Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
xanthe

Ballet worries in 7 year old

Recommended Posts

I mentioned in a thread a few weeks ago about my DD being upset about the boys at school telling her that she musn't get fat if she wants to be a ballet dancer. Things have now got worse and I'm not entirely sure how to handle it.

 

DD tried out for the YDA associates on Sunday. She had a meltdown when it was time to go in and said she wanted to go home. Got her in there and I understand she was fine once we left, but she pretty much refused to discuss anything about it afterwards - just said she didn't want to talk about it.

 

The last few days she hasn't been her normal bouncy self - tummy aches every morning and not wanting to go to school and when I picked her up for her ballet class yesterday after school she wasn't changed and was hiding.

 

Got the email while she was at class to say she hasn't been accepted at YDA. When I told her she was a bit subdued and then told me that she told Anna that if she got in then she didn't want to go to her school! Yikes!

 

We had a fairly long chat when we got home and eventually it all came out that she was scared of doing ballet because the boys had told her she'd get ugly feet and that dancing an pointe breaks all your toes and she doesn't want to hurt her feet.

 

I've been into school this morning and had a chat with the SENCo who is hugely supportive of DD and wanted to do PA herself so 'gets' things. She's horrified and also said that DD has been very much not herself this week and they are going to find a way to deal that doesn't make it DD or dance-centric.

 

On the upside, tummy ache has gone this morning and DD her usual happy self.

 

DH and I don't harbour fantasies of our little girl being the next Pavlova - we try to encourage, facilitate and offer the best opportunities we can find and afford in whatever she would like to do, and would never force her to do something, but I'm really not sure how to reassure and deal with this...

 

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't read and run just wanted to lend support.

 

Your poor little dd.  Kids can be so cruel.  Does your dd have any specific issues (as you mentioned it was the senco you saw).  My dd never did any associate schemes but loves her ballet.  She's now at vocational school but heading towards the general dance/musical theatre side of things.  At her junior school she was subject to boys kicking her legs "so they could try and ruin her chances of being a dancer."

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both these posts are so sad, how can kids be so cruel!? 

Sounds like a positive outcome from the talking, which hopefully will mean an end to the  nastiness. 

As with a lot of these things, setbacks like this will hopefully encourage your Dd to become tougher, and more determined, and prove them all wrong. 

☺️

 

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear this xanthe, she so little as well and shouldn't have to deal with such things.

I hope the school can deal with this properly, and luckily children can and do bounce back very quickly at this age, but I can understand it's very upsetting for you and her xxx good luck xxxx 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gosh how stressful for you. Children can be so mean but they're also under a lot of stress these days (let's not forget it's the hideous SAT's week). All I can say is keep talking. Even if it gets tough and painful and challenging for you all, keep talking. Children keep so many of their worries inside and a simple misunderstanding can cause so much upset if not dealt with.

 

I hope that your DD bounces back from this and starts to enjoy her dancing again xxxxx

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DD has quite severe dyslexia - she's 98th centile for verbal and non-verbal reasoning but 7th centile for working memory, so awkward combination of a very bright child who struggles and massively underachieves. Her school are brilliant about it (they arranged all the testing) and very supportive.

 

She's very popular at school, loads of friends etc so no bullying concerns of the usual type.

 

We suspect that she will want to go down the MT route - singing is definitely her strongest skill - but while she was enjoying ballet so much and appeared to be doing well, it seemed silly not to have a bash at the JAs and also have it as a possible avenue.

 

It's also the case that if she wants to go to the vocational school she currently has her heart set on, she needs to offer triple threat...

 

I wish I knew how to reassure on the feet - googling dancers feet doesn't exactly help!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, awww, bless her, she's 7!

At 7, I would just be wanting to ensure she has a lovely time, dancing and having fun with her friends. ??

We recently went to the RBS Ass auditions with my 9 year old DS and I loved that they tried to make it more about being fun than anything else. Obviously there's the hidden agenda around physique and musicality but to the kids it was just a fun class.

I'd try two things, address the bullying with school, and try to get her back to loving learning to dance. Maybe a class that isn't part of a syllabus, just for fun. My DS does acro and that's his silly hour! Do they have anything like this?

Over my time (I'm an ex dancer turned MH nurse!) I've seen lots of kids put off by being the wrong shape, having the wrong legs or arms and in 2017 in the world of dance, most things are ok. My own DD is a completely different shape to her twin but then look at the choreography by the likes of Lea Anderson. Open her eyes to a wonderful world and she will want, no, be driven to dance forever. ????

