Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 48

Thread: Jenny Kirk: The Overzealous Skating Parent

  1. #1
    Down With It
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,691

    Jenny Kirk: The Overzealous Skating Parent

    http://trueslant.com/jenniferkirk/20...kating-parent/

    Once a parent is thrust into the skating world, they soon find out that skating is a sport that comes with few guarantees. Control is elusive. Many parents–and skaters–find themselves grasping for it in any way possible. Sometimes a parent’s desire to help facilitate their child’s success can lead them to some pretty extreme behavior. Some of these behaviors can be detrimental to a skater and can have long lasting effects on them both physically and mentally.
    Then once again, she tells stories about examples she witnessed. Another good read.

  2. #2
    Custom Title dwiggin3's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    765
    "My mother was extremely strict with me about training. She often lied to my coaches, telling them that I was only skating five days a week when I was really skating seven. When I broke my pelvis, she made me train for two months before taking me to a doctor. During practices, I would regularly complain about the pain, and she often told me that I was becoming “soft” for not training as hard as I had before I had injured my hip.

    Once my x-rays came back, and it was confirmed that there was something medically wrong with me, instead of feeling upset that I had a serious injury, I felt validated. While my mom did seek out some of the best physical therapists in Massachusetts to help me recover, she wouldn’t allow me to any take time off from skating. I was afraid of taking a session off to rest my hip for fear of her thinking I was not “working hard.”....."

    Wow.

  3. #3
    Shoe Diva
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Detroit, MI - So Glad to be Home!
    Posts
    2,837
    "Some parents enter the sport for all the wrong reasons. These parents are destined to be stage moms. They live vicariously through their child. Their child’s success become their success. They see every action their child does as a reflection on them. Unable to distinguish between the boundaries of a healthy parent-child relationship, these moms and dads get blinded by their own dreams."

    As a true soccer mom, I see this everyday... and sometimes even in myself... and its sick the glow some parents get when they hear (usually from a coach looking for a new gig...) what potential the kid has and how they could be great if the parents did one specific thing... but here's the rub - its always one NEW specific thing and once parents start plowing cash into a child's activities... yowza... it becomes "WE had a game - WE had practice" when its really "I drove Alex to HIS game and HE has practice"

    Parents need to wake up and just come terms with their main roles: paying the bills and driving the car. With a lot of love and support thrown in... Jennifer Kirk has writen the Parent's Note of the day and I continue to be impressed by her...

    Off to forward her post to my soccer parent email circle... I expect a few nasty comments back - but such is life...

  4. #4
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    4,221
    Excellent article! Unfortunately, replace "overzealous skating parent" with the word fan instead and it could apply to me as well.

    Seriously, I hope those skaters I've been a fan of for a long long time don't read some of my posts & feel pressured by them. I'm thinking of Evgeni here...hmmm...it's just that I feel one should be surrounded by positivity instead of the opposite. Also, I believe we become our thoughts, thus there's no room for any thought or talk of the opposite. And I believe in God, and fate, the two go hand & hand, if it is meant to be, it will be, and so it is written.

    Back to the poignant article, my heart goes out to not only Jenny, but others like her in the sport. How heartbreaking (reminds me of Michael Jackson's father beating him as a child). This is not the way to true success. One must be surrounded by l o v e first & foremost. That's the reason why we're down here after all, love & knowledge, knowledge & love.

  5. #5
    Down With It
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,691
    I got the impression from reading the article that the very "love" that's being mentioned is exactly what is driving many of these parents to this extreme behavior. I imagine it must be tough to strike a balance between noninvolvement and overzealous "support". On the skaters' side, if the internal pressures weren't bad enough, the pressure of letting family down has just got to be brutal.

