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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Communicating with our DK's away at Residency


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Hi! Forgive me if there is already a topic on this out there. I searched and couldn't find one.

 

My DS15 (will be 16 in the fall) is strongly considering staying year-round at the company-affiliated school where he is currently attending SI. We have known for a few years that this was a possibility and have been comfortable with the idea. Still, now that it's actually coming closer to reality, I find myself feeling a bit panicky at the thought of his moving away. He's a mature, responsible kid-- I'm not worried about him per se... I will just miss him a lot.

 

Right now, he's at an 8 week SI. Last summer and this summer, I speak to him on the phone about once a week and have a couple of text exchanges every couple of days. He's sort of a stereotypical boy in that he's not much of a communicator.

 

He's extremely busy at the SI and falls into bed every night exhausted, so it's hard to find a moment to talk with him. I'm thinking he won't be so crazy busy/exhausted during the year-round program, so I could probably talk with him more. If he lives away from home year-round, I feel like I will want more communication than we're having over the summer... More like every day. Also, he will be doing online high school, so I will need to talk with him about his school work (make sure he's doing it!!).

 

I was wondering how often the parents here on BT4D tend to communicate with their living-away teenagers.

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We text with our 16 year old DD every evening when she settles down after classes and dinner. On Sundays we all Skype or FaceTime for an hour or so (pooch included). This has worked for us for the last two years and we continue it while she is at her SI, although there is generally less communication in the Summer due to the longer dance schedule. I find it too difficult to speak on the phone or Face Time more often, it just gets us both more weepy. Once a week seems OK for us all, we are able to converse on another level when we can see each other, somehow.

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When my dd lived away, we texted constantly. She was in home stay, and taking the bus over the city, so I felt the need to constantly know where she was. We would talk on the phone every night.

 

It helped that she didn't miss us at all, and is never homesick. It might be different if she was crying and homesick.

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For us, it helped to have an agreed upon timeslot at the same time every day when DD would call. For us, curfew was a good time as it was when she had to check in with ResLife, and it was the same time every night. We just made it habit. Sometimes it would be a brief "check-in" call, other times it would be a more lengthy discussion. It gave us time to talk about both ballet and academics, and gave DD a chance to vent/decompress/share little victories, etc.

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DD16 lived away for the first to this past year. Texting seemed to be best way to touch base a few times a day. Simple things like sending a picture of her brothers doing something or a link to something funny or just asking how her day went, what she had for dinner or what she was learning in repertoire class, what lessons she did for online school (though we can see that anyway). If she wanted, she might respond with more engaging information and then you could have a textversation. I think it was more important just to let her know we were thinking about her and that we were there if she needed us. If I wanted to talk on the phone, I would usually initiate via text just to see what she was doing and if it was a good time to talk.

 

It seemed like she would call us mostly when she got a little lonely or needed something (ha!) or something exciting had happened. I tried to let her take the lead on that unless we had something to discuss more immediately or in detail like travel plans or doctors' appointments. Some things are just better to talk about over the phone.

 

We do see a difference during the summer intensives. We had our first phone conversation over five minutes this weekend after three weeks of SI. I know deep down that it means she is working hard, bonding with her new friends and is probably pretty tired but happy. She seemed more responsive and talkative during the school year probably because it was less intense and structured.

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