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Teacher5

Daughter wants to quit dance after next year

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DanceMumNYC

Thanks for your feedback. The school itself isn’t important to us, just the training. Although the first studio was good and even has an affiliated company, it took us leaving there to see that even better quality training is available. There are many options in NYC, so it’s a bit overwhelming. We’re also scared to leave because her seat will be quickly filled as the competition to get into the school is steep. I am trying to make dd attend summers elsewhere to see what’s out there before making any major changes. But ultimately I’m the one pushing for another school, so I don’t want to make any decisions we’ll regret. 

I think it may also be helpful to note that dd’s attitude isn’t just towards dance. She’ll complain about other events like school for example (the work is too easy, so-and-so’s behavior, I didn’t get enough time to eat my lunch). And she makes lots of excuses & is starting to “debate” me often. She stayed with her grandparents for a little while and they also noticed this & mentioned it to me. I don’t want to make any major decisions if this is just a developmental phase that she has to get through either. 

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HarfordDanceMom

This happened to my DD at that age. She was so focused on social stuff, and none of her friends at school saw dance as a "cool" sport. Then a friend at Ballet quit, but kept taking Jazz, and she kept telling everyone how happy she was having more time to hang out with friends. We had already paid for a pricey summer intensive and told her she needed to go and make a decision later. She went and fell in love with it. She has never asked to quit again. Sometimes you have to investigate and see if it is social pressures or that she just isn't that into it.

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DanceMumNYC

Thanks HarfordDanceMom. The reason I brought up other changes in her behavior is because I’ve been doing a lot of research & found it’s all common developmental behavior for tweens. I guess I also posted in the wrong thread, because dd hasn’t mentioned quitting. But her behavior did make me ask about it before, and she made a big scene and said she still wants to dance. I know that socializing is important to tweens, and she seemed happy with her old dance studio friends and summer dance friends. But if she doesn’t feel she has friends at the current school, I don’t know if that’s good enough reason to say it isn’t the right fit or make changes. A part of me wants to put her where she seems happiest, and another part of me just wants to wait until this phase is over, if that’s what it truly is.

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DanceDaddy
6 hours ago, DanceMumNYC said:

I’ve been doing a lot of research & found it’s all common developmental behavior for tweens.

DanceMumNYC - Care to share what/where you've been reading? Kinda going through this with my DD, not for dance but some other activities. 

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dancerdancer

Don't you wish there were a crystal ball to consult, that would tell us for sure what is the right thing to do?  I definitely relate. It can feel agonizing to try to figure out the best path forward.  You are right that tweens are a whole new ball game, developmentally. It is pretty age appropriate for that stage to "argue with a sign post and then go the wrong way". (This phrase was also used to describe my otherwise lovely grandmother, who never quite grew out of that stage!)  It can be a good thing - your child is learning to exercise her independent thinking and independent will.  It can be very annoying to the parent, however!  I also noticed at around 10-11 a big change in disposition, from the sunny, child-like enthusiasm of early childhood, to a more sober, less playful demeanor. Part of growing up, though of course, to differing degrees for different people. 

So your daughter could be going through a stage, or it could be that the school is not a great fit, or both.  I will also say that I think that age between about 10-13 or so was the age my children worried the most about feeling left out of social relationships. I'm sure that varies from person to person, but for my kids that was the in between age when they felt torn about keeping up with childhood friends versus wanting to dance, dance, dance. Past that age, they had pretty much made their peace with the idea that they weren't going to be able to do it all. They had gotten to the point were they knew that dance was their priority for now, and that it was worth it to them to miss out on some of the social elements.  This is something that I wouldn't have been able to push on them.  I will say, though, that social media for them has allowed them to keep up with childhood friends and friends that they've made in the dance community, both at previous dance schools, and at summers away. It is a way that they've been able to feel like they are still included in what is going on in their friends' lives even when they can't see them every day. There are negative things about social media, especially at your daughter's age, so I'm certainly not arguing that your approach is misguided. Just that it can eventually be something that helps down the road a ways.  