  6. #6
    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    LA
    Posts
    4,990
    My mother was extremely strict with me about training. She often lied to my coaches, telling them that I was only skating five days a week when I was really skating seven. When I broke my pelvis, she made me train for two months before taking me to a doctor. During practices, I would regularly complain about the pain, and she often told me that I was becoming “soft” for not training as hard as I had before I had injured my hip.
    When I look back on my mom’s actions, and as I watch the actions of today‘s parents, I can see that it was not healthy for the parent-child relationship.
    It is good that Jenny wrote about this issue, but lashing out at her mom? I feel like Jenny almost hates the sport and is using this blog to vent all her frustrations. Am i right that Jenny's mom passed away a few years ago and Jenny was devastated and lost interest in the sport? If I were her I would have written about the issue, but left out any personal details. no point bad mouthing your mom. It's over now.

  7. #7
    Down With It
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,691
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    It is good that Jenny wrote about this issue, but lashing out at her mom? I feel like Jenny almost hates the sport and is using this blog to vent all her frustrations. Am i right that Jenny's mom passed away a few years ago and Jenny was devastated and lost interest in the sport? If I were her I would have written about the issue, but left out any personal details. no point bad mouthing your mom. It's over now.
    Regardless of her agenda (I won't speculate on that), she IS getting people in the skating world to discuss issues that otherwise wouldn't come up or would have been swept under the rug.

  8. #8
    Shoe Diva
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Detroit, MI - So Glad to be Home!
    Posts
    2,837
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    It is good that Jenny wrote about this issue, but lashing out at her mom? I feel like Jenny almost hates the sport and is using this blog to vent all her frustrations. Am i right that Jenny's mom passed away a few years ago and Jenny was devastated and lost interest in the sport? If I were her I would have written about the issue, but left out any personal details. no point bad mouthing your mom. It's over now.
    Tiny - I do get your point, but its also important to remember that Jenny's blog is about her story and her experience as an elite skater... and regardless of how much she loved her mom and misses her - Mrs. Kirk made her skate with a broken pelvis...

    My own truth - I've made my son play on a sprained ankle because "the team" was depending on him... and also made him go to practice iwith a tummy ache & fever in February - in the rain - because I thought he was being a sucky, whiny baby the day his appendix was removed - and I love my son to the point of distration, just like Jenny's mom. But I have no one to blame but myself if he grows up to hate me just a little bit due to my "supportive" actions.

    Because parents do stupid stuff in the name of being a "supportive" parent and need to own up to their vicariousness and ignorance to what they are doing to their children... How can we understand if we can't acknowlege our own truths?

    It is what it is...

  9. #9
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,752
    Quote Originally Posted by Tinymavy15 View Post
    It is good that Jenny wrote about this issue, but lashing out at her mom? I feel like Jenny almost hates the sport and is using this blog to vent all her frustrations. Am i right that Jenny's mom passed away a few years ago and Jenny was devastated and lost interest in the sport? If I were her I would have written about the issue, but left out any personal details. no point bad mouthing your mom. It's over now.
    She is just telling the truth from her point of view. I wasn't expecting her to mention her own parents, but was pleasantly surprised that she did. That was a very honest and brave thing to do. She probably loves her mother immensely, admires her, is thankful and everything - but also knows that her mother did some mistakes as a parent, as a person, just as everyone does.

  10. #10
    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    On the shores of the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    882
    Jenny Kirk is a very good writer. She shows quite a bit of sympathy toward these overbearing parents, while acknowledging the pain she felt as a child of one.

    Kwanford Wife, I'd love to hear what the parents in your soccer parent email circle thought of this post, if you'd care to share.

  11. #11
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    4,221
    Red Dog, I didn't see love in the article in any way/shape/or form, but my definition of love is my late father. He defined the true meaning of success, which is love.

    This is one of Jennifer's most reflective articles, a rare look into the other side of the sport, from one whom has seen it all, and I would imagine that it is cathartic for Jenny, to get it all out.

    This article makes me think twice about what is the true relationship between a skater & his/her parent(s). I mean some things are common knowledge (aka Tonya Harding & her mom, Tiffany Chin & mom, AP McDonough & mom, et al).

