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Should I say something to the teacher? OT

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I know you ladies will help me put this in perspective. Sorry if this gets long, I feel like there is some background needed.

DD 10.5 has been doing dance since she was 5. DHs aunt is the teacher. She is a very laid back teacher and really thinks dance should be fun, it's not a serious dancing school-no competitions, no dress code, etc. Typically, most kids thrive with it and love it and as they get older, some go to a 'fancier' dancing school where they are more serious. My DD will never be a serious dancer, she LOVES to dance, but I think that's because it has never been serious and competitive, she is not a competitive kid. Last year, DHs aunt brought in a ballet teacher who is more serious and a bit harsher on the kids, she is also teaching this year-just the ballet part, DHs aunt still teaches tap-the class is both. It can be good because she is pushing them and most of the time they enjoy the challenge...but this teacher is young and doesn't have the experience DHs aunt (who has been dancing for 60 years, teaching for 40) has.

As another piece of background, DD is not mine biologically, she is DHs from before we met. Her mother has all but abandoned her, she hasn't seen her in almost two years. The last time DD spoke to her on the phone even was April 2012. So, DD definitely has some 'abandonment' issues and she is really sensitive. She is also 10.5 and very emotional. And her last two years of PS she was bullied (it was mild, but it was very hard on her...in third grade even the teacher bullied her in some ways).

So last week at dance class, DD came out with a very red face from dancing so hard and she looked upset, DS made a comment to her to try to make her laugh and she just lost it, tears streaming down her face and soooo angry at him. He makes comments a lot, he thinks he's funny and sometimes doesn't know when it's not a good time to joke...she gets frustrated with him but this was extreme. So when we were alone, I finally got her to talk. She told me the ballet teacher yelled at her because she said "I can't" she said the teacher told her when the "big kids" (in the following class-7th ish graders) say I can't, they have to say something nice about the teacher. Which doesn't make any sense to me.

So DD and I talked about what she could say instead if I can't since the teacher doesn't like it. And we talked about really trying because now that they are older, the moves are going to get harder.

I know the "big kids" have complained about this teacher and I know one girl at least has stopped dancing because of the teacher and so DHs aunt was considering not inviting the teacher back for that class. I am wondering if I should say something to DHs aunt about how upset DD was? I don't want to fight her battles, and I do want her to learn to work with different styles of teaching...she wants to keep dancing and I'm glad for that. But I don't want her to be miserable during the ballet portion. This has been so much fun and such a constant in her life, I don't want that to change.

What do you all think? She has one more class then a couple weeks off for Christmas. Should I let it go for now? Wait and see if anything else happens? Mention it to DHs aunt right away? Or mention it casually if I see her at a family thing away from the dance environment?
by on Dec. 15, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Replies (11-20):
TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 15, 2013 at 3:06 PM
1 mom liked this
That is the biggest thing...making sure she knows it's not her fault! Her mother joined the military when she was 6. At first she kind of tried to stay involved then slowly she got her own life that did not include DD or her younger DD (who was only 2 when she left! She has a different dad and his parents have guardianship of her). I will never forget DD crying and asking why her mom doesn't love her :(. My heart has broken so many times for her. I think we are finally in a place where she accepts it and knows it is not her fault. I also have always said her mother loves her but doesn't know how to show it. Honestly, the less her mom is involved the easier it has been on DD as well, the back and forth before of no contact for months then all the sudden phone calls weekly and having to go out of state for a visit was much more stressful. The consistency either way is what is best, unfortunately biomom chose the no contact consistency :/

Quoting TidewaterClan:

 That sounds like an absolutely wonderful class, and something dd won't want to lose if it can be helped.  Going early to talk to her aunt is a great idea.


I'll bet!  It has to be nice not worrying who will have her at Christmas, etc.  She just has to realize it's all about that woman, and nothing to do with her.  


