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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Difference between "pushing" and mean


Guest poetandlyric

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danceintheblood

A very personal opinion. You are never 'stuck' anywhere. If situations are bad for your child, and can't be resolved, there are always other options. I felt 'stuck' with dd, but when enough was enough, we found a way to move elsewhere, and I realised it had actually been possible earlier - I just didn't see it. The best thing we did was move. Again, our personal situation.

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You have to set the standard for what is acceptable for you and your child.

 

Teaching your child to accept abusive behavior has its own repercussions. It can affect not just progress in her ballet training but more importantly may also influence her role in future relationships (with future ADs, friends/boyfriends etc).

 

My standard is if I wouldn't talk that way to my child in my most frustrated moment, why on earth would I ever let anyone else?

 

Everyone can make a regretful mistake, but if this behavior is consistent, walk away.

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It is fine to continue with this conversation, however . . . . .please be advised that the original conversation took place in August 2008 and the original poster resolved her issue in one manner or another.

 

So, it is fine to continue the thread if someone has an issue or would like to re-visit the issue, but to the extent folks believe they are responding to the original poster, um, that was almost 3 1/2 years ago and her dilemma has been resolved. :cool2:

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Dear Danceintheblood and Mousling, thank you so much for your insight as well on this topic. I had just last week had a horrible experience with my young daughter which left me and my daughter sleepless with anxiety and distraught from her dance teacher who had freaked on her. I was given advice from a fellow dance mom that she let her kids deal with the dance teachers and it was only if her kids asked for her help that she would. As much as I respected her own opinion it clearly would not work for my situation where I happened by chance to witness it . I heard everything the teacher screamed as well as the body language which was threatening and over the top out of control. My daughter had been in dance since she was 3 and never had this experience in all these years with any coach, teacher, instructor with both children. I knew I needed something where I could possibly talk to someone in dance but not in the same studio as I wanted an inbiased opinion with experience of dance. I did find this site which I am new to and found this forum discussion dated back 3 years however I just wanted to post an opinion even if I didn't have a single person read it. Writing it out seemed to relieve some stress and helped with writing out my thoughts. Dancemaven I have found the last comments that came very helpful so hopefully you don't mind this continuing as this problem does continue I'm sure with more dancers than we should have.

I do believe Mousling hit a great point, why would we ever except someone treating our children that way when we don't. I have had comments that Dance teachers are passionate about their dance and can get upset, however I believe you can have compassion without freaking or crossing the line of outright abusive behaviour. We do trust these adult dance teachers with our most loved, so we do expect them to be only teaching them not mentally or physically abusing them. I have also been told that some dance teachers were physically hit by their previous teachers which is appauling to say the least. We do put our children in dance as it is supposed to be enjoyable and something they love. If ever they are in a situation I hope that parents will step in even if their children don't come to them if needed. Children are need their parents to help them even if they don't ask sometimes as they may not know how to or they may not know its unappropriate or wrong. I don't beleive they can always make that decision if they need to get help. If a child is always getting screamed at or treated badly by a teacher, they may not know its not right. We are our childrens advocate as it is our responsiblilty to make sure they are safe and treated well and stand up to how they should be treated. I do think there are some parents who may not want to cause any problems with dance teachers as it is a great place to dance or the teachers are so reputable, but it could never be worth your childs respect and dignity they deserve always. These children will be bringing the things they experienced into their lives as adults as mousing put it with future boyfriends and husbands. Of course in that case it's harder to intervene with teaching them self respect as an adult and often there is nothing you can do once they are in a committed realationship. My daughter I am hoping will continue to be independent, outgoing, and always expecting the best treatment in relationships as well as giving it. All I can hope for is that my daughter grows into a happy healthy adult regardless if she dances or not.

Edited by dancingmommy
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Absolutely continue the discussion, dancingmommy! :thumbsup: I'm glad the thread and the new posts are helping you. That's what we want to happen on BT4D. This is an issue that comes up more often than one would hope. I'm sorry you and your DD are having to deal with it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My DD (12 years old, dancing since four, now ballet 8-10 hours weekly) and I are in something of a similar situation right now--my daughter now says she's "kinda afraid" of her teacher for the past two years, who she used to really like. (It's a one-teacher studio with no AD, but the only studio in town. Closest others are a one-hour or more drive.)

 

Over the past months, her teacher's language has become more insulting ("What is wrong with you? When are you going to get this right?, all in front of classmates) and less instructive. She also seems completely uninterested in motiviating or supporting her as a dancer--when my DD expresses interest in a dance topic she's read about or a performance she's seen, it's immediately poo-poohed.