    Then there are those I've always wondered about (e.g. Michelle's mom seemed like the loving caring one, whereas her dad I'm not so sure, but then again I'm sure his pushing was the impetus of her success). How's that old saying go about opposites attracting & there being a fair balance.

    Lol, what I'm really wondering about is Elvis & his mom. She was always there, by his side, in the audience, even had a shrine to his success. And Elvis steadfastly said she was his biggest fan. There seemed genuine love & affection there. In my mind Elvis was the one whom pushed himself, the one whom wanted to be #1, a workaholic, et al. As a fan I saw nothing amiss. In this case, I honestly believe nobody else pushed Elvis except Elvis. He skated in pain (especially during his last two Olympics) because he chose to, it was his decision, nobody else. He truly gave his life to this sport because he loves what he does ~ he loves to skate! In fact, I heard he's back skating again. He reminds me of the Protopopovs, Katarina Witt, Sonja Henie.

    On a downside, I recall reading in Ekaterina Goordeva's book that Sergei didn't like to skate, he even told Scott Hamilton that he hated it. :( He said he skated because he had to. What he really wanted to do was travel the world & enjoy life. So sad, this coming from a 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist. But then again I recall Katia said that Sergei was disappointed with how he performed in the 1994Olympics because of his mistake on singling one of his jumps, and he seriously wanted to compete in the 1998 Olympics. So who knows...

  12. #12
    Shoe Diva
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Detroit, MI - So Glad to be Home!
    Posts
    2,837
    Quote Originally Posted by Wicked View Post
    Jenny Kirk is a very good writer. She shows quite a bit of sympathy toward these overbearing parents, while acknowledging the pain she felt as a child of one.

    Kwanford Wife, I'd love to hear what the parents in your soccer parent email circle thought of this post, if you'd care to share.
    That Jennifer Kirk didn't sound like she appreciated the sacrifces her parents made for her skating career... a career that didn't even win her a gold medal - like that Michelle Kwan...

    But I wasn't surprised - If I'm the sane one in this group, what does that tell you about the other mothers?!? And why is it always the mothers?

    One thing that I always bring up whenever Michael Jackson's dad is discussed is how are we sure that he's the worst example of a stage parent? Beat downs and hauling bricks are awful - but skating with a broken pelvis? playing soccer - SOCCER - on a sprained ankle or in the freezing rain with a fever? I can't judge Joe Jackson - I haven't earned the right.

  13. #13
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    820
    Jenny's blogs are amazing. Witness the thoughtful and thought provoking posts I've just finished reading here. Obviously she makes people think - regardless of whether or not we/they agree or even have first hand knowledge. I hope her messages are getting to those who need them most. Go Jenny!

  14. #14
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    161
    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    But I wasn't surprised - If I'm the sane one in this group, what does that tell you about the other mothers?!? And why is it always the mothers?
    It's not always the mothers.....it just depends on the sport and which parent tends to be involved.

    In the sport of hockey, it's the dads. Sometimes the level of over-involvement (and the verbal abuse they dish out) is just frightening.

  15. #15
    Down With It
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    13,691
    Quote Originally Posted by Nadine View Post
    Red Dog, I didn't see love in the article in any way/shape/or form, but my definition of love is my late father. He defined the true meaning of success, which is love.
    This is the quote from the article that prompted my response (relevant part bolded):

    While some parents get their children involved in skating with the sole motivation of cashing in on their skater’s fame, others are unaware of the complex world that they are entering when their son or daughter becomes a competitive figure skater. These parents appear to get caught up in trying to help their child succeed by pushing them too hard. I believe much of this extreme behavior these parents exhibit comes from a place of love. It’s understandable how they might feel helpless in the sport and want to grasp on to any sort of control to help their child’s career. The problem is, though, that most parents don’t realize how their effort to help their child can instead have the opposite effect.
    I do think she raises a good point, but only folks who are parents themselves would be able to relate to/explain such a theory.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •