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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Homesickness: how long before it is not so intense?

Guest evacaroline

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It means she is comfortable, happy, and secure----and that she knows she can always get to you when/if she needs to. :wink:


I was very much that way. Long after I was an adult, my mother told me she always felt a little sad that I never looked back when she'd take me to the airport and I'd head off to the gate to go back to school. Honestly, it just never occurred to me to do that. I ALWAYS knew I could get to my parents if I ever needed to. And they always took my phone calls and let me reverse charges or even charge to a third number when I called my boyfriend. (Kids today will have no idea what any of that means! lol) I just wasn't homesick. But that did NOT mean I did not love, appreciate, or at times even miss being home, my parents or my siblings.

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I completely agree with dancemaven. Sometimes it's a matter of temperament combined with the security of knowing your parents are there for you.


My DD has experienced a lot of homesickness. She has an older brother who began to spend summers away from home in his teens. I don't think he was homesick for a minute! He's also the one who started kindergarten without a backward glance. She, on the other hand, had mysterious tummy aches (hmmm) that sometimes necessitated leaving school early. So different from one another but both maintain a strong connection with us in their different ways.


While as parents we are relieved if we believe our children are managing well, not feeling terribly needed poses its own challenges! I am very happy that my daughter has overcome her homesickness but now I struggle to adjust to the fact that I hear a lot less from her and know that she may not be coming home as often or for as long. Separation - starts when you give birth and continues on from there.

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Thanks so much for the support. I like to think she is happy and independent, but it would be nice to be needed a bit more. Her independence at the age of 14 is amazing.


She was just home for a long weekend and while I know she really enjoyed her time at home, she also was anxious to get back. I think I am the one with separation anxiety!

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It sounds like you have a well-adjusted, secure dd and you are giving her the wonderful gift of allowing her to follow her passion! I know exactly how you feel as dd went away when she had just turned 15 and never looked back. Instead of feeling like I lost my daughter, I have just adopted many of her friends through the years... many call me "Mom". DD is now 19 and dancing professionally far, far from home. When I visit, I clean, cook and invite all of her friends over to feast. I think I'm making up for lost time! I am enriching my own life by getting to know them. Her French friends have prompted me to revisit my (once) fluency in French. Be proud of your daughter and of your own willingness to let her go and live life fully! :clapping:

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  • 2 years later...

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this topic. It has been very helpful over the last couple of days when I have had teary video calls from DD. It took me by surprise as I thought the excitement of being in a new country, living her dream would override any homesickness. Instead she is finding it physically and mentally exhausting doing 6 full days of dance and cooking and washing as well as navigating new friendships. She just wanted to debrief and chat to someone she knows. I'm sure things will improve.

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Things will improve hang in there.They are always more emotionally fragile when tired or when they have too much free time.Encourage your DD to get as much rest as she can and to make sure that she is eating well to fuel her busy body.It is a massive adjustment especially at the start of term.After Christmas vacation is often the most difficult adjustment following family time. I look back to my post on this thread from 3 years ago and would like to update everyone.My DD is now 14 and loves her vocational school - she can't wait to return after vacations to be with her "sisters".Phone calls went almost overnight from daily for 4 terms to rarely unless she needs something.Sometimes all they need to do is offload so that they feel better and you are left to pick up the pieces.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hang in there, Clutterbug! It will start to get easier in a few weeks. :) My DD16 went through something similar in the fall (new country, completely independent living situation, far more demanding schedule) despite being very excited all summer to go off on her own. Poor DD was exhausted for the first month or so trying to balance all the increased demands and that bled into feeling overwhelmed. What finally got her over the homesickness was starting rehearsals for her first performance -- that gave her a reason to bond with the other dancers in the program. Once she got to know people who could then give her good tips on how to navigate the cultural differences, as well as invite her out for social activities, she was MUCH happier.

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks to all who have contributed to this topic-- it has been very helpful! We are currently going through the roller coaster of intermittent homesickness and self-doubt. DD 13 (nearly 14) is in her first year at a residential program and, although she loves her teachers and classes, has been expressing worry that she is not as good as the other dancers and fear that she may not be progressing as she should. It seems far too early in the year to worry about reacceptance, but I think she is aware of it all the time.