I guess when I've been really torn about things, where I've truly been uncertain what to do, that's when I try to give extra consideration to what my daughters want. In other words, if there is an issue where I feel confident that, with my experience and knowledge, I know that something is right for them, (ie, they aren't allowed to hit each other, or run into the street, or eat only candy, or stay in an abusive or unhealthy dance environment, etc, etc.) then that's where I insist on my agenda. When it is a situation where I am agonizing, where I can see how both options could be true, where I just don't know without a crystal ball what is best, then I tend to do what my child wants to do. Because they might not make the right choice, but I might not make the right choice, either, and I may as well let my child take ownership of that particular decision, for better or for worse.  If nothing else, kids tend to hold potentially bad decisions against you, whereas if they make decisions they are more likely to try their hardest to make that option work out.  Not sure if that makes sense to anyone but me, but that's how I've approached it!

And if you imagine for a moment giving your child the option of where to study, and the thought of her making one of those choices gives you a strong feeling of "wrongness", then that might be a sign that you do have a good idea of which option would really be best in this case.

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Winterqueen

DanceMumNYC, I am wondering if your daughter just needs a little bit of social time, just a little bit.  A sleepover with friends, or a hangout session (I know playdates are not considered cool anymore at this age, my own daughter is 11).  While my daughter is not at a big name school right now, she is dancing 12-13 hours a week and even though her school is very local to us, with her homework load and classes and rehearsals she just doesn't have much time for friends.  It is something that I have noticed is very important to her psyche, so we do what we can, when we can even though it doesn't look like the social life of most girls her age.  

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Noodles

DanceMumNYC, perhaps it is time to address the complaining? I know it is part of her expressing her thoughts and feelings but perhaps helping her to find a more productive way would be helpful.

For example, when she complains about going to dance ask 'How would you like to fix it?' and then engage in that conversation that helps her to weigh the pros and cons of the subject at hand.....she might say 'I don't want to go' and you would reply with 'well we have alreadyY paid for this year, do you want to stop dancing next year?' if she says 'yes' then agree to have a conversation in the spring before signing up and discuss what her other interests are and what she would like to try (another sport, music lessons, horseback riding, whatever) If she says 'No, I just need a day off' then consider perhaps she is taking a bit too much and needs to lighten the load, so discuss that. The same goes with a phone, when she complains about it let her play out her fantasy a bit and hep her paint the picture of what having a phone would look like in your family...the time spent sucked into social media, your family view on that, feelings get hurt over social media (perhaps she is naive to understand the down side of it all), the type of rules that would go along with having a phone, and finally end with what your time frame is for her getting a phone. (our rule was age 13, so I completely feel your pain on this!).

The response of 'How would you like to fix it?' works with any scenario and helps to remind her that all of her issues can be changed and most of them will simply require her identify how to make the change and how to  weigh out the pros and cons. It takes the power out of the mindless complaints and puts her in charge, teaching her that all decisions come with consequences, you can't wear your hair in braids if you cut it short.

The point is to allow her complaints to blossom into a conversation which allows her to explore all options with you still holding the line on your rules. Then again, sometimes kids just want to be heard and vent after a long day and don't really want mom to 'fix it" just listen. This is so hard for me!

Having an older teen, I also agree that it is critical to try to prioritize social time as well. Kids need that outlet, especially as they get older and dance consumes more and more of their lives. 

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DanceMumNYC

Wow, thanks everyone for your feedback! It puts my mind at ease to know that I’m not the only one dealing with this, as many of you are too or have been there/done that. 

DanceDaddy, you can just google your kid’s particular issue. I literally typed into google “my kid complains too much” and “tween behavior changes” etc. Tons of blogs popped up of parents sharing their experiences. For more credible sources, you can try a search engine like google scholar. I’ve found research articles that discuss child psychology & development.

DancerDancer, thank you a ton!! You made a great point explaining how social media can be used to keep up with friends & feel included although dd won’t physically be with them. I definitely will let dd weigh in on decisions I’m unsure about!! We have discussed possibly changing schools & she is okay with either choice (staying or leaving for the summer school).

