Parent Guide: Families Working Together

Hello again from all of us at IDC! The competition season is in full swing, with the Junior Grand Prix series already wrapped up and Skate America about to start! For domestic events, six of the regional competitions have already finished, and with just three left, our eyes will soon turn to Sectionals. This month, we wanted to talk about how to navigate the relationship between the two families in the ice dance team. Of course, the central relationship is between the skaters, but the parents and immediate family can break or make that connection! Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as we inch our way towards Sectionals:

  • Divide and conquer- There is so much to figure out between flights, hotels, practice ice, coaching arrangements, etc for a competition. Assess each family’s strengths and divide up the administrative work of the team. Maybe someone is excellent at creating a color-coded schedule for the week, while the other always remembers that special food the skaters like to munch on between pattern dances. Share the work and trust each other!

  • Don’t keep score- This is important for the entire year and well, in life too. Partnerships are rarely even, but they should be fair. I’ve seen so many fights between parents when one feels that the other isn’t doing their part, despite the other’s full-time job and other children. Please, please remember that outside of skating, everyone has other obligations. Sometimes the work of the team will not be evenly divided, but it should be fair. Sometimes one parent has to do the bulk of the driving, while the other skater’s parent has to work; this is ok! Please be kind about each other’s situation and remember that you all have a shared goal. It will all balance out in the end.

  • Consider them your own- In my experience, the best partnerships have been the ones where the parents view their child’s partner as one of their own. Skaters spend so much of their time with their partner, and thus their partner’s family. One of the easiest ways to promote longevity in the team is to make the other child feel as comfortable with you as they would be at home. Then the long drives together or the sleepovers before early practice won’t feel so awkward! Ultimately, it will help strengthen the bond throughout the whole team which will create a better on-ice work ethic and connection between the skaters.