween girls to be considerate and not whisper or exclude one another. This is a big problem on my daughter’s gymnastics team, and I am sure in many schools and sports teams. Any advice?

—Anne M.


Your daughter is certainly of an age where this sort of situation is common. Have you tried approaching her directly? Let her know how hurtful these scenarios can be for the ones being whispered about. Be sure she understands that it’s okay not to partake, and that as she gets older, she’ll realize that the whisperers are often lacking in confidence and character, and the ones who refuse to take part are the admirable ones.

Since this is a problem that seems to affect the entire team, have you spoken to your daughter’s coach? The coach should make this sort of thing a priority, because it can only serve to weaken the team’s unity when there’s so much gossip going on. If the coach can’t get through, what about a graduate of the program, perhaps someone right out of college? Having someone who has succeeded in gymnastics and who is just a few years older than the girls in question may just command their undivided attention and help convince them to change their whispery ways.