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Thread: Jenny Kirk: The Overzealous Skating Parent

  1. #16
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    We'll have to agree to disagree, Red Dog.

    This article brings to mind a conversation I had with a very good friend of mine once. He said you can tell the ones that come from love, and the ones that do not. It shows ~ in their actions ~ in their words. It continues on. I can see what he means now.

    I agree with him. Lol, something I usually don't. Seriously, he's got so many awards, achievements, degrees, phds, et al. At times, I feel humbled in his presence. At other times just extremely annoyed.

    Back to the article, Jennifer Kirk is a FABULOUS WRITER!!!!!!!!!

  2. #17
    Dreaming and dancing Bennett's Avatar
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    I understand that skating can be a lot of investiment for parents, as it involves really a lot of money, unusual schedules, preparation of costumes, driving to and from the rink etc.

    I recall watching a TV program describing how Shizuka's parents made a lot of sacrifice for her skating because her father was not particularly wealthy. So her mom did a lot of parttime jobs to make ends meet.

    Mao's former coach Machiko Yamada said in an interview that she welcomed kids' parents always watching them at the rinkside. She believes that parents are the ones who could pay exclusive attention to the kids that she herself cannot provide. She even lets the parents "teach" the kids. So a group of parents sit on the rinkside--each of them intensely watching their own kids. I found it an impressive view

  3. #18
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    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.
    Ah but there's the real issue KW - people in your position would rarely admit their weaknesses....in public no less. And certainly wouldn't be big enough to admit these things and then say they don't have the right to judge others! But that's just what makes you so great!

    Ant

  4. #19
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Ant, you have an avatar! A cute avatar!

    Here, I'll stay on topic: I hope you don't make that puppy skate with a broken pelvis. Or skate at all, for that matter .

  5. #20
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Ant, you have an avatar! A cute avatar!

    Here, I'll stay on topic: I hope you don't make that puppy skate with a broken pelvis. Or skate at all, for that matter .
    Yes i decided to finally choose an avatar - it's one of my dogs just over two years ago when he was 8 weeks old!

    I also have never pushed him into skating nor am i a pushy skating parent!

    Actually properly on topic - i always wonder why these crazed parents don't just take up skating themselves. it would be a much outlet for them, they could themselves as hard as they like with a goal of competing at adult nationals.

    Ant

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    Ah but there's the real issue KW - people in your position would rarely admit their weaknesses....in public no less. And certainly wouldn't be big enough to admit these things and then say they don't have the right to judge others! But that's just what makes you so great!

    Ant
    Oh - pish posh... I just try to learn from my mistakes and keep it real. That's all you can do as a parent...

    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    Yes i decided to finally choose an avatar - it's one of my dogs just over two years ago when he was 8 weeks old!

    I also have never pushed him into skating nor am i a pushy skating parent!

    Actually properly on topic - i always wonder why these crazed parents don't just take up skating themselves. it would be a much outlet for them, they could themselves as hard as they like with a goal of competing at adult nationals.

    Ant
    But where's the fun in that?!?

  7. #22
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwanford Wife View Post
    But where's the fun in that?!?
    Come on KW - you know you want to get out on that football pitch ( i refuse to call it "soccer"!!) and run around out there to prove yourself!

    Ant

  8. #23
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    Come on KW - you know you want to get out on that football pitch ( i refuse to call it "soccer"!!) and run around out there to prove yourself!
    You know, an American would not only call it soccer, they would also refer to a field rather than a pitch. Pitches are in baseball! Though baseball pitch is not the actual field of play.

  9. #24
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
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    She does raise some very good points. How much should a parent push their child? There are times when a child doesn't want to practice/ do homework/ whatever else, and it is appropriate for the parent to remind the child of their responsibilities. When does this cross the line? I don't know.

    The example that always baffles me is Evgeni Plushenko. No, his parents didn't push him - he was the one who wanted to skate-skate-skate. However, his parents allowed him to go off on his own to Saint Petersburg when he was 11 years old! Yes, this was what he wanted to do - but did I mention he was just 11 years old?! And it wasn't like the skaters who went off to train to another city during the Soviet days - hard as the experience has been on, say, Berezhnaya, she lived in a dorm with adult supervision, her basic needs such as food where taken care of, etc. In Plushenko's case, though - he lived in a communal apartment, had to buy his own groceries and cook... I'm sure his parents did what they thought was in his best interest (and, as I've said before, he certainly did want to go), and you can argue that things "worked out very well in the end", but I guess I don't really see this as proper parenting. I usually try to avoid such judgmental pronouncements, but I guess I do have a strong opinion on this one.

