Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

How to support children after a bad experience


Derin's Mom

Recommended Posts

Derin's Mom

My DD was in Paris for 4 months and had to come back home cause she was very much lonely in the French culture, she was 14 and school was also not  international and did not have the tools to support foreign students. We all tried our best but very glad that she made it back as well.

Anyways, she is back to her previous school, doing all well in ballet, seeing a counselor as well for mental support. She is 15 now. But when we talk with her she says that she will go again but not before she is 17.

I see that her emotional travma is holding her back. Even though her school is very good there are very very few opportunities to find a good company here in our country. And she definitely will be falling behind in certain areas like contemporary training etc. Her basics are strong but she also knows she will need more.

How is your own story with your children, do you have any suggestions for us to help her keep more open to new experiences; she is very dedicated to dance and will do this professionally one day, but as a parent I know for sure that the more she stays here the less chance she will have in the future. We see so many good students giving up because of limited options.

Link to post

I believe there are many excellent opportunities to learn and train ballet with professional schools and companies in the United States. Covid has put strain on schools and companies, so I am speaking before all this, and still believe it. When it was time for our daughter to leave her home ballet school, we knew it was not going to be overseas. She was 17, still had a year left in school, and it was against our comfort level to send her overseas. She spent three years in a US pre-pro school (2 were in 2nd company) connected to a regional company. She was hired by the company and still dancing there.

There is more than one way to learn ballet in the US. There are different methods, techniques, teachers, ADs with variety of backgrounds, and so many good schools and companies with chances to learn and dance professionally in the US. Our daughter had mediocre training from age 6-12 (she was a late starter), age 13-16 she trained at an excellent small ballet school at home with summer SIs. But her most important training was age 17-20 when she had many opportunities to perform with the main company of the pre-pro school. She learned modern, comtemporary, jazz, and character dancing. In addition to these, she had many opportunities to dance with the main company. This helped her get hired into the company.

Don't give up on ballet training in the US. My daughter found a way to train hard with whatever training she had here to become a professional. Lots of opportunities and options here. Best of luck!

 

Link to post

I believe Derin's Mom is not in the United States (Turkey I think?).

Link to post
Doubleturn

Derin's Mum - maybe a summer school would help her. Do you have particular links with France? There are many other good courses in UK and Europe which she could apply for. 

Link to post
Derin's Mom
1 hour ago, Bavalay said:

I believe Derin's Mom is not in the United States (Turkey I think?).

Yes correct, thanks

Link to post
Derin's Mom
3 hours ago, clara99 said:

I believe there are many excellent opportunities to learn and train ballet with professional schools and companies in the United States. Covid has put strain on schools and companies, so I am speaking before all this, and still believe it. When it was time for our daughter to leave her home ballet school, we knew it was not going to be overseas. She was 17, still had a year left in school, and it was against our comfort level to send her overseas. She spent three years in a US pre-pro school (2 were in 2nd company) connected to a regional company. She was hired by the company and still dancing there.

There is more than one way to learn ballet in the US. There are different methods, techniques, teachers, ADs with variety of backgrounds, and so many good schools and companies with chances to learn and dance professionally in the US. Our daughter had mediocre training from age 6-12 (she was a late starter), age 13-16 she trained at an excellent small ballet school at home with summer SIs. But her most important training was age 17-20 when she had many opportunities to perform with the main company of the pre-pro school. She learned modern, comtemporary, jazz, and character dancing. In addition to these, she had many opportunities to dance with the main company. This helped her get hired into the company.

Don't give up on ballet training in the US. My daughter found a way to train hard with whatever training she had here to become a professional. Lots of opportunities and options here. Best of luck!

 

Clara99 we are in Turkey so I do not have any solid info about the training in US. We as a famly are open to all parts of the world, so even though very far, US is an option as well.

I understand from your psot that 17 will not be too late either, if she continues her works here. She definately wants to become a professional and we'll dig in alternatives in time.

Link to post
Derin's Mom
37 minutes ago, Doubleturn said:

Derin's Mum - maybe a summer school would help her. Do you have particular links with France? There are many other good courses in UK and Europe which she could apply for. 

U are correct, a summer school to an intended school may help her decide as well. What was you point in particular links in France that I did not understand but the Conservatoire she attended in France was a Superior. She made good contacts there as well. The only problem was it was very much french and not tailored for a foreigner as I've said.

We'll be checking mainly Germany and Netherlands most probably. UK schools (ENB and Royal) are way too expensive for us.

Link to post

Sorry, I misunderstood your location, but I do understand your concerns. Best of luck to your dancer. 

Link to post
Doubleturn

When I asked if you had links, it was just in case you had family or other contacts there and preferred France to other countries. Good luck with finding something suitable. There is a UK forum like this and people there might be able to make suggestions. 

Link to post
Derin's Mom

Tx doubleturn.

