Expert Advice

Reality Check for a Child

Middle School Expert Advice from Judith Lee Ladd

Q
My daughter wants to be a rock star and I don't think this is a realistic goal. She spends all her time singing rather than doing her schoolwork. How can I help her buckle down?
A
Today's kids see extremes of riches and fame coming easily to others, so why not to them? Rarely do they see the hard work and time that is really behind the magazine covers.

Set limits to help your daughter find a balance. You can help her begin to build a path to success -- including the joy and pleasure she finds in music -- by following these suggestions.

  1. Require a study period each evening, with time for her to sing or research her career.
  2. Identify local resources for her to learn how to sing and perform even better. Her school counselor and chorus teacher can help you locate music teachers and opportunities for summer performance camps.

  3. Find a local mentor for your daughter, someone who sings for a job or a hobby, who can talk with her from experience about what it takes to be successful.

  4. If you do not take a leadership role in helping her to get more realistic goals, you will find her growing farther away from the reality of success and find her less able to cope with what she is required to do.

  5. Let her find the joy of recognition that comes from doing things well and gaining competence, not just dreaming for that elusive spotlight.
Judith Lee Ladd is a former president of the American School Counselor Association, a national organization of K-12 and post-secondary school counselors.

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