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well for a start I'd like to know where such young boys got their stupid facts from and I sincerely hope that someone will have a word about their unacceptable behaviour.

 

Then see if you can get her to visit a class of older students of vocational level so that they can talk to her and debunk the myths (maybe her Ballet teacher has a suitable young lady that can act as mentor?)

 

And has your daughter ever seen a live performance of  Ballet? If there are any forthcoming productions maybe you could ask to meet a dancer afterwards?

 

Am actually really upset about these kids, what happened to Pictures dd makes me angry too.

 

Good luck

 

Edit to add that if you do everything properly and receive safe training then feet will be fine! You just have to look after them carefully, and hopefully your dd will do that anyway.

 

 

 

Edited by hfbrew
Feet
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh bless her, children can be so mean & horrid at times , we've had bullying issues in the past with our DS - related to his dancing, and it can become horrible for the child & all-consuming & worrying for us parents. 

I think it's very wise words to keep talking to her about it - let her know this happens to other children too & usually there is a solution. Reassure her that whilst sometimes feet can become a little sore - but there are ways of minimising this & looking after her feet properly, so it's not as bad as these horrible kids have led her to believe. They are more than likely jealous of her and the fact that she enjoys her dancing. Big hug x

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Make sure when she's older that she gets the extra time in tests and exams for the working memory issue.  Ideally she should get it for all class based tests etc too as it can be very demotivating. 98th centile for verbal sounds very like my dd.

 

As for feet well, injuries can happen with anything.  I've heard of several dancers who have broken parts of their feet and had to have time off but in many cases they have actually been doing another activity not dancing.  My dd has had a sprained ankle done in dance class (and she's hypermobile so could have happened anywhere) but has never really suffered from blisters and stuff.

 

It would be good if she could find an older mentor to look up to as hfbrew suggests.  Give her a hug from us all at balletco.

Edited by Picturesinthefirelight
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your poor DD, kids can be so nasty sometimes. If it hadn't been her ballet, it probably would have been something else - or someone else. Its bullying plain and simple - whether it is because someone likes ballet, wears glasses, is the smallest in the class, doesn't play football - any reason whatsoever.

 

In terms of dealing with it and reassuring: talking to school was obviously the first move. In terms of offering her reassurance to your DD, perhaps turn the tables and ask her if the boys have ever done ballet, does she think the boys know more than her dance teachers or are they just being silly. And above all you need to just emphasize that ballet is a fun hobby, just like swimming or gymnastics or football (or whatever else the other kids in her class do). As long as she knows she can talk to you and that you support her, she will be ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, MrsMoo2 said:

<Snip>

Over my time (I'm an ex dancer turned MH nurse!) 

 that explains  why i like you  ...   I used to be an RN(A)  until my own mental health took a turn for the worse ... 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pictures - that is just awful for your DD. Children can be so unpleasant.

 

I'm glad to hear that she's now away from that and doing so well.

 

Thank you all for the kind comments. I feel so awful that she's been bottling all this up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The boys in question all do ballet - but at different schools.

 

As far as I know she is the only girl in her school who does ballet - very deprived demographic.

 

Her primary has a specialist interest in performing arts and has a dancer-in-residence (Rambert) and musician-in-residence on the staff, but they do modern dance in school from what I can tell. I might see whether the dancer could have a chat or something although DD doesn't seem that keen on her.

 

She's always excelled at anything performance based and tends to get lead roles and win the competitions at school which may be part of the problem. She's also not treating things as 'just for fun' - she's utterly determined to get to the West End and the kids at school know she has time out for auditions etc. I've really played down the RBS and the YDA as just a fun class and while she's so focused on Les Mis I thought she would be utterly laid back about them.

 

She did say she had fun at class last night so that was a plus.

 

She has another class on Friday that is more serious and has older girls so I'll see how that goes and maybe have a chat at the end with the teacher.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really shocked that it's boys that attend ballet class that are behaving in such a way to your DD !! You'd think they would know better and be supportive towards her !! Rotters !! :(

Please let your DD know that the vast majority of boys that are ballet inclined wouldn't dream of upsetting a girl in this way and are generally lovely. What a shame she's happened upon the exception !!

