Should a Parent Sacrifice Everything for a Child's Figure Skating Dream?

A Figure Skater Smiles After Winning a Medal
A Figure Skater Smiles After Winning a Medal. Jupiterimages / Stockbyte Collection / Getty Images

In June of 2015, About.com's Figure Skating's Expert, Jo Ann Schneider Farris, received the following letter from a figure skating parent:

Dear Jo Ann:

Greetings.

I read your articles regularly, and found the following articles very helpful: 

I am writing to get your personal advice for my eight year old daughter and myself.

My daughter was enjoying recreational roller skating, but it didn't make her all that excited, so we enrolled her in beginning group ice skating lessons about a year and a half ago. 

She has made amazing progress and is now in an Axel group lesson jumping class.  Also, for the past six months, she's had one thirty minute private ice skating lesson per week.   

My daughter's private lesson figure skating coach tells me that my daughter has talent and that I should give her more private lessons, more ice time, and add off-ice training to her schedule.  The coach also has told me that my daughter shows promise and could possibly become an Olympic figure skater.

I know it takes a lot of hard work to become a competitive figure skater and I also know that the cost is very expensive, but I'm not convinced that my daughter is really all that talented.

I've also come to the conclusion that to pay for my child's figure skating training, I might have to take a second loan against my house, but if I don’t give my daughter the opportunity to achieve her figure skating dream, I might regret it for the rest of my life. 

What should I do? 

Regards and thank you!

Scared Ice Skating Dad

Here's Jo Ann's reply:

Dear Scared Ice Skating Dad:

Thank you for writing.  Your questions show how much you love your child. 

It is also obvious that your daughter has a passion for figure skating, and from what you describe, she has made great progress after skating for only a year and a half.  

The following steps and suggestions may help you keep your child's figure skating dream alive without destroying you financially:

  • Tell your child's coach that you are behind your child's ice skating dream, but DO NOT take out a loan on your home or do anything drastic to finance figure skating.   
  • Don't focus on creating an Olympic figure skater; instead, set figure goals for your child that are realistic.
  • Competing in figure skating competitions and advancing through the figure skating test levels will give your child wonderful opportunities that she will take with her throughout life.
  • Continue to be the supportive figure skating parent you already are.

I do hope my suggestions help.   

Happy Skating!

JO ANN

-----------------
JO ANN Schneider Farris 
About.com's Figure Skating Expert
http://figureskating.about.com

About.com | Do more.

Further Reading: