In the area of vocational dance where the student is often a high achiever, perceived pressure to please parenting figures can add to the stress (both positive and negative) of daily living and growing.
The following suggestion for a code of behaviour for parents is intended to support them in their efforts to reassure their child that dance is for his/her own enjoyment and that they are loved for themselves rather than for their achievements.
- If children are interested, encourage them to dance. If children are not willing to dance, do not force them.
- Encourage dance students to see live professional performances as often as possible.
- Eliminate focus on winning. Focus instead on the child’s efforts and performance rather than the overall outcome of the examination, performance or audition.
- Help children to set realistic goals based on their individual ability and experience.
- Teach children that an honest effort is as important as a victory, so that the results of each examination or performance are accepted without undue disappointment.
- Encourage children to follow the rules and be a cooperative team member..
- Never ridicule or yell at a child for making a mistake or not passing an examination.
- Remember, children are dancing for their enjoyment, not yours.
- Remember that children learn best by example so practice what you preach. Applaud good performances by all of the performers.
- If you disagree with an examiner, adjudicator or critic, raise the issue through the appropriate channels rather than question the official’s judgment in public.
- Support all efforts to remove verbal and physical abuse from dance activities.
Adapted from National Aussie Sport Program coaching manual—Australian Sports Commission, Bruce, ACT
The Parents’ Code of Behaviour is reproduced from Safe Dance II by Tony Geeves