Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Toughing Out Teen Stuff

OK, we need a new post here.

How do you deal with persistence in a teen?
This persistence is a good thing when she wants to try to figure out some challenging math problem, or how to program a computer.
This persistence is a bad thing when she thinks she wants dance lessons, and her parents have said 'No' despite the fact that she's saved up enough money to take the classes, and everyone she talks to says they can't understand why her parent won't let her take dance lessons.

You can probably determine, as a parent, that there are other reasons besides money for saying 'No."
Like: I have to drive her back and forth. Last year, many of the costumes at the recital were not modest. The music was, in some cases, very bad, and usually too loud. The moves the girls were taught left my husband and I wondering what the dance academy thought it was training these girls for, to be girly show dancers?

And despite repeated explanations of why this is not a good thing for her, this 13 year old, wanting independence, wanting to make her own decisions, is really, really struggling with the decision we've made not to let her take dance again this year. I can't tell you how many times she's cried over this. How do I deal with this kind of persistence?


Love2Learn Mom said...

Are there any other outlets/options that might satisfy this interest? Other schools or forms of dance? Video programs of such? etc. Two of my girls take Irish dance and the older one (age 12) is very interested in the ballet as well, but the desire isn't as strong given the outlet she has.

We don't like many of the costumes and music choices for other classes at the school (which all show up at the recital), but the Irish has been quite nice.

Fortunately it's a rather short drive for us and the same school offers gymnastics which my son and the little girls take.

I do think there are a lot of things that you have to tough out with teens. Having saved up the money makes this one a lot tougher.

2nd grade mom said...

We, happily, also have a lot of choices in dance and other atheletic pursuits in our area. I had my daughter in the local Parks Dept. ballet classes for three years, but as she gets older, the dancing, costumes, and performances are not as cute or tasteful as we would wish. Irish dance is an option, so is folkdancing or gymnastics.

Fortunately, two of our homeschool moms are trained ballerinas, and are tasteful and modest in their instruction of the children. I have to drive a little further for the classes, but enjoy the instruction more, and I'm sure I will enjoy the performances more too. It is also and opportunity for her to socialize with other homeschooled children.

Nancy, I pray that you will be able to find another dance class or other activity for your daughter.

Nancy C. Brown said...

Thanks. We actually started gymnastics today (and she loved it) as a way around this issue. I hope with a tincture of time, the desire for dance will lesson as her interest and my support of the gymnastics classes grows.

This gymnastics is with a Catholic homeschooling group, all the kids have class at the same time (just different parts of the same building) and there is no "show" at the end of it.

I've been thinking today (had an hour during gymnastics to sit and think alone!) that this issue is deeper.

There was a recent issue of Touchstone magazine that had a very intriguing article in it about "Family Offices" and it was about teaching our kids to be sons and daughters. I was thinking that this is more about how my daughter needs to understand what the role of a daughter is (not just parents giving out things, or being available to take children places) and how her duties as a daughter have to fit into the family life as a whole, and that means a big picture approach, not just a "what I want" thing, which is how this whole dance thing has felt to me.

Anyway, maybe when I sort out these thoughts, I'll post again.

Thanks for the ideas.