Edited by Ballet4Boyz
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so sorry to hear of your DD's worries, Xanthe. I agree with 2dancersmum in that when she is calmer, appealing to her intelligence in asking her whether these silly boys actually know what they are talking about in preference to her teachers and older girls might well work. I hope her teachers can help to reassure her (and maybe show her their feet!) 

 

And this is probabiy happening because they are jealous and in awe of her determination and ability. It will happen again and again - if not connected with dancing then in relation to something else - and it's very sad that at 7 your DD is already having to deal with this. She will be fine as long as she knows that your and her dad are in her corner and that she can tell you whatever is worrying her. Perhaps practising possible replies to future comments might help her feel in control? Along the lines of 'goodness, who told you that? I will ask my dance teachers what they think' or 'thank you for being worried about my feet/weight/whatever, I will check whether my teachers think I should be doing anything differently'. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mph said:

 that explains  why i like you  ...   I used to be an RN(A)  until my own mental health took a turn for the worse ... 

Awww, I did it the other way round, danced for years, then all went downhill with MH and as I tried to climb back out on the other side, I happened to gain a RMN qualification! 

Dream is to open something for ex performers, some kind of residential rehab. On day!! ??? xxx

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is such a distressing thread.  Poor kids who show any sort of drive, passion and commitment - it's just not 'cool'. My ds worst case of aggravation at primary school was from other girls in his ballet class.  I was so shocked at the time as I assumed that they would all stick together.  So glad we're past that stage. Even though my non ds who has a lovely voice and great acting ability is forever being told by his peers in gcse music and drama that he can't sing/act! When he tells me these things I say ' and what does it say about That Child?' He pipes up that they are insecure in their own ability and jealous of his. Been a lot of coaching to get him to that point at 13. Agh kids!!! 

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Xanthe, my heart bleeds for your little dd. My own eldest daughter has a beautiful singing voice but the spiteful girls in her school convinced her that she couldn't sing and she rarely bothers anymore. I wish you luck in getting this sorted out. Bullying is vile. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes my son has had that too. Boys in his year telling him he can't sing & has a rubbish voice even when he won the junior school singing competition they said it was fixed. 

 

He then went to senior school & within 3 weeks got the lead in Oliver in the whole school show.  This taught him that these kids opinion was rubbish but it didn't stop them & made some of them worse. He now belongs to a youth theatre group who approached me after the director saw him perform in something else. 

 

I hope your dd is feeling better about things today. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Xanthe I'm so sorry to hear this and I think the advice offered here is sound.

 

You could phone YDA and explain the situation if you feel worried about what your dd said there.

 

Look after yourself - I think the parents sometimes suffer more  than the kids xx

Edited by sarahw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also consider talking to the ballet teacher of the boys. If a boy who did ballet was bullied in this way the teachers would go mad!!

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps the words 'fun' and 'hobby' were not the best choice but the bottom line is that your DD does have to enjoy what she is doing - not just aged 7 but onwards too and personally I think her own enjoyment and pleasure in what she is doing is key.  There is nothing wrong with her having drive, passion, determination and dreams for the future but I think it is important too to remember that dreams can change. My DD was about 7 when she realised that some people danced for a living and it was something she could do when she was grown up and that became her dream.  But she is the only one from her local ballet school that actually became a professional dancer, even taking account of those that went to vocational school.

 

As a parent you are doing all the right things, encouraging her , supporting her and talking to her and letting her talk. I do know what you are going through. My DD aged just 6 was too afraid to tell us what a girl from her school and ballet class was saying to her - name-calling, tripping her up, pulling her hair because said child had threatened to break both her legs if she ever told anyone. It was heartbreaking seeing our happy child almost 'shrinking' at the thought of going to school, tummy ache and tears every morning. After hearing her talking and screaming in her sleep, she finally spoke to us and we were able to speak to her teacher and start the healing process. Even so the identity of the bully only came out by accident about a year later and she still cried because she thought this girl would get her.

