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Advocate Politely

By Kenna McHugh

Guest Blogger

Bettina Bush‘s interview with Eileen Wacker hit a heartstring because when my daughter was born I wanted her to be the shining star in every class and in every program because she is my shining star. I am sure all moms feel that way.

I can relate to what Eileen is saying. Being a mom you don’t want to be too pushy or too overbearing. But, if you don’t say something, then what? Somebody needs to speak up for the child, and it might as well be their mom.

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I am not saying turn on the drama because I know that doesn’t work. But, how can a mom approach a situation with a coach, teacher or director in an effective way?

One time I didn’t feel comfortable approaching my daughter’s ballet teacher because she didn’t make it easy. She wouldn’t even look at me, and if I got her attention I felt a chasm between us, and I couldn’t reach her. I want to scream. “Why are you ignoring my daughter during class? How can she improve if you don’t help her?”

I know screaming would not have helped. I was really frustrated because my daughter was not happy. So, we left the studio. I ask myself, “Should I have handled it differently?” I don’t think so.

I remember a time when a mom did turn on her drama. I wish she had taken a more logical approach to matter because she was absolutely right in her situation, but turning on the drama did not help her get her point across. It only made her look bad and made matters worse.

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The mom felt her daughter should have been given a solo dance because she had been with the studio for 8 years, she hadn’t had a solo yet, and it was her time to shine. She was absolutely right.

Adding to that, she was so furious, and spoke in such an angry tone telling the director that she was favoring students and not allowing her daughter to shine. This upset the director, who started telling parents about her drama, which was not okay and brought everyone down. My daughter and I decided we needed to leave the studio because of all the drama. It was counterproductive. To this day, the studio is struggling to stay open. Like Eileen said in the radio interview, it is exhausting and brings everyone down.

With these two situations, I believe that institutions that are working with the children should take responsibility in handling moms or parents when it comes to these matters. On the other spectrum, moms need to learn to communicate in a logical way to coaches, teachers and directors to get their point across effectively.