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Special Snowflake Syndrome

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  • Special Snowflake Syndrome

    Although I currently only train horses, I used to teach beginner/intermediate lessons at my barn. I was mainly teaching children, but sometimes I would have the occasional adult who's lesson got canceled for whatever reason. Today I'm talking about a growing "syndrome" that i've noticed among clients; the Special Snowflake Syndrome...

    Basically "Special Snowflake Syndrome" is when the parent is CONVINCED that their child is "special" and "gifted" despite them being average. They think their child is the next Beezie Madden, and if their child didn't win first place its not because their leg was to far forward or because they picked up the wrong lead; it's because they judges are "mean" or "can't see how good of a rider my child is."
    On the flip side we have the child with this syndrome; basically this kid thinks they're the best thing since sliced bread. The classic "its always the horses fault" type of the kid, the type who can't groom their horse because they feel "kind of tired today."

    I remember an encounter I had, I was teaching this one girl who was an "advanced beginner," she was starting to learn the basics of jumping and pretty much had the walk/trot/canter thing down and could control each gait, just she didn't look the prettiest per say. Anyways, I wanted to have this kid jumping small combinations of cross rails by the end of the season (it was near the end of September at the time). For the past few lessons we had been doing some "courses" of poles, working on jumping position and mechanics of jumping, and started trotting some TINY cross rails.
    We were having a lesson, during which one of the teenagers who leased a horse was just practice riding and jumping around 3'3 jumps (appropriate for her level as this girl showed 3'6), she was very polite and stayed out of our way. Anyways, the little girl (lets call her Suzie) see's this and starts throwing a fit because she wants to jump that high, I calmly explain how she's not ready, but she continues to cry and throw fits, eventually she literally stops the lesson pony she was riding, gets off, and storms out of the arena.
    I was shocked to say the least...
    I make Suzie come back and put away the pony, when her mom comes to pick her up; I explain what happened and how this behaviour is unacceptable. Her mom goes off on me telling me how "I'm holding her daughter back" and how "I'm being mean" and "hurting her daughter's feelings and self esteem" and how she's going to tell the BO (my boss) and have me fired, and then sue me for emotional damage to her daughter.

    Needless to say the BO told them to find a new barn and I never ended up getting sued...

    But parents/kids like this ANNOY me, you are no entitled to anything because you're "special," nobody learns to ride one day and the next starts jumping 4ft courses with perfect EQ... Yes some children are naturally better at riding then others, but this girl was not the case, and this does not mean they get to skip the basics.

    So, anyone have their own experiences with "Special Snowflakes" they would care to share?

    *EDIT*
    These types of people have always existed everywhere, its just recently i've noticed an astonishing amount. Also, about the teenage girl I mentioned, our barn has a very strict jumping policy and she was following it. I went into detail in another post somewhere on this page if you want to see.
    Last edited by lovetheride; Mar. 21, 2017, 05:08 PM.

  • #2
    My fav was the time we got a new boarder in who arrived and promptly dumped like 10 trunks in the -middle- of the tack room floor. And left them there. And then got butt hurt when I arranged them so I could actually walk in my tack room without bashing my shins. I have about 500 more stories, I'll have to try and remember them all
    "I think animal testing is a terrible idea, they get all nervous and give silly answers."
    -fry & laurie

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    • #3
      It is the norm, anymore. When I actually DO see a well behaved child, I make sure to tell them how much I appreciate their behavior.

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      • #4
        I have a horse that is a special snowflake.

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        • #5
          I've seen some, maybe not as bad as crying and storming off, but kids (and even adult students) that don't do much to care for their horse/pony, don't clean their tack or even put it away sometimes.

          There were the two girls who shared trainer's pony over a two day dressage show. Mary showed pony in two classes Sat and Lucy in two classes on Sun. Mary did a nice job riding in her first "real" show (non-schooling show) and placed respectably in moderately sized classes. She took care of her pony and pitched in helping others showing over the weekend. Lucy flounced in, let Mary and Lucy's Mom get pony ready for her, piloted perfect pony around the test without really doing anything - I have seen her ride much better. In one of the classes Lucy was the only entry so she got a blue ribbon. And yes, she ran around bragging on that ribbon to everyone in attendance, all while Mary untacked and hosed off the pony. I had to tell Lucy to put down the ribbon and fill her pony's water buckets!

