Are You Good Enough...to Teach Your Kids?

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WHAT IT TAKES: Teaching your child to ski can be a recipe for conflict. Remember the old adage: "The family that skis together... fights a lot. Parents who live in ski country and are willing to sacrifice their own skiing pleasure often succeed. They're committed to "home-schooling their kids in the sport and can also find time for their own skiing enjoyment. Parents for whom slope-time is limited, however, often become frustrated by the hours it takes. They sometimes push too hard, and their kids end up hating the sport. Often it's best to leave teaching to the pros, though there are exceptions.

"Kids teach themselves, says former U.S. Ski Team racer Steve Lathrop, a father of five who now markets tools that help parents teach their tots (kids-ski.com). "Hang with them for safety's sake, but once they have a few basics, just let them go.

HOW TO GET THERE: If you are determined to teach your kids, training helps. Book a private lesson with a good children's instructor, but instead of working on your own skiing, learn tactics for teaching kids.

You'll hear plenty of stories ("Yep, she was rippin' Exterminator when she was 2!), but don't expect much until your child is 4. Most kids aren't strong enough until then. Many ski schools won't accept kids younger than 3. Allocate time when 100 percent of your attention is devoted to the child. Go slow, and when there's resistance (and there will be resistance), back off and keep it fun. And if parent-child conflict starts to boil over, do both a favor and enroll the child in ski school immediately. There are enough things in family life to fight over.