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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2009
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    438

    Default Trainers - What do you do when parents start "teaching" your lessons?

    I am posting this for my trainer because I know it bothers her and I want to get some ideas. It bothers me and it's not even my kid or horse!

    In any case when she is giving a lesson, some of the parents watching their kids will yell things out to them just like she does. It gets really old and I don't understand why they would hire a professional and then teach the lesson themselves!!! Most of them have never even been around horses before starting their kids riding.

    So, enough ranting, trainers, what do you do?
    "Be the change you want to see in the world."
    ~Mahatma Gandhi



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2005
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    1,447

    Default

    We actually have a lesson information sheet that parents have to sign. On it are some basic barn rules and a rule that says in effect, once the lesson begins, you need to be quiet or you may be asked to leave the lesson. Every once in a while I have to send out a group reminder email to parents but the infringers know who I'm talking to and they settle down.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2000
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    1,783

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    It is so unbelievable, isn't it? It is a dis of your professionalism... Would these same parents talk over the teacher in their child's classroom?

    Skyy's response is a great way to handle the overbearing
    parent.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2003
    Location
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Posts
    946

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    When I was still teaching, I had one parent do this one time. I nipped it in the bud by saying, "While I thank you for your interest in your child's lesson, I am a one woman show, and I need your child to pay attention to me." Because I knew that parent may or may not have gotten the hint, I started taking that child to the far end of the ring where we could work quietly. Parent was allowed to watch from the other end of the ring where there was a seating area.
    My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
    ReRiders Clique



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2004
    Location
    central New York State
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    2,845

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    I learned a lot time ago, teaching swimming to little tadpoles and overbearing parents, to be upfront with the parents. Don't announce it jus take them aside. Be honest, direct but also kind. This is their kid's time. If they want to take lessons have your trainer say she will try to accomodate them so they can have their time to learn and grow. Also, while we appreciate their intensity of effort for their child it is distracting to the lesson. They may be embarrassed for a moment but they'll get over it.

    Ironically, in all my years of teaching riding lessons, I have never once had this problem with a parent.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2009
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    2,651

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    I have a few that I have had to talk to. I just nicely tell them that it is confusing to the child to have others then me instruct them during their lessons, and that they are welcome to say good job and congrats at times, but if they can't let me do my job either they will have to not watch the lesson or will have to find another instructor as it is my job to make sure both horse and rider stay safe and learn and I can't do that with rail coaching (said nicer then rail coaching )
    Haven't had any leave yet over be told that.



  7. #7
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    Aug. 7, 2004
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    I am not at liberty to say
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberbay View Post
    It is so unbelievable, isn't it? It is a dis of your professionalism... Would these same parents talk over the teacher in their child's classroom?

    Skyy's response is a great way to handle the overbearing
    parent.
    Actually you'd be amazed what I've seen and heard via my mom's experiences IN the classroom... why some parents deem themselves unofficial (and unjustified) experts on American Southern literature (as an example), I don't know. I have also had a number of parents want to stay for their kids' SAT/ACT tutoring, which I just put my foot down on. As my mom says, a lot of kids are perfectly fine, smart even--it's the parents that are problem!

    Back to riding lessons, when I was a junior we had a similar problem crop up, and a mass email was sent out explaining it was confusing for the kids to hear more than one person coaching, it was disrespectful, it was distracting, etc. In all honesty, it was really just a couple moms out of the whole barn that were bad about it, but the email served as a nice reminder to everyone, and there was no singled-out shaming.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,292

    Default

    Just want to chime in a bit from the other side. Mind you, I only teach a student or two at a time, but I encourage the parents to participate. For example, when I'm having a student learning how to lengthen and shorten, I'll have the parent count the strides or with a student learning to jump, I'll have the parent help set the fences and walk the line. I've never had a parent try to 'take over' a lesson, so I haven't had a negative experience doing it this way. If anything, I think some of the parents would appreciate being more able to sit on the sidelines.