Quoting TJandKarasMom: I am always chatting with a grandmother who brings her granddaughter to the same class (her older granddaughter is one that stopped going because of this new teacher) and we are always saying how if our kids wanted something crazy serious, we would go to a different school. DHs aunts method works so well for these girls, and she has been in business for 40 years, obviously she is doing something right! She charges a reasonable rate and give the girls a good time while building their skills. DD has been dancing with some of the same girls since she started, and they have grown sooo much in their skills! Their recitals are getting awesome because they have learned to dance together!

And thank you, I am just as blessed to have her in my life. Honestly, DH and my lives have been better-much less stressful- without DDs mother around...but it's not always easy on DD!


Quoting TidewaterClan:

 I would definitely talk to DHs aunt, either in person or on the phone, and explain the situation.  I'd bring it up before any family Christmas parties though.  If she's already lost one student more will follow.



My girls used to take ballet at the rec center and it was so much fun.  The young lady who taught also worked with students at a local elementary and she would bring in fake flowers for them to hold and stretch with.  She didn't mind that little dd wanted to use her Scooby Doo instead.  The learned loads of great moves from her and loved every minute of it.  She was replaced by a woman who had years and years of experience.  She cracked the whip constantly on them, in a nagging tone, and they quickly lost interest.  Half of the class, most of whom had also loved the previous teacher, also left before the next session. 



Life isn't all roses and sunshine of course, but if your dd loves this (and isn't going out for the NYC Ballet) it should at least be a warm and welcoming environment she looks forward to going to.  She'll have plenty of time to deal with other types of personalities as she grows.  JMO!



PS - her birth mother sounds like a true piece of work.  She's truly blessed to have you in her life. 


 

TidewaterClan
by on Dec. 15, 2013 at 4:08 PM
1 mom liked this

 Poor baby.  Has to be better to have no contact at all than sporadic calls every day, then nothing. 

One of my girlfriends from work got divorced 12 years ago when her son was 5.  His bio-dad pays child support, but never contacted them again.  At first her son was beyond hurt, but she married one of her longtime friends the next year, and that fellow is the best dad a child could ever hope for.  She's said many times it was a painful at first, but she was honestly glad after awhile. 

Quoting TJandKarasMom: That is the biggest thing...making sure she knows it's not her fault! Her mother joined the military when she was 6. At first she kind of tried to stay involved then slowly she got her own life that did not include DD or her younger DD (who was only 2 when she left! She has a different dad and his parents have guardianship of her). I will never forget DD crying and asking why her mom doesn't love her :(. My heart has broken so many times for her. I think we are finally in a place where she accepts it and knows it is not her fault. I also have always said her mother loves her but doesn't know how to show it. Honestly, the less her mom is involved the easier it has been on DD as well, the back and forth before of no contact for months then all the sudden phone calls weekly and having to go out of state for a visit was much more stressful. The consistency either way is what is best, unfortunately biomom chose the no contact consistency :/

Quoting TidewaterClan:

 That sounds like an absolutely wonderful class, and something dd won't want to lose if it can be helped.  Going early to talk to her aunt is a great idea.


I'll bet!  It has to be nice not worrying who will have her at Christmas, etc.  She just has to realize it's all about that woman, and nothing to do with her.  


Quoting TJandKarasMom: I am always chatting with a grandmother who brings her granddaughter to the same class (her older granddaughter is one that stopped going because of this new teacher) and we are always saying how if our kids wanted something crazy serious, we would go to a different school. DHs aunts method works so well for these girls, and she has been in business for 40 years, obviously she is doing something right! She charges a reasonable rate and give the girls a good time while building their skills. DD has been dancing with some of the same girls since she started, and they have grown sooo much in their skills! Their recitals are getting awesome because they have learned to dance together!

And thank you, I am just as blessed to have her in my life. Honestly, DH and my lives have been better-much less stressful- without DDs mother around...but it's not always easy on DD!


Quoting TidewaterClan:

 I would definitely talk to DHs aunt, either in person or on the phone, and explain the situation.  I'd bring it up before any family Christmas parties though.  If she's already lost one student more will follow.



