Should you tell your child.. - Page 4 - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-19-2007, 09:37 PM
 
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I wouldn't tell them they were BAD at it, but I also wouldn't give them false hope by complimenting their talents, etc.
ITA
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:39 PM
 
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I disagree wholeheartedly. I had toyed with the idea of being a music major in college, though at a less prestigious school and closer to home. That changed after my senior year all-state auditions. I was prepared and was certainly talented enough. I came out of the prepared room with the highest score.Then I went into sight-reading and choked. I ended up not making the all-state band by 14 points (out of a possible 3000). I wascrushed and spent a good week crying about it. That was the turning point for me,and I decided how much I enjoyed it, I didn't want to have to deal with the auditions and competition and rejection for the rest of my life.
So should your parents have told you that your sight reading wasn't good enough?? Should you have not auditioned?
I don't understand your point, but perhaps my exhaustion is to blame.
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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So should your parents have told you that your sight reading wasn't good enough?? Should you have not auditioned?
I don't understand your point, but perhaps my exhaustion is to blame.
By point was that you said that someone that loves music and auditions to Julliard and doesn't get accepted won't be crushed. I disagree. My parents are/were musically clueless (my mom can't even find the beat while listening to a march), so they're opinion wouldn't have mattered. However, it would have been nice to be prepared to deal with the rejection. Even though the judges were nice, I wasn't prepared to handle failing at something. And no, I wasn't constantly praised as a child.
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Old 01-19-2007, 10:56 PM
 
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I'd offer to pay for lessons, so that they could maximize their ability.
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:03 PM
 
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By point was that you said that someone that loves music and auditions to Julliard and doesn't get accepted won't be crushed. I disagree.
But not crushed enough to give up something that they love. In your case, your parents could not have prepared you (besides sight reading specific lessons maybe) for failing at an audition. Rejection is part of life experience.

I'm not sure parents can prepare a child for failure without crushing their spirit. I guess it also depends on the age of the child.
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:18 AM
 
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Depending on the age of the child--I wouldn't tell my 3 yr old singing and dancing around the living room, "honey, you can't sing worth a darn and your attempts are painful to listen to," but neither would I encourage a vocally-challenged teenager to go on American Idol and tell her that she was going to be famous. I do strongly believe that parents should be honest with themselves, if diplomatic with their children, about their children's strengths and weaknesses, rather than falling into the "my baby is good at everything" mindset. I think, at a certain point, kids really need honest feedback about their abilities, and parents need to recognize this if only so that they can better provide help with problem areas and/or gentle guidance towards more appropriate paths, as the situation may dictate. My parents tended to take a "my baby is good at everything" attitude (or, to the extent they acknowledged my lack of aptitude for certain skills, it was only because I was a misunderstood genius and so it wouldn't make any difference anyway), and, while I am incredibly grateful for their open-minded confidence, I think I would have benefited at least from more recognition that some areas were not for me.

What I'm saying, I guess, is that, while I wouldn't criticize a child's performance, if my kid could see that her natural abilities weren't in a certain area, I wouldn't deny her reality or give her false hope by saying "No, you're really good! You can do anything if you put your mind to it!"
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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Have you ever listened to Bruce Springsteen or Paula Abdul, for that matter? The first can't sing at all, but he's still great to listen to. Paula Abdul is like nails on a chalk board, to me. Yuck! I bet her parents never told her that, and I don't think it was their business to do so.

I was an awful singer as a child, but, with practice, I sing passably well. I'm glad my parents did shut me down telling me I wasn't very good.
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:48 PM
 
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How does one's psyche get built up with false expectations like that? It's really fascinating to me.
By the time we see contestants on AI, at least, they've already been through something like two or three pre-screen auditions with other producers. The judges only end up seeing something like 10% of the original auditioners, maybe fewer - the producers screen for the really good singers and the people who will make "good tv." (read: the crazy ones who will embarass themselves and curse at the judges, that the show can make fun of for weeks and weeks).

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These “contestants” have been selected by the preliminary panels in a negative sense, a typical combination is lack of singing ability combined with vanity regarding their “talent.” Others are selected for human interest potential, the 2005 auditions featured a “cannibal” who had sampled human flesh in an anthropology class and an aspiring female prize fighter.
(from "All About American Idol")

So by the time we see them, these poor talentless kids have already been followed by cameras and given interview profiles, been invited back for more than one audition, and probably been buttered up by the producers to think they're a shoo-in to go to Hollywood. Why shouldn't they be confident? They're built up just so that they can be broken down for our entertainment - it's bread and circuses entertainment, like the gladiators in Ancient Rome.

