(Following is a post by my 10-year-old daughter that we composed together. These are her thoughts and words, and I served as editor. It was inspired by a conversation we recently had in the car about a reality show and the impact of criticism. Ella is wise beyond her years and has excellent insight on how we parents can help our children meet their potential in a loving, positive manner).
A while back I was at a friend’s house, and we stayed up late watching the show “Dance Moms.” While I really liked their dance competitions, it made me sad that the girls didn’t seem to know they had talent.
I never heard anyone tell them, “Good job” or “I can see you practiced.” All they said was “Work harder,” “That’s awful,” and stuff like that. They never told them they had talent. I can’t speak for those girls, but if that was me on TV I would have felt lost because I thought dancing was my talent, but no one was appreciating it.
What I think Abby and the moms should have told those girls is that they were still good and had talent, but they needed to keep working hard and practice. When the girls did work hard and practice, no one noticed. Nobody congratulated them or said, “I’m proud of you. Your hard work paid off.”
The thing about criticism is you remember it a while. Once you get that voice in your head, it’s hard to get it out. You start thinking the voice in your head is right. It makes you want to quit and puts you in an awful mood.