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Thursday, 19 September 2013 18:42

Just Don’t Become a Dance Mom

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When I was 5, my grandfather who was a general contractor wanted me to be an architect. When I was 7, he told me that I needed to become a civil engineer. At age 10, I announced that I was going to become a bishop but ended up removing my hat from consideration when as a tween I realized that bishops had to be celibate. No thank you, not for me.
At about that time my father, a medical equipment manufacturer, wanted me to be a doctor and my grandfather was still pushing hard for the civil engineering gig. I didn't even know what an architect was, and when I asked I was told that he is the man who builds houses. "Then what is a builder grandpa?" I asked, but received no good answer. I didn't even bother asking him what a civil engineer was, resolving that it was probably an engineer who was polite. Wrong, but not for me just the same.

The point is, nobody bothered to ask me anything about what I wanted, or what I was good at, or what I had an inclination for, or what I gave a damn about. Sure, I thought I wanted to be a bishop (not just a priest,) and I was attracted to it because I liked church, the bishop was the head of it, he wore impressive robes and vestments, a crown and a staff, and had lots of people trailing him, and paying attention to him. In other words, it was all about the bling and the hoopla. Somebody should have noticed that and given up on the architect or engineer thing.

What I'm trying to say here is that we, as parents, want to guide our children to make correct choices but, all too often instead of mentoring them we drive them to the decision we want them to make, often with little or no explanation. While we must set specific short term goals for our children, we must make a plan for them that recognizes and respects their individual interests and strengths. Some of the parents who seem the most devoted to their children’s success actually fail to take this important step. The issue is the underlying motivation, when parents are trying to live vicariously through their children. What appears to be devotion is actually selfish and potentially damaging to their children. The real challenge is to cultivate qualities in a child that feel difficult to develop in oneself.

So when in doubt, listen to your child's verbal and non-verbal cues, observe her strengths and weakness, likes and dislikes, sense the type of flame that burns in her gut, and guide her to life's journey in a loving, selfless, and pragmatic way. Remember, it is OK to want your little princess to become a great dancer as long as you never become a Dance Mom!

This is my opinion. It worked for me and it can work for you. You just have to try it!

Chris Efessiou

About Chris Efessiou:  Chris Efessiou is an entrepreneur, business leader, educator, mentor, international speaker, radio show host, and best-selling author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood  based on his own experience from raising his daughter as a single dad by applying his business knowledge to the business of parenting.  Listen to Chris’s weekly Radio Show Straight Up With Chris:  Real Talk on Business and Parenthood on Voice America Radio.  You may connect with Chris on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit