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Pageat Interview Queen

Pageant Mom, Part III

Hi All,

Here are the last of my thoughts on the article I posted a few days ago on the pageant mom who “forces” her daughters to compete against each other in numerous pageants. If you are just joining us, we are considering what might be “right” and “wrong” about how this mom (or at least how this journalist depicts this mom) handles her daughters in the pageant world. There is a lot in the article so it’s taken three entries!

Right: Encouraging taking a loss with grace. Wrong: Promising that next time they will win.  No one can promise that unless they are buying the title. Better to tell the child that we won’t always win, but we can always learn from what we did and aim to do better next time.

Right: Encouraging healthy competition against one’s own best record…encouraging self-improvement. Wrong:  Suggesting one girl is better than the other based on the number of titles won.  She  might be a better “contestant” (at least in that pageant on that day) but is in no other way “better” than her sister. And even then remember that who wins can come down to a fraction of a point, or to the minor subjective preferences (especially when there is no interview component). There is no basis to let pageant wins impact a girl’s self-image negatively.

Right: Focusing on strengths. Wrong: Saying “Kylie only has eight supremes” doesn’t focus on her success and potential.

Right: Encouraging practice and preparation. Wrong: Forcing them to stay on task for hours. Self-discipline and learning to sustain one’s attention is good, but so is demonstrating life balance. They are little girls, after all. Remember, sometimes taking a break is what any of us need (especially children). Regular practice is appropriate, but demonstrate wisdom, not extremism. It’s okay to call it a day sometimes. Or to take a break to rest, then get back to it with fresh energy later.

Right: Offering incentives…though, really, if the girls are that into it, they shouldn’t need them. The satisfaction of preparing and the excitement of participating would usually be enough.  Wrong: Offering food incentives.  Food should be about nutrition, not rewards. People, especially women, have enough challenges with healthy diet (and too often around body image issues), so we should be careful what we model and teach about food.

Right:  Encouraging career exploration.  Wrong: Channeling the girls to consider only visually-oriented or performance-related careers.  Allowing them to explore other interests will let them figure out their passions as the grow, not just follow their parents’ wishes. Sure, it is great when a child’s interests overlaps with a parent’s wishes–and certainly we can help them make good choices. But a time will appropriately come when they need to follow their dreams and make their own decisions, so it’d be good if they had some ideas of their own and some practice in making solo decision.

Well, there’s my feedback on that article. We can discuss these matters more, either as you ask or we run across new articles on the topic. But the next time I post I’m aiming to get back to my first love — pageant interview!




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