 

But my DD did get through it. She still got spiteful comments on and off over the years, often from this same girl and her friends but she never really let it get to her again. As I said before, encourage her to think for herself about the nasty comments people make and why they may make them. Don't tell her - after my DD responded with 'you have to say that you're my mum' when I told her she was beautiful after a day of others calling her 'ugly', I then asked her why she believed them, did they always tell the truth, were they always honest and fair and she realised for herself, with her own examples of their behaviour towards other people, that just because they said it, did not mean it was right.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Like everyone else Xanthe i'm so sorry to hear this. I thought it was ignorant boys not having a clue what they were talking about, but then when you said these boys themselves do ballet at another school I was really shocked. Your poor DD. Seven is so young to have to put up with that horrible nonsense. I would advise that if the bullying continues to contact the teacher of the other dancing school the boys attend and let her know what her students have been saying. She might be able to give them a good stern talking to which might hopefully bring them to their senses.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been lucky so far on the singing - no-one has put her down as yet and hopefully she's got enough positive affirmation to deal with any - she got to the final round for Les Mis a few weeks ago, she's been asked to sing at two events in the next month and she's just been accepted as a pupil by a very highly regarded vocal coach who doesn't normally take children and he would deal with anything like this very fast. Makes me so cross to hear how many of our children get their confidence knocked at such a young age. Just wrong and so harmful.

 

Her school have an Eisteddfod in a few weeks and she's entered for the singing part. I asked if she was doing the dance section this year and she said the other girls in her class had entered as a team but hadn't asked her to be in it which makes me worry a little bit, although she didn't seem especially upset. She said she didn't want to enter this year - not like her so I think this is definitely the area she's worried about.

 

School are going to keep an eye out for what's going on. I'm very lucky they are so supportive (although that may be because they are so relieved we're not expecting them to help us get the poor child into St Paul's Girls or similar!). The SENCo had DD in for a chat today but DD isn't sharing.

 

Happily a new boy joined her ballet class yesterday - only boy there - and she thinks he's wonderful and they've been paired up together in class. He seems lovely and I imagine he will be pretty good (has that look and build and way of moving) and was very enthusiastic when he came over to say hello after class. She's been the new one in her class since Christmas and while the others are all nice kids she hasn't had a friend. She's already talking about looking forward to seeing him at ballet next week. Fingers crossed that he will help bring the spark back.

 

I've taken her to see the My First Ballet productions by ENB which she loved and I have tickets for Secret Garden with LJB next month so hopefully that will provide some inspiration for her. 

 

I'm going to tread very softly and let her find her enthusiasm again. We'll go to RBS but with zero expectations and it will be a nice day out. To be honest I'm not sure that she's ready for associates even if she was considered to be considered good enough, so there is no pressure or expectations from us.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will keep her in my thoughts, Xanthe. She is so young to be enduring such nasty treatment. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2dancersmum - it's a bit of a shock and a minefield when you get landed with a child who wants to do things that start so seriously so young.

 

If DD had set her heart on being an astronaut we'd reckon the odd trip to the science museum and some good books would be quite sufficient in terms of encouragement.

 

Instead I look at that first class that we sent DD to at the age of 5 and think what the heck happened? It was supposed to be a bit of fun on a Sunday to meet some local kids, and now I'm sitting in an audition waiting room with 4 other white-faced parents wondering if I might be signing very adult contracts for my baby to go out and work.

 

I did ask her last night if she wanted to step off the roundabout and have a break from everything and she nearly had a fit. Said she was very scared about breaking her feet but she needed to dance to get her dream. 

 

I worry a lot about being some kind of pushy mother, but then I'm confronted by her determination and it seems far worse to try and stop her. 

 

I'm very grateful for the internet as I don't know anyone IRL whose children do anything like this and it's not exactly anxiety free. It's nice to know there are others in the same boat with the same worries and drying the same tears. So a huge thank you to all of you who have shared what happened to your DC and I wish all of them much happiness and success - not an easy road to tread!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sarahw said:

Xanthe I'm so sorry to hear this and I think the advice offered here is sound.

 

You could phone YDA and explain the situation if you feel worried about what your dd said there.

 

Look after yourself - I think the parents sometimes suffer more  than the kids xx

 

I can imagine exactly how DD would have said it, wince, and I hope - given how lovely they were with her earlier - that they were more surprised than offended. They must be more than used to the quirks of the 7 year old mind I imagine!

 

I think I might avoid reminding them just in case my darling child decides she fancies another go in the future.

 

Thank you for the sympathy, I have a very nice new bottle of Cornish gin about to be delivered which should help :-)

 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly understand the confusion at being faced with a child with such a strong desire to perform at such a young age. And it's extremely hard to convince others that it's not because you're a pushy parent!!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...