Mom, I'm going to tell it to you straight: you need to counsel your kid out of figure skating. The other parents aren't saying anything when your skater whines in the lobby and complains in the parking lot. They're too polite and they've known you for years. They're your friends and they think you'll be offended if they have the awkward conversation with you.
I'm going to do it: save your money and find your figure skater something to do outside of the rink.
Mom, I'm not trying to be mean. Really. I like you. I even like your whiny kid, when she's away from the rink and having fun. It's just painful to watch the scene your skater makes every week and it's painful, too, to know how you're scraping together the money to put her on the ice.
Here's how you do it, Mom:
- Cold turkey. Just take a break. Maybe a month. Maybe the summer. When the time for the next ice contract comes around, ask your figure skater if she misses it. She probably won't.
- Maintain friendships. Arrange for times to spend with her (former) figure skating friends. Keep those friendship ties, but do it away from the rink.
- Bandwagon. Ask your skater what her school friends enjoy. I don't care if it's knitting, find a way for your kid to join in.
- Replace. At the very same time that your skater would be on the ice, find something wonderful, marvelous, adventurous for her to try. Normally I would never recommend horse back riding (the only thing more expensive than figure skating), but if it gets your kid off the ice, it's worth the money.
- Bait-n-switch. Does your skater love the musicality of figure skating? Try dance. Does she like the performance aspect? Try theater. Does she like the movement? Get her roller blades and crown her queen of the roller rink.
- The long goodbye. Reduce her ice time so gradually that she doesn't even notice it happening. Pretty soon she'll be weaned off of the ice.
- Reward behaviors you want to see. When she's trying the new activity, gush appropriately. Watch her and be amazed. Encourage her to talk about her new activity and how very, very cool it is.
Tell her that just because she doesn't like figure skating as much as she had thought, she isn't a failure and she isn't a bad person. She just needs to find that passion, that spark, that special interest that will take her from whiny to wonderful.
Give your kid permission to quit. Please. I promise I'll call you. We'll have coffee. We'll take the kids to the movies. We'll catch up and laugh. You'll show me photos of your kid on her horse, on stage, or at the gymnasium. The kid will beam with pride. We'll both gush appropriately.
I can't wait.
Alright, parents. Do you have any ideas for this mom? How would you recommend that she counsel her kid off the ice?
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