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As a parent I struggle to judge the merits of my child's activities in a objective way; how do you deal with this?

(24 Posts)
KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:08:45

DD dances (& apparently sings & acts too)

When I see her dance I just see that she is a little better than she was last time (usually) & occasionally she has a bad day & I see that.

It's very hard to reconcile this with everyone else's reaction to her abilities (she is quite good)

I find it hard to compare what she does with what other children do because I only see her as a product of her past/training etc

Do other people struggle with this? Or am I hard on/unfair to her?

notnowbernard Sat 13-Aug-11 22:18:37

I feel you're being a bit hard on her

But I don't know the circumstances... how old is she for example, is she dancing for fun/exams/career etc

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:25:52

She is 13

Dancing in Ballroom & Latin competitions & doing OK (not great but OK)

She also dances at the local theatre school & just got the lead in their Pantomime (which is how I learnt about the acting & singing)

She wants to perform as her career; I don't want to be the mum who thinks their little one is the absolute best and I try to be positively critical iyswim

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:26:34

I think it's because their hasn't been a 'lightbulb' moment she just gradually improves a little bit

notnowbernard Sat 13-Aug-11 22:32:52

I think I'd try and support and encourage her in the same way I would a DC who showed interest/skill/talent/whatever in a school subject

I think the criticism is down to the teacher to deliver... as a parent I think the role is more one of encouragement and support

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:35:30

Oh I do; she gets loads of support; I just don't see the 'specialness' of it; I see the hard work and practise she did to get where she is rather than the amazingness of how she dances

notnowbernard Sat 13-Aug-11 22:40:11

Ok then the statement I don't get from your OP is this one: "I only see her as a product of her past/training etc"

I think parents generally believe focussing on and praising effort and hard work is more important than praising and rewarding attainment, don't they? (Hopefully, anyway)

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:43:31

I think what I am saying is that she danced better today than she did last week (only a bit) and that is due to the hard work and practise she does. It's very gradual

Other people see her & say 'Oh isn't she great/fantastic/marvellous' and I struggle with that because she isn't she just works hard, I mean she has talent but she works hard too

Oh I don't know how to explain it; but I don't 'see' the specialness

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 22:44:06

Apart from the whole she is my baby so she is special because I love her

MadamDeathstare Sat 13-Aug-11 22:50:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UniS Sat 13-Aug-11 22:51:16

Katy said
just don't see the 'specialness' of it; I see the hard work and practise she did to get where she is rather than the amazingness of how she dances

UniS says

GOOD. a parent who sees the hard work first rather than the " amazing specialness" is more likely to keep her DDs feet on the ground. The performing arts business is TOUGH. if your DD is going to make her living performing she will have to keep on working hard, sometimes she won't want to and will need a kick up the backside to keep on progressing. If all you can see is the amazing NOW you will be hard pushed to motivate her to push herself further to achieve the next level.
Its not necessarily the amazing NOW child performers who make it as young and then not so young adults. Graft helps, willingness to do long hours helps, being a sparky youngster who is helpful, who listens, learns and is in the right place on time every time helps. Talent is only part of it.

KatyMac Sat 13-Aug-11 23:03:24

I guess; so it's not necessarily bad

I get so confused

elphabadefiesgravity Sat 13-Aug-11 23:30:18

Dh who works in a leading performing arts college says that a lot of talent is down to hard work. It is true there are a few with something special but most get there by hard work and determination.

The ones who get the jobs are the ones who put the graft in, who turn up on time and get the job done.

MadamDeathstare Sat 13-Aug-11 23:33:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Sat 13-Aug-11 23:44:08

'Other people see her & say 'Oh isn't she great/fantastic/marvellous' and I struggle with that because she isn't she just works hard, I mean she has talent but she works hard too'

The specialness, the fantastic part, is that she works hard.

There are so many children in classes of all sorts who drop out after a few sessions when it begins to become more demanding. If you have one who is prepared to put in the hours of practice and keep at the dancing/acting/singing, then you have a treasure indeed (well, you have a treasure anyway, but determination and persistence are 99% of genius). What other people see is the magic. You see the behind the scenes slogging, and you should appreciate it because that is the really valuable bit imo.

KatyMac Sun 14-Aug-11 08:10:16

Thanks guys, I'm being daft aren't I

I still see her as she was when she was starting to walk & then when she bounced up & down to music, moving through all the stages to when she danced in a comp for the first time and onwards; it's a progression based on how hard she works

Everyone else sees her as she is now, fully formed like a flower in bud. I saw the seeds/bulb grow & expect what she is now

cory Sun 14-Aug-11 10:10:08

As for whether she is talented enough to hack it professionally or not, I (dd of similar age with acting dreams) take comfort in the thought that dd is getting to an age where the risk taking this involves will have to be her decision not mine. And whether she is offered the chance in the first place will also be a decision made by other people, not me.

Dh and I both took risks over our career choice- looking back we can see that it could easily have gone pear shaped. But that was our call to make, not our parents'.

What I say to dd is "I have no idea whether you have the kind of talent that makes it or not, but as noone can make it without the hard work you'll have to start at that end, and even if you end up doing something totally different having learnt to work will always be beneficial."

My db dropped out of a musical career after his first year at the conservatory as his physique turned out not to be good enough, but he has had a successful and satisfying career elsewhere, no doubt partly to do with the good habits he acquired from practising. I've always noticed that our music students do very well in other subjects, and I wouldn't be surprised if the same goes for dancers.

KatyMac Sun 14-Aug-11 13:33:15

I agree Cory

KatyMac Sun 21-Aug-11 08:57:28

OK - Well I have been well & truly told.

The Director of Snow White has just told me that DD was absolutely the best for the part, she wouldn't have been given the part if she hadn't been & that if I wanted to think about it there were plenty of 16-17-18-19 yos that wanted to be Snow White & they didn't get the part. She can sing (although her voice isn't mature yet), she can dance (which we already knew kinda wink) and surprisingly enough she can act (never really done this before).

So that told me didn't it

NorksAreMessy Mon 22-Aug-11 21:39:19

Hooray for DD.

It is very difficult this talent thing in DCs. Because, actually, although we can be stupidly proud, it isn't actually US who have the talent, it is THEM.
So really, what are we being proud about?

But we are, and quite right too.
We need to know her stage name Katy, so we can follow her

NorksAreMessy Mon 22-Aug-11 21:43:01

Katy, I have just stalked you (looked at your profile) and your DD looks like a professional dancer already.

PotPourri Mon 22-Aug-11 21:48:41

I think you sound a bit of a killjoy. I know a mother who is always critical, not in a nasty way, but critical all the same. And it is soul destroying. It takes away self confidence and esteem.

Yes, she worked hard - so celebrate that she is doing great. She is much much much better than my daughter for example. And yes, that is because she has worked really hard and been trained. But she is still really great compared to my child who hasn't been trained. Celebrate her successes. Be proud that her hard work is paying off. She needs at least one person who will always tell her she is wonderful. Unless she is crap, then that is your role - it really is...

I am not meaning to sound mean to you, just sharing my opinion

MollieO Mon 22-Aug-11 21:52:32

I leave it to others who know more about my ds's talents than me. I don't feel that I need to be objective. He is naturally gifted and to me it is just a part of who he is.

KatyMac Sat 27-Aug-11 15:55:34

Thanks Norksaremessy I think so too; and you are right what do we have to be proud of?

Oh PotPourri it is hard to balance it: she got flowers fro first night and 'diamonds' for last night; so I don't think I count as overly critical - at least I hope not. Getting the balance right is hard.

MollieO technically I have the knowledge, just not the abstraction to judge her

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