No Helicopter Parenting Here

If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.

Les Brown

My daughter lives a very charmed life. A life for which she can often be ungrateful and dramatic about. I wouldn’t take away the charm. I am giving her a bit of what I did not have as child. And, I couldn’t be more pleased with my decisions. She has the good fortune to be a talented dancer who dances 3 times a week, participates in competition dance and doesn’t want for much. Which is why sometimes, it’s important to remind her of the responsibility she has to me and more importantly, herself.

A few months ago, my daughter went into a rebellious phase. Rebellion for my seven-year-old included saying no frequently, crying when she didn’t get her way and not wearing her dance shoes to class. The dance shoes are always a point of contention in our home.

For a competition dance studio, the studio’s dress code policy is far more lax than the one I remember for my niece. So, she would make it to dance class and refuse to put on her shoes or simply leave her shoes in the car. I could have been mad, but I chose to resign this to a choice she could make.

Well, it didn’t take too long for me to get a nice little slip from her competition dance teacher that she was failing dress code. She was marked down for not wearing her shoes. I had to sign it to acknowledge I had seen it.

The conversation on the car ride home went a bit like this, “One more note like this. That’s the end of competition dance and the end of ballet. Period, end of story.”

That worked for a while, but then, she decided not to dress for tumbling. Again, better fights can be had so, I allowed her wear her defiance. After two weeks of weird ensembles, my daughter’s tumbling teacher came up and was detailing what my daughter had worn to class. I listened, but my daughter had chosen her tool of defiance. When she was done with her speech on proper tumbling attire, I simply said “Okay”. The tumbling teacher hesitated a moment and I just stood up and walked my daughter out of the studio. Since this was a new violation of our parent-child contract. I again reminded her of her promise to be properly attired for dance or tumbling.

But what bugs me is the tumbling teachers attitude. I think she was expecting an apology or explanation, but there was none to give. The contract my daughter signed with her dance studio talks about proper behavior. She’d broken the contract I made her read and sign late last year. Her contract is at the dance studio with all the other competition forms. So, it is her responsibility to ensure she is keeping her end of that contract. I provide the proper attire. All she has to do is put it on.

I reminded my daughter of that that night. I will not apologize for daughter’s failed responsibilities or try to make it right for her. While she is seven years old, she needs to remember the contracts she makes, even if I have to remind her. I will not fail to make it clear that fulfilling one’s responsibility leads to bigger and better opportunities.

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