Yesterday, I sat down to read the May/June 2013 issue of Psychology Today. Typically, this magazine is a distraction from my usual dance business, so imagine my surprise and intrigue when the Personality feature on pages 24-25 was entitled: Field Guide to the Stage Mom: The Pusher by Hara Estroff Marano.
This article showcases that the ‘Gypsy Rose’ mother types are not just on the Broadway stage. In fact, in our current world of reality television, we are regularly seeing these types of moms on Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms, and, perhaps, even in your studio. With a swift Google search, you will easily find that the issue of competitive parenting, positive and negative, is a current hot topic.
In the opinion piece Stage Moms, Tiger Moms, Sports Moms- Sit Down and Shut Up by Randi Chapnik Myers, the author lists “signs” that may indicate an over the top stage/tiger mom mentality. The most stirring of the list is , “Other talented kids make you angry and you don’t know why.” I have seen this happen with parents of competitive dancers, and I think it is detrimental to the purpose and power of a genuinely, positive, educational experience.
In the article How To Encourage Your Child Without Pushing Too Hard by Ali Goldfield, the author lists several, noteworthy “do’s” and “don’ts” for providing a conducive extracurricular educational experience.
In the Psychology Today article, the author, Hara Estroff Marano, provides several tips for being a Good (Stage) Mother. You can read these tips in the photo below.
The bottom line is that positive parental involvement is integral to the success of a child’s development, psychologically and creatively, in the short and long term. Similarly to our discussion of Competition Kindness, the role of parents is critical in maintaining a desirable culture and a nurturing, enriching environment for our dancers. Rhee Gold has even created a Facebook forum for Positive Dance Moms (and Dads) that reiterates the importance of positivity in dance parents.
At the end of the day, we are all in this together, and we want each and every dancer to succeed. When parents take on the appropriate role of supporter and motivator, students thrive and discover their inner potential and passion. Parents have a tremendous, influential opportunity, and when that is used to empower and applaud dancers (their own and others), the impact is lasting and great!