  10. #25
    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    You know, an American would not only call it soccer, they would also refer to a field rather than a pitch. Pitches are in baseball! Though baseball pitch is not the actual field of play.
    There's not way you'd get a Brit to call it a soccer field! See this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Football_pitch

    Ant

  11. #26
    Dedicated follower of the black line Wicked's Avatar
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    But what if you're not quite good enough to win?

    What's sad here is that not everybody is talented enough to win a gold medal. It sounds like some parents feel that the sacrifices are worth it for everybody as long as the kid WINS. (I know parents like this.) The problem is that some kids will just be talented enough to be competitive, but not win. If that's the best you can do, then it is, and for some kids no amount of training will change this. I'd love to hear what Jenny would say about this issue. When are the sacrifices worth it or not? And when the kid wins, are the overbearing parents somehow justified?

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka View Post
    The example that always baffles me is Evgeni Plushenko. No, his parents didn't push him - he was the one who wanted to skate-skate-skate. However, his parents allowed him to go off on his own to Saint Petersburg when he was 11 years old! Yes, this was what he wanted to do - but did I mention he was just 11 years old?! And it wasn't like the skaters who went off to train to another city during the Soviet days - hard as the experience has been on, say, Berezhnaya, she lived in a dorm with adult supervision, her basic needs such as food where taken care of, etc. In Plushenko's case, though - he lived in a communal apartment, had to buy his own groceries and cook... I'm sure his parents did what they thought was in his best interest (and, as I've said before, he certainly did want to go), and you can argue that things "worked out very well in the end", but I guess I don't really see this as proper parenting. I usually try to avoid such judgmental pronouncements, but I guess I do have a strong opinion on this one.

    Plushenko's case is disturbing - not only did he live in a communal one-room apartment with a bunch of adults he did not know, hundreds of miles from his parents, when he was only eleven, but at least some of those adults were drunks and the situation in the apartment included violent fighting. Plushenko has mentioned that he was "terrified" until his coach, Mishin, discovered how bad it was and arranged for him to live in a somewhat-improved communal apartment somewhere else. In addition, the other skaters at Mishin's rink shunned young Evgeni and sometimes bullied him - he was younger than the rest of them but could already jump better than most, and was seen as a threat. He has said that he had no friends.

    But Plushenko has always maintained that he wanted to stay in St. Petersburg, as bad as it was, because he knew becoming a success in skating was the only way he could help his parents. It was a huge sacrifice for such a young boy, but perhaps none of us can really understand the circumstances his family was under and why it was necessary.

  13. #28
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    Gah! I teach skating and some of those parents make me want to scream at them! If you are paying me money to teach your child, nothing can be gained from you shouting down the bleachers about posture or knees or anything else. I once saw a parent shove her child onto the ice and then shut the door to off ice, trapping her on the ice. The kid would stand at the door and cry.
    Overzealous skating parents make me crazy. And they probably don't do much for their children, either. I try to kid them into stopping, saying things like, "Would you like to make this a group lesson? Come on out!"
    Or I tell them about the sign my mechanic has up at his shop that says something like:
    Hourly rate: $30
    Hourly rate if you want to supervise: $60
    Hourly rate if you want to help: $90

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by megsk8z View Post
    Gah! I teach skating and some of those parents make me want to scream at them! If you are paying me money to teach your child, nothing can be gained from you shouting down the bleachers about posture or knees or anything else.
    Then why get a coach in the first place?

  15. #30
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    Great article! Jenny is really a good writer and very candid

    I did witness that 10-year-old girls skating about 15 hours per week, and one even got injured. From what I heard, for girls to be competitive, that's what they need to do. I always wonder whether that level of training is too harsh on the young developping bodies. But I guess if you want to be really competitive as professional, that what you need to do in any sports. So it's up to the parents to be sure whether that's really their kids' goal or the parents' goal. And remember, parents are there to provide guidence to the kids.

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