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     A question for all you mommies out there... how long do you force a child to stick with an extra-curricular activity? Taylor, who is just barely 5-years-old, has decided that gymnastics is not something that she really wants to do anymore.... to the point that she threw a tempter tantrum at gymnastics last week. We had already paid for this month, so we made her go tonight because we didn't want to lose the money. She "mysteriously" came down with a stomach ache right before class. I told her that real athletes push through when they're sick... they suck it up and put on their tough face. She then asked me what an athlete was, so I'm pretty sure the lesson didn't stick.
     Last night, knowing that I was probably going to have a battle on my hands this evening when class time rolled around, I decided to turn on the college gymnastics competition and get Taylor excited about the sport. Instead, Cameron decided that HE wants to join gymnastics and Taylor just liked the sparkles on the girls' unforms.
     So, with one final attempt to encourage my kid to have any sort of hobby and social life, I chose to manipulate her.... just a little, just enough to get what I wanted from her. I told her that since it was her last night, she better make it her best class ever, for the sake of her teacher and everyone in the class. And then after each stunt and tumble, she dutifully looked over at me through the class as I cheered, smiled, clapped, and gave two thumbs up. Her huge, cheesy grin informed me that my mind games were working! She came out after the class was over and I praised her improved cartwheel, and reminded her that her teacher must think she's pretty amazing, since she's the only girl that was able to move up to the tall balance beam. In fact, she's probably so awesome that the teacher may even cry if she doesn't come back....
     "Ughhh, fine, Mom! I'll try it for one more time, but then I might still quit again.... did you see my handstand?? I did really good, right?" She was beaming as she asked it. "You did INCREDIBLE! I was so proud watching you.... I told all the other mommies that you were my daughter and they all thought you were super good at gymnastics," I said to her. "I'm REALLY good at gymnastics! Can I have a sparkly outfit like the girls on t.v.?" (Wait a second.... is she using mind games back at me?)
     So, Moms, what would you do? Would you make your child stick it out, even if another tummy ache comes up next week? And if so, for how long does a 5-year-old suffer through? I don't want to raise a quitter, but it's not like there's an end to the season that we are holding out for. And I see so many benefits of a sport (teamwork, coordination, self-pride, dedication, socialization, etc), but should I waste money each month if she really chooses she hates it next week again? Advice is always welcome!

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