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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Oprah's show on sports parents

Guest fille'smom

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This is an interesting article about why parents become so involved in the process. Again, this is on Sports Parents but it could easily be any parent. The part about the parent's dis-satisfaction with his own life and boredom was interesting and I had never quite looked at it that way.



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There is another article in PEOPLE magazine discussing the multitude of overuse injuries in kids. The article discusses the surgeries and therapy kids are having to go through as something they had only seen in adult, professional players a few years ago. The kids that were at a higher risk were those who played a particular sport year round without breaks.

It seems both of the articles mentioned could very well be applied to our own dk's.

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Guest Vicarmac

A few years ago probably only the dancers and gymnasts suffered so many stress fractures now so many kids are encouraged to find a sport and overtrain in it from an early age. We avoided it by her quiting gymnastics at 10 when she started to get real ballet technique. And her hours were reasonable for that.

Did anyone see last nights episode? While I don't think it is always a good idea to be bound to a single sport from 8 like the little boy and football, neither is what the cheerleader mom is doing. She has that kid not only doing too much training in that, she has her in everything else. The cheerleader coach thinks the mom has the kid in too much and she should be concentrating on the cheerleading, but I think there is too much of that too. And boy did you see mom having the kid try on outfits? Talk about sexualizing.

The little boy and cheerleader are young enough they go along with the parents more easily. But the poor skater, his mother is insidious...all approval and affection seems caught up in how he does and he knows it. I think he would like to achieve something in his sport but the pressure of his mom is making him do the opposite and he knows it. And he gets sullen and acts like he doesn't care when she questions him (non-stop) so then of course his answers make her even madder. She can't understand his attitude, when his attitude is caused by her. The previews show him doing so much better when grandma not mom is at practice one day.

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I saw last night's show, after having missed the first week. I really felt bad for both the skater and the equestrian. The skater could say to the camera that he would like to keep his two lives seperate--his life at the rink and his home life, but either could not say this to his mother, or she could not hear what he was saying. So, she was constantly questioning him about why he was "off" that day while the poor kid looked miserable. He also says that his mom watching practice makes him nervous, while she says that it's her right to watch since she pays the bills. I've also heard this logic from some of the ballet moms around my daughter's studio, and I feel it's a little selfish. I personally feel if I am paying all this money for lessons, it's my responsibility to make sure the environment is conducive to her getting the most out of each lesson, and if that means not watching, well, so be it.


The equestrian, at age 17, should have been in on any discussions about family finances, whether to sell her horse, or any alternatives (short or long-term). To be blindsided by this shortly before a competition was more than cruel.


Just my opinions.

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I found myself at first wondering, while watching Skating Mom, how much of her hen-peckery was due to editing, but after a while I found myself wondering how much more hen-peckery the editing was leaving out. That woman was relentless! But I was relieved to see the next-episode preview that promises relief for Skating Son in the form of Grandma. And I did see glimpses that the son is figuring some of this out for himself (like where he says he'd like to keep his skating life at the rink and his home life at home), and might yet survive mom.


Cheerleading Mom and Daughter will someday be a guidebook on burnout. Total burnout from all extracurricular activity. I can't believe the child's school would tolerate the absences and early exits: our kids go to a parochial school, too, and it is very rare that we're allowed to pull them early for non-illness reasons.


Horseback Family: I can't write mom off as looney or pushy, but I do find myself wondering how much she is now reaping what she sowed back when money was more available for them.


Football Family: makes me sad, sad, sad. On so many levels. Too sad to articulate.


Basketball Family: I'm liking this mom. She's got her coach/mom boundary lines clearly drawn. She's also got her hands full with a very real 14-year-old girl, and I hope she succeeds in pulling her back on track.

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Guest Vicarmac

I agree with your accessments for the most part Chauffer. We think the skater definately see things for what they are or senses it anyway. But being still a kid he reacts by not responding as his mother wants, which makes her even worse, but I sure don't blame him, she goes on and on, what can he say that would be right anyway? Might as well blow her off.