Winterqueen, thanks! I will definitely take that into consideration. We were never big on playdates, but I will consider them when she has days off from school. Today happened to be a half-day and her grandmother invited a classmate over! :)

noodles, thank you so much for your advice. I usually respond by letting dd know that there’s nothing we can do at this point (since classes are paid for and we’re usually already on our way when the complaining begins). I will definitely follow your advice to help dd find the solution for herself. I told her that she can get a phone in middle school (age 11), but dancerdancer’s comment and input from friends & family have me reconsidering if she should get one this summer :rolleyes:

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DanceDaddy

Pertinent story... for the first time ever my daughter complained about going to a dance class! It's been pretty common the past few years for her to pick up an extra class in the weeks leading up to the exam. On Friday night, we said about going to an extra class on Saturday morning. She was not happy! She was perfectly fine at class and happy afterwards.

She also complained about going to a swim clinic in the afternoon. This has happened before with swimming, which is why I LOVE ballet!

When she calmed down and we asked her about it. She said that sometimes on the weekend she just wants to do what she wants to do. In short - nothing!  She has her classes on school nights, so she does enjoy the free time on weekends.  Of course, she still wants to do 2 nutcrackers next fall (with rehearsals on the weekend) and we are saying just 1.

Anyways, I like what Winterqueen suggested, I do think is a good idea! A little free/social time might work wonders!

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DanceMumNYC

I recently stumbled upon a thread "DD is feeling very stressed...help!" that noodles initiated a few years ago! I think my dd may be overscheduled. When I ask her if she wants to quit, she says she doesn't. However, she has mentioned if she MUST quit something, it would be music not ballet/dance. She knows she must continue everything until June, because classes for the year are already paid for. Yet, I have considered taking her out of music next year, but my family thinks that'll be a terrible idea. While dance shows slow progress, dd is doing pretty well in music and has already been accepted to an advanced training program here in NYC. They think I shouldn't just let her throw that away. Plus, both her ballet and music teachers comment on how the activities she does complement each other very well and they can see it. I thought of taking her out of music for just a year or two, but family has asked, "What if she never returns?" Now, I am looking into at-home private lessons as this will allow my dd to still have her lessons, but we'll avoid a day of traveling and perhaps skip a lesson here and there when she has a busy dance season. Often times, it may not be that our kids have something against dance, but that they have so many other activities going on simultaneously. So many parents on here have kids who do other sports and/or music in addition to dance. Something has to give, and as they get older, they will most likely have to choose one or the other. I think that is something else to think about.

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Noodles

DanceMumNYC, I will have to search for it and revisit the past! 

We did go through a difficult period. In hindsight mostly it was my DD's personality at the time combined with girls scouts, piano, school stress and growth that threw her a curve ball, that she had no idea how to deal with it all. We ended up dropping both piano and GS. We also made the switch to a non-traditional academic program. 

I am going to guess that post was when she was 11-12. There were some tough days in that year and when I suggested that she lighten up on dance it triggered more tears and absolute refusal. Sometimes we have to let their passion take priority over things that we think are important and sometimes as parents we have to prioritize what we know is important...it is a fine line. My daughter was a lovely pianist, My husband and I loved hearing her practice! But she had not love at all for it. None. There came a point where it seemed unfair to make her continue in a pursuit that she didn't even like. Would it have been good for her? Yes. But the stress that that extra time spent on practice instead of school work was not worth it. I will say that she does occasionally tinker with the piano and did teach herself several Christmas songs over the holiday which we all enjoyed and it was on her terms. 

Hugs mom. It is not easy.

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DanceMumNYC

Yes! You mentioned that she was 11 at the time. Thank you for all of your advice. My daughter loves playing songs, but on her own terms. Sometimes, she'll just go to the piano and play whatever she wants--whether it was assigned, she learned it on her own, or she made it up! However, once she hears the word "practice," which includes scales and repetition of said songs, it becomes more of an issue. I am definitely looking into alternative music lessons that won't take up too much time, and if worse comes to worst, I will consider her dropping it altogether. It is very scary to think about. :wacko:

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