          But it isn't just horse kids. I fear lots of kids are like this - at school, at different sports, everywhere, really. Sometimes I get really worried for our future. Luckily I do know lots of kids like Mary, too. Kids who try really hard, want to learn and are respectful are out there. And like Nezzy, I try to thank the kid and the parent.

          "Don't go in the arena without your sense of self, or your sense of humour" ~Foxtrot's

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          • #6
            we had that Snow Flake kid, our trainer told us "we could not afford our daughter as she could ride much better than the horses we could afford ". she was the natural rider,... so we left her in Kentucky to do catch rides

            but then there are those that are just bad, there was one show in early 70s the judge refused to award a blue ribbon as all the riders were terrible

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            • #7
              Bravo to that judge. That's the way it used to be done.
              Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

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              • #8
                I was advertising my pony for part lease (a 14hh STRONG morgan/haflinger), said specifically he was available for PART LEASE (up to 3 days/week) and NOT for kids due to his build and tendency to tank. Intentionally didn't advertise his height because while he sticks at 14hh he rides like something in the area of 15-15.2, and adults tend to shy away from his size, but it of course attracts all the parents with young children.

                Had someone respond to the ad, demanding I sell Pony to them for their 3, 5, and 9 year old kids who "just think he's the cutest". *facepalm* I of course reiterated that he is not a kids' mount and that he is NOT for sale. Got an abusive response going off about how I've "ruined the kids' lives" because they were "sooooo excited to be getting a pony and learning to ride" and blah blah blah. Ugh.


                BO recently booted out two boarders who had NO respect for other riders, would SCREAM at anyone who helps with chores if there was a) too many poo crumbs left in the paddock or b) too much hogfuel removed from the paddock, they'd book the ring for a lesson (we don't get to book the ring and have it closed to other riders, except for me when I have a driving lesson but that is due to safety issues and I make sure to book during the day when everyone is at work or school so as not to inconvenience the other boarders, but if we mark our lesson on the lesson board, we get priority and other riders need to stay out of our way if they choose to ride at the same time) and then their coach "wouldn't show up" (in other words, they'd book it just to try to stop anyone from riding with them) and then they'd scream at anyone who tried to ride at the same time, but then if any of us had a lesson the girls would invade our space and cut us off and just be right twits (for example, I was on a 15m circle at one end of our HUGE ring, taking up less than 1/4 of the ring, and the girls were cutting through my circle and then throwing a fit when my coach at the time tore a strip off them for it). I know I'm calling them girls, but they're well into their 20s. They're just spoiled brats. Nobody was sad to see them go, that's for sure!
                Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
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                • #9
                  Wait 'till you meet all the very special snowflakes at the dog park.

                  I think the special snowflake syndrome started when the kindergarten decided every kid needs a prize for everything because otherwise their self-esteem will be stunted.

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                  • #10
                    Sounds like the OP may be a special snowflake, joining COTH and shortly thereafter starting this negative thread. I really love threads where everyone judges other people. Hey, does that make me a special snowflake?
                    Last edited by kcmel; Mar. 20, 2017, 08:44 PM. Reason: clarify

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                      Sounds like the OP may be a special snowflake, joining COTH and shortly thereafter starting this negative thread. I really love threads where everyone judges other people. Hey, does that make me a special snowflake?
                      'S ok, today is the first day of spring, no more winter, no more snowflakes now until next year, special or not, you are safe.

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                      • #12
                        I teach college. Every other student is a 'special snowflake' these days. But yes, I think somehow it's more prevalent in the horse world than in anything else - I've been riding for more than 30 years and I've seen some doozies.

