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Children's Instruction/Parent interference/Maslov

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I still have burned in my mind a terrible situation between a parent and a 5 year old boy two years ago on our ski area. I took an afternoon lesson with this young boy, a never-ever. As we started with the introduction part of the lesson, he was a little shy, but he seemed really enthused and wanted to carry his own skis. As we were walking over to the beginner area, he dropped his skis. What happened next left me in shock. His mother bent over him and yelled at the top of her lungs, "PICK UP YOUR SKIS! PICK UP YOUR SKIS! YOU HAVE A SKI LESSON TO GO TO!" Veins were popping out of her neck, and she was so red faced that I thought she was going to have an aneurysm : . I immediately stepped in between her and the child, picked up his skis, and told the mother that I would take it from here. As I continued to walk him over to the beginner area, what was once an enthused small kid, was now a quivering child full of fear. So at that point I had what might be called a revelation. Learning was not going to occur with the state of mind this kid was in. All of these theories that you have to learn for the certification exams, such as Maslov's Heirarchy of Needs, really do have a part in ski instruction.

I sat him down and tried to calm him by telling him that his mother really loved him, or else she would not have brought him here to have fun in the snow. So we then started to draw some pictures in the snow and made a few snow angels. Whereupon his mother started yelling at me; "I paid for a ski lesson, not for him to come and play in the snow!" I quickly separated him further from his mother so that he could not hear her. After about another 10 minutes, I detected a small smile. So we continued to play in the snow, only this time we had ski boots on; followed by skis. By the end of the two hour lesson, he was making some nice wedge turns, and seemed happy. I tried to praise him for his accomplishments all along the way. When the lesson ended he was happy, smiling, and a ball of enthused energy again. I really felt good about helping this kid have some fun in the snow, and learn a little bit about skiing.

Then he met his mother again. His smile rapidly disappeared as his mother grabbed him and pulled him away. I thanked her for bringing him, told her that he did well, and that I thought he would be a good skier. I really hoped that he would come back. I never saw them again. Ever now and then I think about this situation and a few tears come out . How can parents be so mean to their children? What ever brought her to be this way? I will never forget this. It is etched in my memory forever. I have taken a solid vow that I will do whatever I can that is humanely possible to continue to work with all people that want to learn to ski, to share my love and passion of the sport with them, and to help them enjoy not only skiing, but to help them learn more about themselves and their capabilities as well.

Maslov was right.
post #2 of 14
Children who live with criticism learn not to try.

I hate to say it, Jimbo, but that kid's life probably has gotten worse since you saw him. Your only consolation is that during the two hours he spent with you he had a glimpse of something very different from his reality. Those moments are in such stark contrast to daily life that they can be a great inspiration as something to go toward.

The shrinks would be out of work if it wasn't for parents. Or as Freud said, "Tell me about your mother."
post #3 of 14
Aargh, that was a little too close to home.

(btw, i believe Maslow has been crossed here with Pavlov. sorry to niggle.)

btw, that was quite disturbing and, like nolo, i suspect things haven't gotten much better. hopefully (?), she was "just" having a really bad day and made it up to her child later; or at least found it in herself to alleviate his fears when/if she got over herself.

and yes, nolo, such "bright lights" do stay in one's mind and once there remain as examples of what is at least possible. some hope is manufactured, if the kid isn't too effed up.

thank you for trying, jimbo.

a dash of maslow

(pavlov was the guy with the slobbering dog, of course.)

either way, they both fit.

[ April 18, 2003, 12:40 PM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #4 of 14
I was trying hard to just read this and let it go . . . but I won't.

Parents who treat their offspring that way have their own problems. Sometimes those parents are really hurting or desperate or ignorant inside, and sometimes they're just bastards. Unfortunately, by the time they're parents, the problems are impossible to fix without their consent, and few would give that. Even if they do, it's very, very difficult.

There was a report I read about a man and a woman, each from dysfunctional homes, who chose to have a child. They had enough squash to realize that their early childhoods were not normal and that they themselves carried the scars of that, and they had enough character and generosity to want life to be different for the child they chose to have together. They worked hard through the child's development to avoid the mistakes which their own parents ha made, and they enlisted assistance from counselors when they thought it would help.