 

She's also insinuating that DD is something of a disaster of a dancer, which has never, ever been an issue. While she's not a prodigy by any means, she is a pleasant and hard-working student who has achieved a great deal, and one of the top dancers in her class--extremely dedicated and loyal. (Teacher now says she has "no front splits," and she's been doing front splits for about four years, etc.) We've been told that if DD has to miss class, when we ask if there are exercises that she can do at home to stay in shape, the teacher gives an abrupt "no," which I know is absolutely not truthful.

 

The class "favorite," on the other hand, gets stern corrections but never humiliation.

 

I feel this lack of support and encouragement, and the sudden "turning" on my DD, is crossing the line to abuse.

 

Am I wrong to expect a good teacher to also make her students feel excited about the art, and to support their enthusiasm instead of shutting it down? It's almost as though the teacher is jealous of my daughter, or angry at me. I have no idea what either of us could have done that made her angry, but a nice relationship is going sour fast. I don't get it, and I don't know what to do!

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dancingmommy

I feel for you and know you must feel so torn. Of course your daughter is in dance as she must love it, however the teacher is clearly abusing her authority and position with your daughter. I think your daughter needs to have the option to leave this unhealthy relationship and treatment from the ballet teacher. Actually I believe it is our responsibility to have the deciding factor for our children's well being, this will also help them see how to handle unhealthy relationships. If your daughter has been treated for two years like this she may be getting used of the bad treatment and not see how much damage it's doing. Your daughters confidence and self respect are more important than dance if you have to make a choice. It's too bad this is the only dance teacher within an hour. You could talk with your daughter about the importance of having self respect and not letting anyone walk over her or treat her less than she deserves.  If she is the type that can stand up for herself she can call her on mean comments, however if she's scared of her now it won't work. You may even want to try practicing with her certain situations that she can handle when you are not there. If anything it helps prepare her for the difficult world that our children have to face. Another thing I would do write a letter outlining the events that happened and how wrong and unprofessional the actions and behavior was for a grown woman and instructor to treat a child. Try and make it constructive and let her know your worries of your daughters well being. There is so much more to your daughter than dance, if it meant she didn't there is so many more doors that will open for her. When one door shuts, another opens and sometimes it may be the one she was waiting for. Hope this helps. Let me know what you think you might do.

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learningdance

Or the woman is going through something else that is affecting her interpersonal relationships. Don't count that out.

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dancingmommy

Yes, it could be the woman is going through something, although it sounds like she does have a favorite in the class. And if that is the case the woman needs to step back and re-evaluate her job and influence on children. I do a lot of self-evaluating with my career and my parenting and relationships and say "did I do the best I could, could I have been better or handled a situation better?" Sometimes people are just in the wrong career and some people should not work with children or be a mentor to them if they are breaking their personalities and self-esteem. Maybe this woman needs someone to help her self reflect and know what harm she's doing, maybe that will work.

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To paraphrase instructions at the Mad Hatter's tea party, "New school, new school, move on, move on!"

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Tarantella2000

... and not to forget that you pay for their service... it is business relationship where you have rights too.

 

If your kid gets reprimanded or unjustly yelled at on a continuing basis, I would definitely arrange for a meeting (without DK) to find out what is going on. Might very well be, as learningdance has stated, that the teacher is troubled with personal problems.

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dancingmommy

Well said dancemaven and Tarantella2000, I think it is a very good point this is a service where we pay the instructor to teach our children and guide them. My view that I've voiced is I don't treat my children poorly, why would I voluntarily take my child to be with someone who would, or even worse pay them to. If the instructors personal problems have been going on for 2 years since she started treating her daughter badly I think it's been long enough and that is no excuse. We all have careers that we are not supposed to let our personal problems spill into what we do. If that were the case in some careers it would cause them to lose their jobs or lives could be on the line, I know if a school teacher treated my child poorly over a period of time or out of line, I would consider having their jobs or have them take some sort of anger management and counseling on how to treat people and cope with the problems that they may have. I guess I have like most of us mothers high expectations on how I want my child treated and it's a learning experience for them to always treat people well and expect the same.

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Thank you, everyone, for your advice and sense of humor! This is a particular challenge for us, since the first 18 or so months of study at this school were quite good and a positive experience. Everything has gone steadily downhill just recently, and the thought that the teacher is having a personal challenge elsewhere has crossed my mind.

 

I wonder if she's just getting to the point where she's considering retiring. I know that at the end of my workday, I don't want to go out and work yet another exhausting job--and that's exactly what she's doing, with a long commute tucked between the two. But if that's the case she still should know better than to take it out on her students. But why my child, and me, in particular? Is it because she's striving and wants more than this teacher wants to offer? That's my theory at the moment, but it remains to be seen. We are searching for different schools but in the meantime need to keep this one livable until the summer--SIs are already in place, and studio bills have been paid, so we need to keep her dancing and monitor the conditions. I'm watching class today, which I'm told often results in stellar teacher behavior. :whistling:

 

Update soon after I determine how to talk to the teacher about this without having her retaliate against my DD even further!

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