Someday the two little ones may be doing the same thing to their parents, when they start being aware that affection and approval is all tied up in how they do.

I probably posted on some other thread about this before, but I heard a sports pyschologist say not only should parents not let kids think that if they do badly it will cost them affection and approval they should keep from making to big a fuss over doing well. He said that even if a parent is careful to be upbeat and nice after a defeat it is still the same message if you over reward a good game. Like buying a new outfit etc for doing so well. HE said it still says I like you better only if you win. I agreed and still do.

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This show also did have relevance to my own family. My sister-in-law is somewhere in between the skating mom and the cheerleading mom. When my niece was 7 and in gymnastics she ragged her out after one practice for not doing as many "pikes" as she normally did. :shrug: When she was in dance she made my niice lie down on the couch the entire day and rest before Nutcracker tryouts. (Despite the fact that I drove two hours to visit them.) She enrolled her at a Dolly Dinkle but then pulled her after about 3 or 4 years citing that for all the money she put in to dancing, my neice was never going to be a professional so why bother. :wacko: I'm sure it didn't help matters that my son started dancing and has kept with it.


I since moved to the other side of the country and don't have much contact with them (partially due to the crazy wife.) Last I heard, my niece tried out track. (what a surprise--mom was a "track star" in high school.) You could clearly see the pattern of accomplishment=affection develop in that relationship. I knew it wasn't what my neice wanted to do. Every time I spoke with her, she said that she wanted to be dancing. How sad. Finally, she tried out for the school cheerleading team (the closest she could get to dance.) Guess what?? Since she dropped track, mom was totally unsupportive, even refusing to come watch her cheer. :angry::devil:


It makes me sick. I hope that she can make it until she is out of high school. She is absolutely a wonderful, sweet, intelligent girl. I hope her mom hasn't ruined her sense of self forever. How sad. :(:crying:

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While we see all the "horror shows" out there, I think it's still important, as parents of talented or enthusiastic, hardworking athletes, to maintain a supportive front for people who don't have children as focused on one area. I know that in my large family (8 siblings, 24 nieces/nephews) my DD's focus on dance is seen as strange, and our parenting occasionally questioned because she spends so much time on it. It's nice to have support from parents of other DKs whose children live similar lives. And as for kids enrolled in numerous activities, we must be fair, some kids are just very high energy. Before focusing just on dance in 7th grade, my own DD did swim team 3X a week, cheerleading 2X a week, basketball each Saturday, dance 3X a week, and tumbling once a week. On Sundays, she was cranky because "I'm booooored, there is nooooothing to do." So, she became an artist, and now, in all her downtime, makes jewelry and tee shirts that she sells for pin money all year 'round. If you let your kids guide you, they will let you know if they need more activities, or fewer.

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I watched a little bit of the Sports Parents show on TV last night - was it on Bravo? Fell asleep after a while. What I did see horrified me. Especially the cheerleader. Visions of Jon Benet Ramsey danced in my head.


It is always uncomfortable for me to speak with the AD about dd. God forbid I should be seen as a stage mom. I just had 1 conversation with the AD and an official "end of year" with the assistant AD. Sometimes wonder if my willingness to pay for Pilates and a few privates here and there (not ongoing, just for specific issues) are seen as pushy. Wanting to help my dd improve - is that a bad thing?


What I don't understand about these Sports Parents is how they can be around their wunderkinder all the time. I need my "grown up time" on a regular basis.

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I just finished watching tonight's installment. The riding mom really frightens me: she is SO cold emotionally. No wonder the kids don't get along with her. She's selling their horse -- and I have no problem with that if they are really strapped -- and she won't even talk to them about it, let alone put her arms around them and cry with them?


The cheerleading mom -- well, she's just so much on her own trip that she simply cannot see how much her daughter is a puppet. I guess that's scary, too. Scarier, in a way, because it could be any of us. If you asked the mom, she'd tell you how much her daughter LOVES to do all this competition -- but you can easily see that the kid is pretty much a normal 8-year-old who is dutifully doing what mom wants. I guess it's pretty easy to pull the wool over one's eyes.