My girls used to take ballet at the rec center and it was so much fun.  The young lady who taught also worked with students at a local elementary and she would bring in fake flowers for them to hold and stretch with.  She didn't mind that little dd wanted to use her Scooby Doo instead.  The learned loads of great moves from her and loved every minute of it.  She was replaced by a woman who had years and years of experience.  She cracked the whip constantly on them, in a nagging tone, and they quickly lost interest.  Half of the class, most of whom had also loved the previous teacher, also left before the next session. 



Life isn't all roses and sunshine of course, but if your dd loves this (and isn't going out for the NYC Ballet) it should at least be a warm and welcoming environment she looks forward to going to.  She'll have plenty of time to deal with other types of personalities as she grows.  JMO!



PS - her birth mother sounds like a true piece of work.  She's truly blessed to have you in her life. 


 

 

celticdragon77
by on Dec. 15, 2013 at 8:18 PM
1 mom liked this

I wonder if the instructor is a good fit for that place - based on how you said the aunt ran things. Though she could have her own reasons for bringing in someone who is more technical. The instructor might just need time to find her niche at this. 

It is definitely worth talking to the aunt. Questioning someones business decision could be a sensitive matter, so I would go about it gently. Maybe ask how she feels about the new instructor - and mention how your daughter misses the aunts way of teach a more fun and relaxed pace to the class. 

I would continue the lessons till the Christmas break.  

I see how you are making psychological and emotional connections with your childs mother vs the instructor. However, I would be careful in doing so.

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 16, 2013 at 7:32 AM
I don't mean to make a connection between the instructor and DDs mother..I guess I just always try to remember what DD has been through and why she may take things harder than some other girls her age. We (DH and I) have always said what has happened to her is no excuse for bad behavior, but we do take it into account with sensitivity issues. So I guess I just like to give that piece of information with situations like this because she kind of has a reason for being such a sensitive kid.

I will mention it tactfully to DHs aunt, just that DD was upset, I will try to do it in a way that doesn't put down her decision to bring in this other instructor.

Quoting celticdragon77:

I wonder if the instructor is a good fit for that place - based on how you said the aunt ran things. Though she could have her own reasons for bringing in someone who is more technical. The instructor might just need time to find her niche at this. 

It is definitely worth talking to the aunt. Questioning someones business decision could be a sensitive matter, so I would go about it gently. Maybe ask how she feels about the new instructor - and mention how your daughter misses the aunts way of teach a more fun and relaxed pace to the class. 

I would continue the lessons till the Christmas break.  

I see how you are making psychological and emotional connections with your childs mother vs the instructor. However, I would be careful in doing so.

celticdragon77
by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:24 AM

I completely understand where you are coming from.

It is normal for her age, to cry and be upset after having a bad experience. She tried to be strong and hold it in; your sons comment just ended up being that final straw.

I feel like bringing in her issue with her mom, does two things.  1) you are undermining what she felt and the reason she felt it  2) you are setting up and cementing an excuse for when things don't go well.  

I felt confused even reading this. I was thinking... well is she saying that the problem is just her daughter being too sensitive due to her issues with her mom OR is the problem with the instructor.

Now imagine how your aunt is going to feel when she has to make a difficult decision... Does she undo a business decision, fire a teacher around the holidays... maybe she wanted less time spent teaching or maybe it is getting harder on her body or maybe she wanted a more technical teacher (maybe other parents wanted that or maybe she hoped it would help business)... but then your daughters complaint is overshadowed by it being possibly just a "mommy issue" and that is not enough for her to make a change with her business plan. 

Your daughter needs to learn HOW to handle her issues with her mom. For example; If her mom had just called and this class was scheduled afterwards (or her mom was supposed to call or she mentioned her mom or etc), then I would take a moment to talk lovingly to her. Ask how she feels (dont just assume - it can change from saddness, to anger, indifference...) and give her hug and such. Then find a way to let her know that "we" are going to set that aside for now and focus on "her" life by going to dance class. That you are there for her and really excited to see what she learns today. If she comes out looking upset, stop and sincerely ask her how she is feeling. Get home, make her some hot chocolate or something and give her a chance to talk to you. If she mixes up what she says (brings up more than one issue) - ash her if all of this was weighing on her in class, and try to brainstorm ways for her to stay focused on one problem at a time. Tell her that we struggle with this sometimes, but it only makes the problem at hand worse.