That doesn't excuse the parents who really should know better, but it at least explains some of the ridiculous cockiness.

And of course, I still can't help watching the darn show.
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Old 01-21-2007, 04:19 PM
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By point was that you said that someone that loves music and auditions to Julliard and doesn't get accepted won't be crushed. I disagree. My parents are/were musically clueless (my mom can't even find the beat while listening to a march), so they're opinion wouldn't have mattered. However, it would have been nice to be prepared to deal with the rejection. Even though the judges were nice, I wasn't prepared to handle failing at something. And no, I wasn't constantly praised as a child.
Imagine if the opposite had happened and your parents told you not to apply because they didn't think you were good enough. For the rest of your life, you might be saying, "my parents are so clueless about music and they told me I wasn't good enough to apply to Juilliard. If they only had believed in me, I could have followed through on this dream."

Failing is hard. I have failed spectacularly at a few things in my life but I don't regret trying because now I know. I also tend to believe that if someone doesn't fail, they aren't trying that hard because then you aren't pushing your boundaries. I do think you have a good point about helping our kids deal with failure and that is an important skill to learn.
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:59 PM
 
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No. I think that telling someone that they "stink" at something, or joking about how they shouldn't quit their day job does them a disservice. For one thing, it doesn't encourage them to work to get better -- it totally discounts the fact that a little (even so tiny that no one else can see it) talent coupled with a lot of determination can overcome many things. If you think that your child wants to do something that they don't excel at naturally, help them by signing them up for lessons, or by hooking them up with an understanding mentor. They may quickly find that the amount of work outweighs the joy they receive from it, or they may rise to the challenge and get way better. Even if they don't make it their career, they may find a life long hobby.

If you don't think someone is good, don't say they are, but it's not cool to tell someone that they stink. It's rude, and does them no favors. The words of criticism (because that's what they are) have the potential to rob them of the joy of expressing themselves. With children, you may even be wrong. The quality of a person's voice changes over time, and with one's ability to modulate it. However, the voice of someone they trust saying that they can't do something will stick with them forever. Seriously.

I truly believe that life is about progress. And there are many different levels at which we can enjoy an activity. How many of us would tell our children that they are terrible at baseball or soccer or running? Wouldn't we rate their enjoyment of the sport over their actual proficiency? Perhaps concentrating your comments on much they enjoy singing or what have you is the best approach. I think we are far too quick to usurp any talent a child shows and try to turn it into a career -- the flip side of that coin is discounting anything a child likes but isn't good at.

Amanda and Dh, ds 09/00, ds 08/03, ds 10/05, and ds 05/08, and 3 :
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:19 PM
 
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Has ANYONE here advocated telling kids they "stink" at something?

Anybody?
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:16 AM
 
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I haven't read what others said, but here's my opinion...

I would never tell my child he was wonderful at something he wasn't. I also wouldn't tell him he was horrible at something he loved. I would tell him maybe that *I* loved his singing and he sounds great to me. Once he got old enough (obviously by the time he could try for AI) I would let him know that while *I* would always love to hear him sing, that by other people's standards he might not have what it takes. And I would try to suggest other things for him to do, and bring up things he was good at.

But no, I wouldn't let my child run off to do something and lie to him if he was truely bad at something.
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Old 01-22-2007, 03:32 AM
 
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Some of my favourite singers aren't great singers. But I like listening to them. I'm having a new-mommy brain moment and I can't bring the names of the people I'm thinking of to mind of course....

Janis Joplin! (praise google for putting together 1960s female singer died overdose with the right name on the first try ). Or Louis Armstrong.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:45 AM
 
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My MIL thinks it's really important and her responsibility to offer lots of criticism to her children on various things. It's such a huge downer. My dh got an arts fellowship for his poetry, and I don't think he ever told her about it. He did a reading at the public library for it and didn't invite her.

She then commented to me about how her first cousin and his wife cheer on their children. Their children are very high achievers by anyone's standards--good schools, nifty projects, good grades, exciting professional lives. She didn't learn any lesson from this, however--just commented on how she could never do that!

Criticism doesn't do anything good. Maybe praise isn't always the best thing, especially if it's indescriminate and inaccurate. But criticism is for sure a bad thing. No matter how loving a relationship you have, it's got to hurt. In fact, if your relationship is more loving, the criticism is going to hurt worse because they won't be able to dismiss it.

I think my plan is going to be to let my guy become an expert on whether he's good at whatever it is or not. After all, my husband knows a lot more about poetry than his parents.

Also--I'm not going to get a TV set so i don't have to watch the drek you describe here!

Divorced mom of one awesome boy born 2-3-2003.
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