Skating boy: I wonder how he got so far with all the tensions that are simmering inside him? He's really done this in spite of his parents. How much better could he be if he were able -- allowed -- to experience some joy in his sport? And which is going to happen first: winning a title or quitting entirely?

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Treefrog, I watched this episode last night and my views mirror yours exactly. From this episode and the previews of next week's, I can see the horseback-riding family reaching (and going past) the boiling point. I still feel immense sorrow for this girl; her mother shows no emotion about taking away the one positive thing in her life right now. I was impressed that the girl said (while studying, by the way), that her goal was to become employed and self-sufficient so that she could afford to follow her dream on her own some day. Unfortunately, the mom doesn't realize just how lucky she is to have such a beautiful, sensitive, and hard-working teen in today's world.


Skating boy: He looked so much more fluid and relaxed skating with his smiling, appreciative grandma watching him as opposed to his parents. Think he could go live with her for a while? :D

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I find myself wondering if business at Cheerleading Mom's "dance" studio will improve or decline after this series is done. Is she just a walking, twitching ad for Dolly Dinkle or what? :D

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Guest Vicarmac

I have been on road so I haven't seen Wednesday's yet. I hadn't commented on horse mom too much as she hadn't been on as much as some of the other parents yet, with last weeks having more of the girls at the trainer lady's. However I thought there was something off. I wonder if this is something to do with the divorce, I mean I know she herself blames the divorce for having to sell horse, but is it more about her bitterness than just the finances? She almost seems to be saying to girls, see your father is gone so I HAVE to sell horse it is not my fault but YOUR fathers. I get the feeling she doesn't even want to find some other solution because she wants it to be shown that she the one who would do anything for her kid but can't because her marriage is over. She might have to sell the horse anyway, but I think she doesn't really want not to.

I also saw something in regards to the stress fractures and other injuries that are beginning to run rampant in children involved in sports that parents need to rein in their kids a bit. That, often, they excuse the excess by saying the child wants to be doing it all the time. Well they are the adults and the payers and schedulers so they caan control the training from going overboard. However, they do not, but they use as an excuse that their 8 year old demands it and wants it. Well if your kid wants to only eat candy do you let them? You can't completely go on the letting the child lead the way, you are still the adult.

Letting coaches just take over can result in some problems too. One should be ready to take the child away if a coach (gymnastic coaches come to mind ala the CNN show on that) is too demanding and demeaning, instead they act as if they HAVE to allow their kid to be in a bad situation because the coach is supposed to be the best. And the kid is not in the position to even know what is best for herself because the coaches and parents have told her in their actions that if she wants to win she has to be willing to take it, suck it up or get out.

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The equestrian mom is really starting to scare me too. I thought that the daughter was amazingly restrained in her reaction to the possible sale of her horse. At that age I would have been VERY upset to say the least. Now, she IS a teeneager, but she seems like a pretty good kid. I found myself wondering, is the mom crazy, flaky, or does she have some other motive. I think the daughter summed up my feelings when she told the camera that the wondered if her mom was somehow trying to punish her by selling her horse. It makes me very sad. Parents just don't realize how their own issues (probably divorce-related) can deeply effect their kids. And the mom just blows it all off to the fact that she is divorcing their father, and that's why the girls are upset with her. I think the girls are upset because the mom chooses to handle the divorce in an unhealthy way.


Another thing that struck me about the last show was that "semi-pro" football player that is more than willing to accept the dad's money and help "train" this poor 8 year-old. Like tackling him until he cries, and make him run stairs and then give him a hard time becasue he was getting tired. He of all people should know what a physical and mental strain footbal puts on older men, much less an 8 year-old.


And that cheerleading mom, what can I say? I cringe every time I watch that segment.


**stepping off my soap box***


Okay, am I the only mom who looks at these parents and thinks: "okay, at least I'm not THAT bad!!" ??


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