Your job is to lovingly guide her in the proper way to deal with problems, so that when she gets older, she can function properly without the expectations to use them as excuses or to use ineffective coping skills/habits. 

I only say this as someone who had to live and learn this the hard way. I was raised in foster care where no one gave a damn at all and I ended up handling my daughters daddy issues ineffectively. I ended up getting family counseling and it has helped so much!!! 

But anyways, I feel like your daughter is justified to feel the way that she did and that your aunt only needs to know information concerning that. Mentioning her mom only clouds the issue. That is just my two cents though.

My heart goes out to your daughter - and it is awesome that you are there for her!!!

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I don't mean to make a connection between the instructor and DDs mother..I guess I just always try to remember what DD has been through and why she may take things harder than some other girls her age. We (DH and I) have always said what has happened to her is no excuse for bad behavior, but we do take it into account with sensitivity issues. So I guess I just like to give that piece of information with situations like this because she kind of has a reason for being such a sensitive kid.

I will mention it tactfully to DHs aunt, just that DD was upset, I will try to do it in a way that doesn't put down her decision to bring in this other instructor.

Quoting celticdragon77:

I wonder if the instructor is a good fit for that place - based on how you said the aunt ran things. Though she could have her own reasons for bringing in someone who is more technical. The instructor might just need time to find her niche at this. 

It is definitely worth talking to the aunt. Questioning someones business decision could be a sensitive matter, so I would go about it gently. Maybe ask how she feels about the new instructor - and mention how your daughter misses the aunts way of teach a more fun and relaxed pace to the class. 

I would continue the lessons till the Christmas break.  

I see how you are making psychological and emotional connections with your childs mother vs the instructor. However, I would be careful in doing so.


PinkButterfly66
by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:25 AM

I would talk to the aunt.  It will prevent losing more students because of the teacher.  

TJandKarasMom
by Debbie on Dec. 16, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Thank you for taking the time to give me this advice, I definitely appreciate it. I wasn't planning on mentioning the mom issues to DHs aunt at all, she is fully aware of the situation since she is family. I guess I was just giving the background for the story here, but it probably wasn't necessary since she would have had her feelings hurt whether her biomom was in the picture or not. Mom didn't even come up during our talk about what had happened or anything. DD does want to talk about biomom on some occasions, but she mostly deals with the life she has, being a tween girl she has plenty of drama without the biomom issues! I honestly think sometimes she completely forgets she has another mom, that's how long it has been since she has had to deal with her. Obviously she always knows, but most of her life is just her life, kwim?

Thank you again though, I know you don't have a lot of free time so I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your insight :)

Quoting celticdragon77:

I completely understand where you are coming from.

It is normal for her age, to cry and be upset after having a bad experience. She tried to be strong and hold it in; your sons comment just ended up being that final straw.

I feel like bringing in her issue with her mom, does two things.  1) you are undermining what she felt and the reason she felt it  2) you are setting up and cementing an excuse for when things don't go well.  

I felt confused even reading this. I was thinking... well is she saying that the problem is just her daughter being too sensitive due to her issues with her mom OR is the problem with the instructor.

Now imagine how your aunt is going to feel when she has to make a difficult decision... Does she undo a business decision, fire a teacher around the holidays... maybe she wanted less time spent teaching or maybe it is getting harder on her body or maybe she wanted a more technical teacher (maybe other parents wanted that or maybe she hoped it would help business)... but then your daughters complaint is overshadowed by it being possibly just a "mommy issue" and that is not enough for her to make a change with her business plan. 