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                        • #13
                          I saw as many 30 years ago as today. They just have "come out" lately and it's become socially acceptable to expect the corner office and an immediate 6 figure salary with 6 weeks vacation your first year and need an emotional support animal to overcome their devastation. The word "No" seems to be unacceptable so those snowflakes don't melt like they used to in the real world. But the attitude is nothing new at all.
                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                            Sounds like the OP may be a special snowflake, joining COTH and shortly thereafter starting this negative thread. I really love threads where everyone judges other people. Hey, does that make me a special snowflake?
                            I smelled the BS when the teenage 3'6" rider was jumping 3'3" for "practice" without a trainer. This just isn't done at any kind of reputable barn actually capable of producing a teenager competitive over that height. And if it is, I'm sure their insurance company would be interested in knowing about it.

                            ​​​​​There have always been entitled people and always people complaining about "kids these days!". The world isn't crumbling. Millenials aren't coming into your house to knot your shoestrings and use all your toilet paper. Calm down.

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                            • #15
                              For a positive spin, I'd like to give a shout out to my nieces (or really my sister). They are polite, beyond kind, helpful, caring etc etc etc. I remember playing with them as young as 4-5-6 years old and having them stop and offer/insist that it was my turn to play with their toy. Even on their birthdays or x-mas. They love to come play with the horses, and I give them the chance to ride whenever I have access to a safe horse. But they seem to find grooming (especially when they find itchy spots), feeding, watering, and hand grazing, to be just as fun as riding. And, they're 12 and 13, which frankly, IMO is the worst possible age to be.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I wish parents knew how detrimental this type of thinking toward their children can be. When I was in elementary school, my parents constantly told me how smart I was. I learned to read very early, got sent to accelerated reading classes, and generally did very well in school, as it was pretty easy for me. Because I constantly heard how smart and advanced I was, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. It was an incredibly painful lesson for me to learn a little later in life (high school and college) when I met with classes I couldn't keep up with, and professors who didn't recognize how incredibly special I was. I had to learn that I am just an average, normal person, who is good at some things and not at others, and I am in no way special or extraordinary, and I have to work hard just like everyone else. I think I would have been so much better off had my parents not lavished praise on me early on, and instead focused on installing a work ethic. I've tried very hard to correct this in myself, but it is not always easy.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by MojitoMare View Post
                                  I wish parents knew how detrimental this type of thinking toward their children can be. When I was in elementary school, my parents constantly told me how smart I was. I learned to read very early, got sent to accelerated reading classes, and generally did very well in school, as it was pretty easy for me. Because I constantly heard how smart and advanced I was, I thought I was pretty hot stuff. It was an incredibly painful lesson for me to learn a little later in life (high school and college) when I met with classes I couldn't keep up with, and professors who didn't recognize how incredibly special I was. I had to learn that I am just an average, normal person, who is good at some things and not at others, and I am in no way special or extraordinary, and I have to work hard just like everyone else. I think I would have been so much better off had my parents not lavished praise on me early on, and instead focused on installing a work ethic. I've tried very hard to correct this in myself, but it is not always easy.
                                  This is my fear for the kids raised this way: that they have been set up to face a very painful lesson someday and some of them won't be able to learn it. It makes me quite angry with the parents for having done that to their kids.
                                  No matter where you go, there you are

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by abrant View Post
                                    The world isn't crumbling. Millenials aren't coming into your house to knot your shoestrings and use all your toilet paper. Calm down.
                                    So it IS the faeries! Hubby kept saying, "No, CH; there's no such thing. It's special snowflake millenials messing with your shoestrings and using up all the toilet paper." Hah! I knew no millenial would trek all the way up our long driveway! Can't wait to rub hubby's nose in it.

                                    ETA: I actually have a pretty positive impression of millenials. I'm closer to 50 than 40, solidly in GenX, but the 18-35yos that I've worked with in professional or volunteer positions or that I know socially are thoughtful, passionate, hard-working folks, not really so different from us old-fogies. Many have an idealism that I admire (and miss a little bit in my jaded self), as well.
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                                    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
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                                    • #19
                                      I often wonder if some of those who post about how bad some kid ride and how poorly they are raised have their own kids? Little too much judgy pants going on in some of these posts that complain about how bad others ride or whatever. Hint of superiority to those around them or those they teach while representing themselves as as professionals too.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                                      • #20
                                        Snowflakes have been around since ... well... forever. Did you not watch Little House on the Prairie at all?

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