One day, they brought a particular behavior to their psychologist, describing this really puzzling behavior of their child - doesn't really matter here what it was. The psychologist smiled, and expressed his pleasure that they had done such a good job as parents. The man and women looked at each other and the psychologist with quizzical stares - they didn't understand. Seeing that, the psychologist told them that the child's behavior, as described to him, was perfectly normal, healthy and to be expected and even hoped for at that stage of the child's development.

What's the point? The child's conduct, truly normal and to be welcomed, was NOT normal in the chilhood lives of the man and woman. They did not know what normal and healthy is, and they needed a psychologist to tell them.

Parents - even the best of them - do not always know what they're doing to their children. They are, like humans do, meeting their own needs or reacting to their own fears, and sometimes they do it in ways that are harmful to their children. Even if you were able to "tell them the truth", they might not understand what you're saying. They don't know what normal is, in large part due to their own childhood experiences.

"It wasn't a fish that discovered water." Same principle here.
post #5 of 14
P.S. (Since I strayed from the main point)

I'm delighted to read that you knew about Mazlows's heircahrchy of needs and were intelligent and caring enough to put it to work helping that kid. Your head and your heart are in the right places, and you have my respect.
post #6 of 14
P.P.S. Parents do have their bad days, not always their fault. Not knowing the details, I'll withhold judgment.
post #7 of 14
mmmm..., that is tough to see, It's really good to hear that you experienced the revelation that a lot of the stuff to be studied actually has merit and can be used in very real ways to help people. My favorite mentors (for ski teaching) often relate the message that teaching skiing is hardly about skiing at all, but about the people we are with.

Such a sad vision to imagine that child having had such fun only to be returned to the clutches of that mistreatful woman he loves so much.

Those stories are too many on the slopes. I once admonished a father in liftline who was physically mistreating his sub-4 year old child because he wasn't walking correctly without help. When I offered the perspective that if he wanted his son to like skiing he may try helping the boy have fun instead of mistreating him. Both he AND THE MOTHER (to my surprise) gave me a very insulting verbal what-for. I was so embarrassed for them, and felt so for that tiny boy. It was getting so bad I nearly brought up the possiblity of contacting the police, but alas, in the end I did what the rest of the crowd was doing and hopelessly went back to minding my own business. I felt guilty, but at the same time know there really wasn't anything I could do that wouldn't make it worse of the kid, since I was working and couldn't sidle up next to them and offer to take them all for a friendly run.

I wish I had some video of them so they could actually see what they were doing and how they were talking.

Thankfully, it is my experience that most parents do not treat their kids in this manner.
post #8 of 14
Good job in a tough situation, Jimbo.

Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with a situation like this. I wonder how things would go if one would try to engage the parent. Maybe ask if they're having a bad day. Try to distract the parent and enlist co-operation. Pysically stepping between an angry parent and child could be dangerous and usually makes you an instant enemy. Psychologically stepping between prent and child might work better if done with compassion.
post #9 of 14
I find dealing with parents in general to be unsatisfactory. You'd think they'd know more about kids, living with them as they do 24 hours/day. You need a licence to do everything these days, except breed.

I find many of them pay no attention to the kid's comfort: their gear is often wrong, doesn't fit, doesn't work. They dismiss a child's fear, of being left alone with strangers, of the new winter environment...the myriad things kids are afraid of.

They are frequently late to pick them up from ski school, and that's awful for the kid, being the last few left...will they be there for ever?

Many don't care how the kid went; the kid is bursting to proudly tell them the things they achieved that day, and the parent doesn't listen. Or the opposite, parents who are obsessed with things applicable to their own skiing, but not that of a 7 year old ie skiing parallel.

The worst one I can remember: it was in Vermont. I had a private with a brother and sister. turned out the Brother lived with mum, the girl with Dad. Dad had brought them both skiing, and he was off skiing with a buddy.

It was foul weather that day, big winds, very cold, wet snow.
The boy had the best gear, goretex, fleece underneath, really exxy gloves. The girl began to turn blue. She had a cheap variety store fleece on, and a t shirt!!!!!!! And we were about a mile from the day lodge. Got her down by piggy backing her (illegal), and took them into our locker room. Another instructor had warm stuff in her locker, so we stripped the girl off and put the dry stuff on, and a lukewarm hot chocolate.