Your daughter needs to learn HOW to handle her issues with her mom. For example; If her mom had just called and this class was scheduled afterwards (or her mom was supposed to call or she mentioned her mom or etc), then I would take a moment to talk lovingly to her. Ask how she feels (dont just assume - it can change from saddness, to anger, indifference...) and give her hug and such. Then find a way to let her know that "we" are going to set that aside for now and focus on "her" life by going to dance class. That you are there for her and really excited to see what she learns today. If she comes out looking upset, stop and sincerely ask her how she is feeling. Get home, make her some hot chocolate or something and give her a chance to talk to you. If she mixes up what she says (brings up more than one issue) - ash her if all of this was weighing on her in class, and try to brainstorm ways for her to stay focused on one problem at a time. Tell her that we struggle with this sometimes, but it only makes the problem at hand worse.

Your job is to lovingly guide her in the proper way to deal with problems, so that when she gets older, she can function properly without the expectations to use them as excuses or to use ineffective coping skills/habits. 

I only say this as someone who had to live and learn this the hard way. I was raised in foster care where no one gave a damn at all and I ended up handling my daughters daddy issues ineffectively. I ended up getting family counseling and it has helped so much!!! 

But anyways, I feel like your daughter is justified to feel the way that she did and that your aunt only needs to know information concerning that. Mentioning her mom only clouds the issue. That is just my two cents though.

My heart goes out to your daughter - and it is awesome that you are there for her!!!

Quoting TJandKarasMom: I don't mean to make a connection between the instructor and DDs mother..I guess I just always try to remember what DD has been through and why she may take things harder than some other girls her age. We (DH and I) have always said what has happened to her is no excuse for bad behavior, but we do take it into account with sensitivity issues. So I guess I just like to give that piece of information with situations like this because she kind of has a reason for being such a sensitive kid.



I will mention it tactfully to DHs aunt, just that DD was upset, I will try to do it in a way that doesn't put down her decision to bring in this other instructor.



Quoting celticdragon77:

I wonder if the instructor is a good fit for that place - based on how you said the aunt ran things. Though she could have her own reasons for bringing in someone who is more technical. The instructor might just need time to find her niche at this. 

It is definitely worth talking to the aunt. Questioning someones business decision could be a sensitive matter, so I would go about it gently. Maybe ask how she feels about the new instructor - and mention how your daughter misses the aunts way of teach a more fun and relaxed pace to the class. 

I would continue the lessons till the Christmas break.  

I see how you are making psychological and emotional connections with your childs mother vs the instructor. However, I would be careful in doing so.


KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:03 AM

"I don't want to fight her battles."

then don't.    I think your DD needs to find her own voice and learn how to cope with disappointment and disagreemetns with other people.

The young, inexperienced teacher maybe a tougher than her aunt and you are, but it could be something your daughter needs to learn.

Your DH needs to learn, too, and let him.   Don't interfere and solve this.   Listen, pay attention, help discuss her feelings with her and ask her to think about solutions.   Does she even want a solution, or is it time to get a little thicker skin?  

Just my opinion.   Some one else may think differently.


LostTheSlipper
by Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:06 AM

If other people have problems with it, and are dropping out because of it it, then I think it needs to be addressed.

KrissyKC
by Silver Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Oh and in dealing with your daughters emotions over stuff "more than other girls" because of her history. Instead of talking to other people and wanting them to change how they deal with her, you should be talking to her. Gently, probably, but openly. "Why do you think it hurts so much that the teacher said XYZ?" "What do you think the teacher wanted to accomplish when she told you XYZ?" "so do you think she was really trying to hurt or upset you? How do you think she wants you to take XYZ?" "Are you still feeling hurt over the situation with your mom, and do you think that it's affecting your emotions right now? Do some of those things still affect your situation today?" This is also a good time to talk to her about how all feelings are important, but they aren't always right. Sometimes we can feel mad about something that should really be happy. We need to look honestly at situations and step back and breathe a little and not get worked up over stuff in the wrong way. It's better for others, and it's much better for us. As Christians, I teach my kids to honor their feelings but to also remember things in the bible like, "Take every thought captive"... I teach them to control their feelings and emotions and to ask if how they are feeling is accurate to the situation. I have them take their thoughts and emotions captive and analyze them and be sure they feel they are "right" before acting on them.
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