    As a parent, when my kids took music lessons, I always appreciated the instructors who explained what they were teaching , so I guess I'm coming at it a little that way.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
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    7,338

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    Quote Originally Posted by Come Shine View Post
    Just want to chime in a bit from the other side. Mind you, I only teach a student or two at a time, but I encourage the parents to participate. For example, when I'm having a student learning how to lengthen and shorten, I'll have the parent count the strides or with a student learning to jump, I'll have the parent help set the fences and walk the line. I've never had a parent try to 'take over' a lesson, so I haven't had a negative experience doing it this way. If anything, I think some of the parents would appreciate being more able to sit on the sidelines.

    As a parent, when my kids took music lessons, I always appreciated the instructors who explained what they were teaching , so I guess I'm coming at it a little that way.
    I like this approach, it is nice to involve parents in some way. Many are just curious and or interested.

    I'm nowhere near as experienced as most on this board, and am pretty much your average joe rider.... except that I teach about 8-10 lessons to beginner riders each weekend at a very nice facility with a legit H/J program. The rule at our place is that parents are not allowed in the ring at all due to liability issues. (Whether that is really for liability, or just to keep them out of the ring, I am not sure, lol.)

    All of the parents are very respectful of the dynamic, though I do have one that sometimes coaches her daughter from the sideline. It comes more out of the fact that mom had a horse her whole life, and misses him and riding, so I don't pay much attention. If it gets annoying, I find an excuse to take the kid to the other end of the ring.

    Frankly I try to make friends with the parents. They are entrusting their kid to me and our program, they are paying good money for the lesson, and they are generally very respectful. I have grown to like many of them quite a lot and as a parent myself, I know I would appreciate having a friendly dialogue with my kids' instructor.

    If you have to address the issue, I would do so in as diplomatic a manner as possible. Pissing the parent off is going to get you nowhere fast, as they are the one paying the bills.
    Last edited by FlashGordon; Nov. 19, 2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: Clarification of status, geez.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
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    I am insanely guilty of this! In my case it isn't so much that I think I know more than the trainer, it's just that I can see that my child isn't doing what the trainer said so I remind her to listen and pay attention. I am sure it gets annoying but I do try to hold my tongue as much as I can.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2007
    Location
    Michigan
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    10,269

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    Funny, at the dance competition this week we had some juniors in the same heats (different events) and my pro and I were commenting on the looming Russian mothers in the practice room (seriously, like a foot away from their warming-up children) and while we both admitted to the POTENTIAL to be stage parents ourselves (me of hypothetical kids who'd be plunked on ponies before they were old enough to argue, him of his actual boys in whatever sports they do) I even SAID, I was glad my mom and dad had always viewed it as "We're paying your trainers to teach you to ride" and just watched. Never hesitated to do stuff like volunteer for Fair week (4H dads get LOTS of practice setting up dressage rings and jumps) but no nagging, even when I wasn't riding for a lesson.

    See, I KNOW better, but if I ever have children half the reason will be "EXCUSE FOR PONIES!" They're riding if they like it or not.



  12. #12
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    Dec. 4, 2002
    Location
    Alpharetta, GA
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    "I'm nowhere near as experienced as most on this board, and am pretty much your average joe adult ammie.... except that I teach about 8-10 lessons to beginner riders each weekend at a very nice facility with a legit H/J program. "

    Um, may I point out that you may have a problem here?

    Back to the subject at hand: Can't stand over involved parents. I've found that the students that really get it, that really work hard are self motivated. The "helpful" parent that repeats my instructions, thrusts the water bottle into the ring and jumps every jump needs to take a chill pill and let the kid have a little space. I don't permit ringside coaching. Sometimes it takes a while, but most parents can learn to back off with patient training, repetition and positive reinforcement. Oh wait, or is that horse training?


