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Parents must give children a dose of reality

The first episodes of the new season of FOX’s American Idol were filled with the worst sounds ever heard on television.

There are thousands of people who try out for the show, and nearly all of them believe that they have talent. They compare themselves to a famous singer, but once they open their mouths, even an untrained ear can tell that most of them have little to no talent. Then, all of the rejected people walk away with their dreams shattered. They thought they could sing and music was their future. Who implanted those dreams of Kelly Clarkson stardom in their heads? The question comes with an age-old answer: the parents.

Blaming good ol’ mom and dad seems to be a national pastime to some Americans, but sometimes the criticism rings true.

In an article in the September edition of Reader’s Digest, author Judsen Culbreth wrote, “Kids can’t nourish their true identities or feel good about their accomplishments if we feed them junk praise (that) bloats their egos and leaves them hungry for real self-awareness.”

Children draw outside the lines of their coloring books, and they are at once considered unique. A child gets a solo in his or her orchestra concert, and the child’s parents are already booking gigs. Children get a gold star on their writing assignment, and they are labeled the next great American novelist. Some parents believe when a child shows an ounce of talent in a certain medium, their child is a prodigy.

According to an article written by psychologists Claudia M. Mueller and Carol S. Dweck of Columbia University, “Labeling children as gifted or talented may also have a negative impact on them. Such labeling may be the cause of children becoming overly concerned with justifying that label and less concerned with meeting challenges that enhance their learning and mastery skills.”

The parents are not helping with the overload of praise. What children are taught growing up is what they expect later in life. Parents should be truthful and wary of coddling, so when their kids get to the real world – or even American Idol – their false dreams are not broken and some real ones may come true.