How do I talk to my daughter about pulling her out of ballet classes?
March 20, 2014 10:54 AM Subscribe
My 4 year old daughter goes to ballet lessons and really likes them. She’s looking forward to a recital in about 8 weeks. Unfortunately, we need to pull her out of classes at her current studio and enroll her some place else. How do my partner and I frame this issue with my daughter so she doesn’t feel terrible?
posted by elmer benson to Human Relations (49 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For about a year now, we’ve had my daughter in weekly, half-hour ballet lessons. We picked the studio she’s currently attending because they offered classes at times and locations that were convenient for us, and my daughter has been enjoying the classes.
Last weekend, my daughter got a cute, short, bob haircut. It’s what she wanted, half because she doesn’t like getting it washed in the bath and half because it’s the same style her older cousin has.
After this week’s ballet class, my daughter came out of class and was sad that her hair wasn’t going to be in a bun. Apparently, the teacher said something to her during class. Now, to be fair, we got an email a few days ago that said the ballet teacher would be “checking ballet buns” during class, and we both knew there’d be a discussion of ballet buns in class. I guess we didn’t consider that if a kid’s hair is too short to be in a ballet bun it would be a problem. Apparently it is.
Today, my partner and I got a very passive aggressive note from the ballet teacher, reminding us that my daughter’s hair needs to be in a ballet bun and asking us what our plan would be to get our daughter’s hair into a bun for classes and the recital. It seems like there isn’t a lot of room for negotiation, and frankly, I’m not going to allow my kid to feel weird or like an outsider because her hair isn’t the same as her fellow 4 year old ballerinas.
I’m not going to put my kid in a wig, and it is unlikely that her hair will grow out before the recital in mid-May. In any case, the teacher made it clear that hair was to be in ballet buns for lessons and the performance. My partner and I have decided to write back a very simple note back to the teacher that explains we’ll be pulling her from classes at the studio and registering some place else. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll re-register her at a different studio quickly and she can get back to having fun and dancing with other kids. In the short-term, though, she’ll miss the recital and probably at least a few weeks of classes. And, we have to at least have some kind of honest conversation with her that we’re doing this because of someone’s reaction to her haircut. (Typing that just now seems really ridiculous. She’s a four year old. She’s not going to be a professional dancer. What does it matter what her hair’s like? Ugh.)
This is my family’s first confrontation with needing to conform to particular standards of appearance. We’re not crazy off the grid nonconformists. We understand that we made a choice (my daughter in getting her hair cut and us allowing her) that has repercussions. While there might be a chance we keep our kid in classes there, we’ll still need to have a conversation about why she looks “different” and why that’s a problem for some people.
While my wife seems to be processing this pretty well and better than I am. I’m just angry and sad. My kid is nice, verbal, and generally cheery. I don’t want to drag her out with a conversation that makes her feel bad about getting her hair cut or with the implication that because she doesn’t look the same as the other kids in her class she’s less good. Since I already feel terrible, I don't really want to argue my parenting style and letting her choose her own haircut. I don't really want to discuss if the teacher is right or wrong. I understand that actions have consequences.
What I want is a way to talk to my daughter about these decisions (to cut her hair, to pull her from ballet at this studio) that doesn’t make her feel bad about herself or her appearance. Any suggestions?