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 22, 2005
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    Where it is perpetually winter
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlashGordon View Post
    I'm nowhere near as experienced as most on this board, and am pretty much your average joe adult ammie.... except that I teach about 8-10 lessons to beginner riders each weekend at a very nice facility with a legit H/J program. The rule at our place is that parents are not allowed in the ring at all due to liability issues. (Whether that is really for liability, or just to keep them out of the ring, I am not sure, lol.)
    Um..

    I see JSalem has already mentioned this as well.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    16,525

    Default

    I have a specific clause in my Lesson Agreement that says:

    Attending parents/guardians will not interfere with any lesson or “help” the student in their required tasks. (If the parent wishes to participate in part of a lesson [i.e., grooming], a $10 Learner Fee will be charged.)

    NOTE
    : Parents/guardians are more than welcome to watch the lesson. However, viewers are expected to remain silent. Failure to abide by this rule, will result in only one courtesy warning by the Instructor. Repeated violation will result in the viewer being restricted to a lawn chair in the tack room, with a book/magazine and the radio.

    The agreement must be read & signed by anyone wanting to lesson. This way everyone knows what's expected so there's no confusion or misunderstanding.
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- "When they try to tell you these are your Golden years, don't believe 'em.... It's rust."



  15. #15
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    Apr. 10, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jsalem View Post
    "I'm nowhere near as experienced as most on this board, and am pretty much your average joe adult ammie.... except that I teach about 8-10 lessons to beginner riders each weekend at a very nice facility with a legit H/J program. "

    Um, may I point out that you may have a problem here?
    Well, obviously I am considered a pro.... was just making the point that I am just an average joe rider and have limited experience teaching, so my opinion is perhaps not as interesting or important as others on here with more experience!

    And FWIW, I don't show, not that it matters.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  16. #16
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    Jan. 27, 2008
    Posts
    257

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    I am now the silent parent but have been known to occasionally quietly say "diagonal" when my daughter passed. Why would a trainer allow several passes on the wrong diagonal? A well sorry to all our past trainers. For the most part I tried to stay quiet and help set jumps! At show I was in another county from the in gate. My job was to take pictures and keep quiet!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 29, 2006
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    3,292

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    If you want parents to stay out of the lesson entirely, don't have any seating in the arena. Have a heated viewing area upstairs with comfy chairs and a speaker so they can hear what is going on. Lots of barns designed like that.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr. 12, 2002
    Location
    Former Long Islander now in the middle of the Great Lakes
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    If I had a parent who was constantly coaching a student from the side lines , the first thing I'd ask MYSELF is what am I missing.. Does this parent feel I am not giving their child enough attention, do they feel I am missing mistakes the child is making and therefore feel a need to correct them because I am not? SO the first thing I would do is take the parent aside and ask " I belIeve you might look for another instructor as your actions suggest that you find my teaching methods less then sufficient for your childs needs". but I would also ask myself if I'm truely giving their child the attention they need in a group lesson. If not, I might suggest a private lesson.



  19. #19
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    Mar. 19, 2008
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    We have a rule that parents are not allowed to watch lessons from the ingate. Once lesson is in progress no one is allowed to be in the ring unmounted besides the instructor. These may be my favorite barn rules of all time. Cuts down a lot on the unsolicited parent advice.

    I rarely have to speak to parents about coaching from the sidelines, but I will on occasion take them aside and remind them that it's distracting for the riders if there's chit-chat on the outside of the ring.

    I'm happy to chat with parents before or after a lesson, and will answer any questions they may have.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 1, 2007
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    West Palm Beach, FL
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    So grateful that I had non-horsey parents who couldn't deal with watching me ride (especially as the jumps got higher) because I never had to deal with this stuff. My dad would come out on occasion, and the worst thing he'd ever do was cluck at my horse...a few dirty looks from up in the saddle nipped that in the bud!

    On a related note - if they're going to make all these "Dance Moms" shows, I think there should definitely be a "Horse Show Moms" reality show. It would be so catty and fantastic!!!
    "I enjoy this motorcade and will recommend it to my niece."


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