Her uncle is living in Paris and that was why we had prefered France over other countries. But sometimes things do not work out as you expected. Live and learn...

I am a member in the UK forum as well. For the time being, we'll continue her ballet education here but be open to coming experiences as well.

 

Link to post

Derin'sMom --

I think you're doing a great job at giving her support right now, when she needs it.  For the future, in my opinion, it's important for YOU to put this time when she struggled in perspective, and be confident that next time will be different.  She'll be older,  more mature, ready to leave home, and more aware of what she wants and needs in a program.  A few years under her belt will do wonders for her maturity and self confidence, but you need to trust in that growth, and assure HER that she will be ready when she's ready, and she will know that time (she will).

When my middle child was born, she had quite serious health complications that required significant surgeries and the potential for very frightening future consequences of both the surgery and her health condition.  Thankfully, the surgery went well.  However, in my follow up visits with the specialized surgeon, he warned me about the very understandable tendency of parents to "coddle" a child who has gone through some amount of trauma.  He said it is a fine line between being supportive of your child, where you as the parent are helping them through a traumatic experience, and watching for any future consequences, and being over concerned and too protective of them.  It was his opinion that many times the CHILD is ready for adventure and risk before the PARENT is.  In his experience, he had found that often times, the parent's fears and worries about the future then made the child unsure of themselves.  He said it was important for me to let my child take the lead on whatever it was that she wanted to do.  

I struggled with this advice.  It is not easy for me to project confidence about the future.  I am, by nature, a "worrier."  But - as difficult as it is to practice - this physician's advice has helped me immensely as a parent with ALL my children. 

In raising my kids, I found that the times my children are the most insecure, it is usually because they are reflecting my own worries.  Instead, if I project confidence by telling them that they are capable of handling any problem that comes up (even if it feels to me in the moment as if I am "pretending"), my children are suddenly more confident in themselves. 

So, I practice (daily) telling my kids things like: "Wow, that sounds like it's a tricky situation, but you're smart and capable, you'll figure something out" or I say "That does sound scary, but being scared and nervous is part of anything new, and you've prepared in [this way], so I think you're ready."    I am amazed that these tactics work, but they do.  The way I see it, I think sometimes kids just need their parent's assurance that they ARE capable of handling just about anything that comes up.  Because they are, really.  

I see this parental role a bit like "cheerleading" -- I remind them that they are strong, capable, smart, problem-solvers.  I tell them they CAN figure things out, and that "failing" is just part of the learning experience.  Remind your DD about how much her experience has taught her, the lessons she's learned from it, how much she has changed and grown and matured, and then extrapolate that growth for her.  Assure her that those kinds of changes are happening right now, and she will be more capable with every passing month and experience.  

Finally, realize that doing all this requires YOU (as a loving parent) to step back.  This was very, very difficult for me!  I wanted to solve ALL their problems.  Instead, I had to make myself more insignificant.  I had to remove myself as "THE PROBLEM SOLVER" in their lives, and -- as an involved and loving parent -- that was a very hard thing for me to accept.  Because stepping back is a lessening of your role. 

Over the years, as your child grows into an adult, you move from being at the center of their lives to being more removed from their inner struggles.  You are still their parent, but you are no longer the first person they turn to for support or help -- they have to turn to themselves for that, and the child learning how to rely on themselves for problem solving is a learning process for BOTH of you.  And it can be quite painful for the parent.... (I'm not sure why, except it feels a bit like you aren't as "important" to them, anymore).  And, honestly, it feels quite wonderful to be the center of someone's world... you, and you alone can change their mood and solve their every problem.  

But while that type of relationship is fine for adult-child, I don't believe it to be a healthy adult-adult relationship.  As your child becomes an adult, you need to take yourself out of the center of their world, and allow them to stand on their own.  As difficult as that process is, when you get to the other side, the new relationship you have is magnificent.  You have much to look forward to, I promise!

 

Link to post

Eligus, thank you for this advice/reminder.  I so needed it today!

Link to post

You are more than welcome, Amie.  The great part about this board is that you can find people who have gone through this parenting of a dancer before you.  Whatever you are going through as a parent, there are people out there who have also grappled with similar challenges.  I think ballet, in particular, with all of its uncertainties and competitiveness and need for specialized knowledge really challenges parents.

As I mentioned above, I have often struggled with worry and fear of the future and the always present "change" and "growth." Honestly, if I could, I think I would chose a stagnant, static world where I was in full control at all times of everything, and nothing bad would ever happen to anyone, ever.  Thank goodness I'm not given a choice.

