Coaches: How do you deal with out of control PARENTS? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 03:54 AM Thread Starter
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Coaches: How do you deal with out of control PARENTS?

I'm sure many trainers deal with parents that are disruptive to lessons in various ways. Obviously you cannot control a parent but at the same time they shouldn't be allowed to create uncomfortable or potentially hazardous environments. So how have you handled sticky situations?
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 05:53 AM
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My coach can be a bit over-the-top about parents getting involved. He's great about my mum but I was in a group lesson with him at a PC rally and he stopped one of the girls to show her about half-halts. The mother thought he was adjusting the cheek pieces on the bridle and told him not to, and he went off at her. That said, my mum only gets involved to ask questions, it's up to S to know what he's doing. If he wasn't getting the results out of me and Monty, we wouldn't keep going back.
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by catsandhorses View Post
I'm sure many trainers deal with parents that are disruptive to lessons in various ways. Obviously you cannot control a parent but at the same time they shouldn't be allowed to create uncomfortable or potentially hazardous environments. So how have you handled sticky situations?
It depends on the situation, really. Are they bothering private lessons or group lessons? Is their presence unnecessarily distracting? Are they trying to teach the lesson?

I'm not a riding instructor, but I was a swimming instructor for several years and dealt with parents that would coddle their scared-to-swim kids, disrupt class, etc. Normally, I would just have a word with the parent and how their actions were disrupting class, distracting their kids, etc. But sometimes I would ask if they could sit in the parents waiting area -- located behind a glass wall where they could watch, but not speak.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 05:50 PM
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My trainer just always says an innocent little, "I'm the instuctor here". That usually quiets the parents. For a little while atleast.

"You're just as sane as I am."~Luna Lovegood.
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post #5 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 06:40 PM
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^ That. I have had one who was absolutely over the top. Worst letdown I've had giving lessons. Her daughter was very timid & nervous. She had been riding with me for quite some time & had started asking about having her own. Her mom asked me when she'd be ready. I told her the list of things I expected her to do on her own and the one left to conquer was canter comfortably. The very next lesson her mom let me know she wanted to try. I asked the girl and she wasn't ready at all. Then I had mom screaming "YOU CANTER NOW OR I'M DONE PAYING FOR LESSONS" This sent the poor girl into a hyperventilating crying fit that I couldn't talk her down from. I lost that student.

Life is like a camera. Focus on what's important, Capture the good times, Develop from the negatives and if things don't work out, Take another shot.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 07:40 PM
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First, parents were only allowed to watch one lesson in four. Second, they were allowed to watch from the vantage of the barn, not from the ring or from any distance that would allow them to coach from the sidelines.

By the time we got to competing, the parents and I were usually on the same wavelenglth. If not, they pretty quickly found another trainer.

I was very lucky, I had a program and a location that were in demand and had a waiting list. If parents didn't want do "get with the program" I could easily replace them with someone who did.

That said, I very much like Dejavu's trainer's method, as it's subtle but to the point. My less tactful version was something on the order or "You need to listen to your parents about doing your homework, your chores and your bedtime. You need to listen to me about your riding."
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 08:18 PM
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We are usually very forward with parents. We say "your child is here to learn and if I see them falling apart or being distracted, I will ask you to leave."

Some parents get very angry with us but at the end of the day, the difference in the child's demeanor after the lesson in comparison to before is worth its weight in gold and parents just accept that's the way we do things.

As a side note, I work with autistic children.. but parents are parents are parents :)
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 10:26 PM
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Generally I have always had very involved parents. My mother was very involved when I first began riding and it has been a huge help. I like to make sure they are comfortable around horses and understand what their children are doing.

However, when it comes to them trying to teach I am very upfront from day one. I explain where the parents are welcome to watch from, and if they have questions or concerns to only bring them up during breaks or after the lesson. I focus very much on the student, especially early on, keeping a dialog and their attention.

Maura I think I have said exactly what you say (I'm also pretty sure it was said to me very early on). And if I need to say it, I make sure the parent has heard me. I have only come to blows once with a overly pushy parent. She was bent on her child jumping when the child was barely comfortable cantering. I stood my ground and explained why a student needed the foundation her daughter was receiving and she would advance when I decided she was ready. They took her elsewhere, and that was just fine with me.... felt bad for the kid, she eventually got hurt.

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-01-2011, 11:21 PM
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I would watch my children's lessons 1st few times, just to make sure everything was safe & instructor was ok. After that, kids were on their own, they didn't watch my lessons, I didn't watch theirs, worked out well. MHF, that is sad, probably turned the child off from enjoying horses :(
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