I came across a blog called The Dance Mom today that speaks directly to parents about how they can support and encourage their young dancer. One post has some great tips about how to best be a supportive parent of a dancer, without getting into studio politics or living vicariously through your child.
I would also add that it is a parent's responsibility to profile the credentials of the teachers at the studio or academy their child attends. I can not stress the importance of this enough. From sixth to 12th grade I attended a studio that did not have the most qualified teachers available. There I was taught improper placement and alignment, which I relearned while majoring in dance during my undergraduate study. If I had been taught properly in the first place, I would have not spent almost a year realigning my body, finding my natural turnout, etc., and could have focused more on improving my overall technique. I also attribute my two chronic injuries, a stress fracture in my lower back and snapping hip syndrome, directly to more than six years of study under teachers who only had studio experience and no knowledge of anatomy or strong ballet technique.
So parents, be careful about who your children study under, it could have long term effects.
Also, be sure to check out The Dance Mom's tips here.