When she was lucid again, we dried her gear and eventually returned to ski school. Dad was half an hour late to get them, and when I told him what had happened, he didn't seem to absorb it and laughed it off saying the girl dressed herself ha ha.
She could have died of hypothermia! I was just stunned.
post #10 of 14
When I examine the motives of most parents who drag their kids skiing, many fall into a defined "syndrome". While they were were "courtin and sparkin", they did their weekend thing in the hills. They spent many happy times single and in their early married stages frolicking on the slopes and ending the day with a bit of wine and a dip in the hot tub.

Then came "the kid" ...... "The kid" has kept them in chains for the last four or five years. They are going to break out as much as they can and try to grab a few moments of pleasures past. Additionally, they are making a few bucks now and are gonna spend some time spending and claim some bragging rights at some of the big name destination resorts.

And, "that kid" is gonna learn to ski!

With the little ones, I tell parents to stay close ....... but out of sight. Close enough to watch for the tears if they come and close enough to come to the rescue.

With the "over the shoulder .... back seat driver" types I tell them to get lost. When I watch a seven year old getting rattled by the oaf watching those first clumsy attempts, they get told to "get outta Dodge" ...... but be back on time!

Elanore Roosevelt was Maslow's example of an "actualized" individual. Stein ...... Deer Valley .... powder and you get my idea of an "actualized skiier" [img]smile.gif[/img]

It is important to get the message across that if they want a ski buddy for life, they have to be patient and take it as it comes. The risk is far to great to push a child.

[ April 18, 2003, 09:05 PM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by ant:

he didn't seem to absorb it and laughed it off saying the girl dressed herself ha ha.
She could have died of hypothermia! I was just stunned.[/QB]
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by ant:

he didn't seem to absorb it and laughed it off saying the girl dressed herself ha ha.
She could have died of hypothermia! I was just stunned.[/QB]
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by jimbo:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ant:

he didn't seem to absorb it and laughed it off saying the girl dressed herself ha ha.
She could have died of hypothermia! I was just stunned.
[/QB]</font>[/quote]Ant-As you stated, I continue to be stunned by some of these actions. Although the word stunned cannot even come close to how I felt. I will be forever stunned by what I saw and described at the beginning of this post. Can these people be so ignorant as to bring their children to a ski hill without the proper protective gear? Do they really not know? I also had a child student come to a lesson in blue jeans, no hat, no gloves, no goggles. It was 20 degrees, snowing and windy. I called his father over and very politley asked him to go down to the lodge and get him a hat and some gloves. This guy really did not know that he was putting his child in danger. I now bring extra gloves, goggles and some small hats, just in case someone comes alittle undressed. I can fix that. But I cannot fix a child's broken heart from an abusive parent. How can we educate parents as to how to take care of their children? Is it possible? Is there some sort of massive information campaign that can be done? Would it do any good? It is really any of my business?

As a result of these situations, I am learning some things. I am going to try to be more patient, with children especially. I will really try to listen more, not just listen with my ears, but with my mind as well. Most parents I see on the ski hill are really great with their kids. I just wish that there was something that I could do, legally, to change the attitude of the other small minority of parents.

Progress sometimes comes in small steps. Walking across the Grand Canyon can be done, but it has to be done one step at a time. I just hope that I, and all ski instructors, can continue to make small steps, and continue to be a positive influence on everyone we work with on the ski hill, especially children.
post #14 of 14
Don't let it eat into you, Jimbo. Remember, just as you helped that child, there are others the child will come into contact with, who will feel as you did, and help in whatever way they can. and each bit you and they do, will stay with the child. The mum will have good and bad days...and kids are a resilient lot.

at my Colorado resort, they had milk crates for all the lost and found stuff in kids ski school, divided into hats, gloves, neck warmers, eyewear etc.
And every day, we were delving in for things for the kids, but most often, it was goggles or sunglasses. which is pretty incredible...you only get one set of eyes, and being outside in teh snow eithout eye protection is a great way to start losing them. I made sure the kids understood about this...kids are great naggers!
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