AIBU to not want my son to do a class I can't observe?

(181 Posts)
RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 10:54:45

My DS4 is obsessed with martial arts. I found what appears to be a great Karate school which does classes for 3-12 year olds and looks really good. Only thing is they say parents can't observe the classes, not even the free trial class. They said it's to develop self-esteem and protect the privacy of all students.

Problem is, I feel uncomfortable just taking my shy 4-year-old along and sending him in along for an hour without me ever having met these teachers, not knowing this school, etc. These people are total strangers to me. AIBU? Am I being overprotective? I know we essentially do the same thing at normal school, but at school there are many adults, oversight, etc. at this karate school it's a couple who run it and teach groups of 4 kids at a time.

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Chamomileteaplease Wed 28-Jul-21 10:58:32

I agree. I think it would be reasonable to be able to watch at least the first trial session. Whatever his age but especially as he is only four!

Seainasive Wed 28-Jul-21 10:59:02

Would seeing evidence of their qualifications and DBS certificates make you feel better? They should be happy to show you these. If they are not, take your DS elsewhere.

ChainJane Wed 28-Jul-21 11:00:35

You are right and wrong at the same time. Wrong because it's not good to have parents watching because it puts pressure on the children. Right because obviously the setup could be a front for child abuse or grooming. Personally I'd walk away and try to find another class, it's not worth the risk.

RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 11:03:26

ChainJane

You are right and wrong at the same time. Wrong because it's not good to have parents watching because it puts pressure on the children. Right because obviously the setup could be a front for child abuse or grooming. Personally I'd walk away and try to find another class, it's not worth the risk.

That was my feeling. I know their reasoning is actually sound, but at the same time I just don't like the idea of dropping him off and never seeing inside or what's going on. Even if the chance of it being anything untoward is tiny, it feels off to me.

I will try to find out about certificates and DBS stuff as a PP mentioned. I'm not in the UK so I have to see if that stuff exists here.

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GreenWillow Wed 28-Jul-21 11:03:37

Seainasive

Would seeing evidence of their qualifications and DBS certificates make you feel better? They should be happy to show you these. If they are not, take your DS elsewhere.

All a dbs proves is that a person has never been caught. It’s not a guarantee.

I can also see both sides of it, but it has to be said, if your DC is shy, martial arts are an excellent tool to build confidence and self esteem.

RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 11:04:44

ChainJane

You are right and wrong at the same time. Wrong because it's not good to have parents watching because it puts pressure on the children. Right because obviously the setup could be a front for child abuse or grooming. Personally I'd walk away and try to find another class, it's not worth the risk.

Also based on this, what should I be looking for in a class then? One that lets me watch at first and then not? Since one that lets parents watch is probably not great, but one that never lets parents watch is not great either!

So hard to figure it all out.

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Ghosttile Wed 28-Jul-21 11:04:46

I wouldn’t like to send a 4 year old into a class on their own without seeing how the teachers interact with the pupils. I understand why they want no parents there but for a shy 4 year old? I might try him somewhere else, where you can stay, and then look at this place again in a couple of years.

EmeraldShamrock Wed 28-Jul-21 11:04:52

He might be okay alone.

RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 11:06:08

I can also see both sides of it, but it has to be said, if your DC is shy, martial arts are an excellent tool to build confidence and self esteem.

Exactly! His father did it as a child and loved it and it's the one thing my DS has a passion for, so I really want it to work and the school does look great on its website.

But there are others around, not as great looking but still, there are alternatives. I'm just not sure what I SHOULD be looking for in terms of the access they allow me.

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Erysimium Wed 28-Jul-21 11:06:29

My mum sent me to a group as a child. The organiser was taking the money and ticking the register, then as soon as the parents left she buggered off and left the kids alone in the hall for 2hrs. I wouldn’t send a child unsupervised unless they were big enough to tell on the teacher.

BluebirdHill Wed 28-Jul-21 11:06:41

My DS started at a martial arts class at a similar age and they have been great at building self esteem, yet sessions are always open to parents to be present. I would look for another class. Ask for recommendations from parents you know.

pleasedonttextmyman Wed 28-Jul-21 11:06:47

Very wrong, it's not normal.

It's one thing to have a private gradings, but not allowing the parents for at the very least the trial session is not right.

You are also entitled to make your own mind on a specific karate class, there are good and bad, and it's up to you as parent to be able to judge how the classes are run.

finova Wed 28-Jul-21 11:06:53

I wouldn’t like the lack of flexibility. I think they should let you stay for at least half of the 1st class. I’d be inclined to look at a different provider.

