It’s a question in the back of most parents’ minds. In a family
lesson, where does the teaching end and parenting begin?
Deciphering roles can sometimes be difficult. If a child throws a
tantrum, who should intervene; the instructor or parent?
Answering these questions depends on the circumstance.
Often, a parent might try to push his or her child too hard, or
in a direction contrary to what’s being taught. “That’s where
the instructor needs to intervene,” said PSIA-AASI Professional
Development Manager Earl Saline. “Parents need to let the
instructor manage the lesson.” He added that parents who try
to coach also make things more difficult; parents shouldn’t
constantly interject their opinions or otherwise distract their
children. “When that happens the child doesn’t know who she’s
supposed to listen to,” he said. “The parent needs to let go and
support what the instructor is trying to do.”
There is a role for parents, however, when it comes to
discipline and respect. If a child is misbehaving and the
instructor can’t correct the behavior, it’s fine for the parent to
step in. “Parents need to give the instructor some parenting
authority, but if it’s not working it’s okay for them to be that
authority figure,” he said. The same holds true for safety, he
added. If the child is careening out of control, a parent can step
in to mitigate matters.
But for the most part, he advises parents to leave the lesson
up to the instructor. “It’s like taking your child to Little League
practice,” he said. “You have to let the coach do his or her job.”
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