What I've discovered on this board reading about others' situations, comparing them to my own, and growing as a parent myself, is that while trying to shepherd another soul through this world, the process (at times) can uncomfortably highlight the very flaws and weaknesses that I've long denied or tried to hide from everyone (including myself).  Every time I've faced a challenge with my children, a problem I've really wrestled with, thought about and worried over, I've discovered something about myself that I needed to learn (but usually didn't want to admit).  I'm more than happy to share those discoveries in the hope that my own wrestling with inner "demons" might shed some light for someone else. 

Parenting can be quite humbling.  In a funny way, it reminds me of dog training... the saying "no bad dogs" applies to kids and people, as well, in my opinion.   That's not to compare your children to animals.  😉  But if the people in your life are behaving in ways that are causing you pain or disruption, don't chalk it up to their "nature" or "character."  Instead, actively seek for the reason behind the behavior, and be sure to first look at your own reactions and thoughts and feelings.  Often times, what we are doing may not be helping, and instead might be exacerbating the problem because those children in your life can be very powerful "mirrors" of how you may try to deal with problems...   And trust me when I say it can be quite disconcerting to see your own human flaws out there, "in action," so to speak.  It's that moment when you suddenly realize "Oh! She thinks she can't handle this because I've been telling her through my own actions that she can't handle it simply because I've refused to allow her to TRY to handle it on her own."  (ouch... that one was really real for me).

Of course, I'm not saying that everything is all your fault.  We parents leap to that conclusion much too often, but usually (and weirdly) about the wrong thing.  "I couldn't stop this bad thing from happening to my child; I feel responsible for the bad thing happening.  I must be failing as a parent."  At least, that's usually my first reaction, as if I am somehow all powerful and all knowing and should have been able to solve this problem FOR them, ahead of time.  When I say that thought out loud it sounds both arrogant and silly, as if I think myself as omnipotent.  But sometimes those thoughts sneak up on you, and you don't even realize you are thinking them until you say them out loud and realize that -- like every parent -- you made the best decision you could with the information you had, and everyone has flaws that blind them to certain things.  It is when you (and your child) are going through tough times that you (and your kids) learn about what those flaws are and start to address them.  You can't fix what you don't see.

When faced with the many, many, many challenges that raising a child in the arts brings to parents, the more potentially helpful view that I am still TRYING to adopt is "what am I and my child to learn from this challenge?"  Oddly enough (to my safe and protective tendencies), the answer is NOT to avoid the scary and unknown, but to acknowledge the fear but try anyway.

One of the best things about the honor of raising another soul is what you can learn about yourself and the world around you.  As Louisa May Alcott was quoted as saying... "painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us - and those around us - more effectively.  Look for the learning."  ❤️

Link to post

Eligus, your posts always seem to strike a chord in me.  Perhaps it is because I too am a natural worrier and would choose that static world that I could predict and control.   However, it is my non-dancing child that has been my biggest worry during these isolating times.  I'm not sure how my dancer just seems to bop through life with such a positive attitude at pretty much every turn.  I think it comes from her dad 🙂.  She seems to be rolling with all of the unexpected craziness of these times, adapting, learning, finding ways to grow, and still enjoying life.  My younger child not so much, but I am wondering if, as you said, I am telegraphing my own worries onto my kid, making things worse.  Now, I am determined to stop that (or at least try my very hardest) and provide the more positive support that is needed.  And though my youngest has presented me with many challenges, I find I am a much better parent and a better person in general from those challenges.  I feel lucky to have that relationship in my life.  It has truly enabled me to learn and grow and (obviously) continue to learn and grow.  Thank you again Eligus for your wisdom.

Link to post
23 hours ago, Eligus said:

It's that moment when you suddenly realize "Oh! She thinks she can't handle this because I've been telling her through my own actions that she can't handle it simply because I've refused to allow her to TRY to handle it on her own."  (ouch... that one was really real for me).

Absolutely true here!

My husband used to call me out on this precise behavior, reminding me that my children wouldn't learn to  FILL IN THE BLANK if I did not step back and let them figure it out. I have always been a doer and saver of any given situation. I have learned (slowly) through the years that too much helping actually hinders a child's growth. It is hard for me to sit back and watch mistakes being made, but mistakes are necessary for growth.

As for the original question here, bad experiences happen. They are unfortunate and unpleasant and sometimes downright devastating for years to come. Bad experiences are inevitable, in varying degrees, and I believe that all we can do is reassure the child, and look towards the future. In this case Derin's Mom's dancer learned, grew and perhaps has guilt over the way things ended with her training away from home. She is not the only dancer to come home because things did not work out and she certainly won't be the last...this is a risk that we all take. Is this school right for my dancer? We do all of the research that we can but sometimes things look good on paper and then reality does not measure up. Time really does heal though. Family support and showing the child that her well being is more important that anything else is likely a key component to recovery, especially for a dancer whose self worth is often tangled up in his or her dancing. 

Derin's Mom, I wish you and your dancer all the best! I know that she will push through because you care enough to search out answers to how to support her. Please do keep us posted!

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...