Laquila Wed 28-Jul-21 11:08:24

My kids do taekwondo and parents stay for the 4-8yrs group, but can choose whether to stay for the 8yrs+ ones. Personally I'd be happy to leave my kids with the fantastic instructor but I probably wouldn't have been had I not observed a few classes first.

Hard to say whether parents being there affects the kids but I think they'd probably be more focused without parents, to be honest.

mumofone2019 Wed 28-Jul-21 11:08:53

My DD did martial arts for several years and trained in lots of different clubs, we are in the UK but she has also trained in other countries when competing and we were always able to watch classes.
She is older and does other sports now where parents dont watch but I think with martial arts, I would be wanting to be able to watch at first, not only to see if my child enjoys the class but to also see how they handle safety aspects and deal with the class a a whole.

Viviennemary Wed 28-Jul-21 11:09:18

If you dont feel comfortable then find a different class. Four is a bit young to br left but I can't blame them for not wanting to accommodate hoards of parent spectators.

Geamhradh Wed 28-Jul-21 11:09:37

Surely you'd be just outside if he were to become distressed or have any major issues?
DD started ballet when she was 4. All the parents stayed. Bloody nightmare between kids running to their mums, mums intervening during the class. She started volleyball a year later and didn't know anyone. I took her for the trial lesson, said to the guy, she's on her own and quite shy, and I'll be outside here's my number.

fabulousathome Wed 28-Jul-21 11:10:12

I wouldn't let him attend that class. Look around for another one that's more open.

At least letting you watch a trial lesson or peak through a window.

Maybe he is just too young to start?

LtDansleg Wed 28-Jul-21 11:10:19

They do better alone than if their parents are watching. They listen to the teacher rather than look to their parents. My dc all attend martial arts and dance classes where I’m not allowed to watch, they all love them. There was one ballet class my dd went to when she was 3 where she said she didn’t want to go back because the teacher was shouty and she didn’t like her, so I didn’t take her back to that one. I’m a little shocked at some of these replies that if you’re not allowed to watch the classes then they must be abusing the kids 🙄

RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 11:10:31

Thanks everyone. Seems like I was right to trust my gut. I just feel bad cos he's so shy, scared of normal school, but desperate to do martial arts. I even asked if he'd do go in on his own and he said yes, which he'd never do for anything else. So I'm stuck between my gut feeling that it's wrong, and my desire to give him something he wants and I know will be great for him. But if there were something untoward about the teaching couple who run it, it would be the opposite and I'd never forgive myself.

There are other smaller groups around my town, so I'll contact them and see if they are set up differently.

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AtticusHoysAnus Wed 28-Jul-21 11:12:22

I wouldn't have that.

Sounds like a load of bollocks, it should be transparent.

But good on him and you. It'll develop confidence and discipline.
Plus he'll be able to kick the fuck out of bullies which is always fun.

pleasedonttextmyman Wed 28-Jul-21 11:14:07

With a 4 yo, you'd have to be standing outside anyway, and be there in case of tears, need for the toilets etc...

So not letting you watch to start is just bizarre.

mumofone2019 Wed 28-Jul-21 11:14:57

LtDansleg

They do better alone than if their parents are watching. They listen to the teacher rather than look to their parents. My dc all attend martial arts and dance classes where I’m not allowed to watch, they all love them. There was one ballet class my dd went to when she was 3 where she said she didn’t want to go back because the teacher was shouty and she didn’t like her, so I didn’t take her back to that one. I’m a little shocked at some of these replies that if you’re not allowed to watch the classes then they must be abusing the kids 🙄


It doesnt automatically mean abuse at all but unfortunately there are quite a few stories particularly in martial arts, some at high levels, so I would always rather be overly cautious especially after learning some of the things I have in more recent years.
One of the easiest things you can do is be present in classes to prevent these things.

RainyNightInTallinn Wed 28-Jul-21 11:15:11

Geamhradh

Surely you'd be just outside if he were to become distressed or have any major issues?
DD started ballet when she was 4. All the parents stayed. Bloody nightmare between kids running to their mums, mums intervening during the class. She started volleyball a year later and didn't know anyone. I took her for the trial lesson, said to the guy, she's on her own and quite shy, and I'll be outside here's my number.

Yeah, it's not really that I'm worried about. Like you said, I'd be right outside. It's more my gut feeling that I've NEVER met these people, never seen how they interact with the kids, etc. and I'd never be able to. I know the whole "not everyone is an abuser" thing, but it just feels off to me. I WANT him to be able to go in alone and develop more confidence, and listen to the teacher and not me, etc. but I'd also like to be able to at least watch his trial session so I can feel more at ease about these people who are total strangers to me right now.

This was good to get an idea of if it's normal or not, too. Most replies have said parents can watch if they want at most places in the UK.

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