What Do You Do When Your Kid Really Sucks At Something They Love?
I love my 11-year-old daughter with every fiber of my being. But she totally sucks at singing. I mean, imagine the sound of 40 cats lined up with rocking chairs repeatedly smashing their tails, and then think of something worse. Somewhere in that “worse” region you will find my daughter’s vocal skills. She has piano lessons—she’s excellent at that. She has violin lessons—she’s a natural. Dancing too. We’ve provided every possible distraction and redirection in the book, but she just loves singing—much to our household’s dismay.
She constantly tries out for every singing part of every school production. I always cheer her on. And she always ends up on the stage crew. Her aunt is a professional singer, who has offered to give my daughter lessons, but my tween know-it-all said no thank you. Seriously??
Recently, I lovingly told her that her singing was horrible. I mean, I didn’t say it like that. Or at least I didn’t mean to, but after another hair-raising rendition of Annie’s Tomorrow, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Now, I don’t want to be a dream crusher, but I think it’s our job as moms to keep it real with our kids. Why should they go through life with delusions of grandeur when they could have better used that time focusing on their real talents? How many times have you watched the first round of American Idol tryout and wished some of those people had a loved one to tell them that they sucked long before they traveled great distances just to embarrass themselves on national television and give comic relief to the rest of America?
Some of my mom friends disagreed and recently blasted me for my comments. They think we should let our kids believe that they are good at anything and everything, even if they suck at it. I don’t think that’s fair. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a tween beginning to understand their strengths and weaknesses. I mean, we all have them. They are real humans. Not Disney characters. Nobody is good at everything. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Why do moms equate positive reinforcement and encouragement with feeding our kids a load of bull? It’s not the same, people. If I attend another talent(less) show at the school with a horrible trumpet player making Dizzy Gillespie turn in his grave and the rest of us plug up our ears, I will scream! No Johnny, you are not talent show worthy just yet. Keep practicing and maybe next year. But I don’t want to suffer through your learning curve. That’s what your parents are for.
I’m a real deal mother.
Now, what I also told my daughter is that there are different types of singers. There are “singers” (and I use that term loosely) like Kesha and Britney Spears and there are singers like Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Hudson. I told her that she was more of the Kesha variety and she should focus on the more pop star route because a J-Hud she is not.
I thought that was very good advice. I mean, tough love is still love.
What does your kid suck at and have you told him/her?