It is very strange for me as a parent not to have seen her dance since she arrived there and to have no basis for knowing whether her concerns are realistic and/or whether homesickness is affecting her confidence in her dancing. I think there may be some connection to not being able to come home for Thanksgiving (she is in school in another country so does not have time off this week). I know she is working hard both in and outside of class, but she feels uncertain about whether she is improving. She has made good friends at school, but does not feel comfortable talking to them about this, so ends up spending more time alone when she is feeling homesick or down. She has not had any specific feedback from teachers expressing concern, but should be receiving an evaluation at the end of the term.


I'm not sure how to respond to this as a parent. I have encouraged her to talk to her ballet teacher to ask for feedback and suggestions, but she is hesitant. She is clear that she loves school and does not want to come home, but is definitely struggling with confidence right now, which is not her usual self.


I am worried that if she is feeling down and lacking in confidence this will reflect in her dancing, which is certainly not going to help her progress. I don't know how to help and definitely don't want to make the situation worse!


Any thoughts from other parents who have been there? I don't think I have ever felt so helpless as a parent before! I want her to feel better and just don't know what to do!

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Does the school have a dorm or house 'mother'? Or a dorm counselor? Or a student services person? Surely, the School has some personnel that the students can talk to about homesickness or the self-doubt issues or typical i-need-a-mom type issue. DD went to a residency school as a high school sophomore and even at that age, her school recognized the importance of providing that kind of support persons for the students. Dd's small school had several different people the kids could choose to talk to and would talk to various ones depending on their needs and comfort level per topic. DD still feels close to several of those.

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Thanks, dancemaven. There are counselors in the dorms who seem very sweet, but I'm not sure if she knows them well enough to feel comfortable bringing up these sorts of concerns. I will ask her. She tends to be a pretty private person who does not like others to know she is upset, so I don't think it is easy for her to ask for help. Even I hear about her worries mostly on the weekend when she has her room to herself or by text.


It's interesting-- she has always been a kid who has handled pressure really well and is able to roll with most stressful situations, casting disappointments, etc. so it is hard for me to see her feeling worried and not know what to do to help. I'm hoping this is a phase that will pass quickly, but it is hard to be far away!

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I would think those dorm counsellors are there, in part, for issues and circumstances such as these. Certainly more in their bailywick than the dance teachers'. Helping the students with non-dance technique issues and concerns is what they are there for, the parens loci function. I would be very surprised if the dorm counsellors had not had training in these areas of youth development. DD's did.


If your DD does not know the dorm counsellors very well, then it is time she started to get to know them. They are there not just for her protection or just to enforce rules, but to provide emotional support and help with problem-solving, etc.


Best wishes to your DD! and to you! It is hard to parent from a distance. It takes a village and those dorm counsellors are an important and integral part of your DD's new village. :D

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Thank you! You make a very good point. I was assuming that, since the angst is about dance, that it would make sense for her to ask her ballet teacher for feedback, but perhaps if she is still feeling insecure she should start by talking to one of the dorm counselors. I appreciate the advice!

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My DD has struggled with asking for help/support in similar situations. Being of a perfectionist nature I think she thought it a sign of weakness. I had to reassure that on the contrary that it was a sign of maturity and strength that you recognised that you needed to talk things over with someone. Also that most people find it difficult to ask for help/ assistance/ support!

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This is part and parcel of the ballet roller coaster.When my DD first went to vocational school 5 years ago ,age 11 ,all her confidence and self belief evaporated and it seemed like the joy of dance was sucked out of her. By nature ballet dancers are perfectionists , self critical and there is always someone better than you.Her confidence slowly recovered and she only started to believe in herself when she won places at 5 prestigious Upper schools at 16.Of course there was a further wobble when she missed a half term of dance due to injury, but at the moment she is back on the high of the roller coaster having ( unexpectedly in her eyes) made it through to the finals of a competition.What has helped has been switching off from dance with her friends, going to the park, shopping, gossiping and more shopping.

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