It’s that time of year again, when America is fascinated by the drama of American Idol. The glamorous competition is full of emotional highs and lows for the singers. And just imagine how the parents feel!
Whether your kids are into music, drama, dance, or sports–wherever their sweet spot is–watching them find their way is probably tougher on the parents than it is on the kids.
Whenever I watch American Idol, I ‘m always interested in observing the parents of A.I. stars. And as I’ve watched them over the years, I’ve noticed some behaviors in these moms and dads that we as sports parents would be very wise to imitate.
American Idol parents don’t hover
Each first-time A.I. singer walks in to face the judges alone. They sing alone, they hear the critique alone, and they face the news–good or bad–alone.
Granted, the parents are probably not allowed in the room when their kids face the judges, but there’s a very good reason for that. We parents tend to make our kids nervous.
Are you one of those parents that insists on hovering over your child at try-outs or practice?
When kids are little, they may really want you close by. But as they get older, that will change. I understand if you don’t want to waste gas by leaving and coming back, but you can stay at practice without hovering. Sit away from the sidelines or in your car with a good book or a project. Give your kids a little space.
And the older they get, the more important this becomes. When my kids were in middle school, I could get away with showing up early to pick them up from practice, just so I could watch them a little. But when they got to high school, I decided it was time to back off and wait for them somewhere else besides in the gym during volleyball or basketball or on the sidelines during football practice.
Hovering is a tough habit to break. It’s best to start working on it when your kids are little, so that you are hover-free when they are older.
American Idol parents are close by, ready to celebrate…or cry
In the city auditions, each singer walks out the door and the first people they see are their family and friends, who will either hug them in celebration–I’ve got a ticket to Hollywood!--or consolation.
As sports parents, we should be close enough–physically and emotionally–so we can be one of the first ones our kids run to when they want to cheer or cry.Not in the audition, but just outside the door waiting.Not too close, not too far. They need to know we are nearby if needed, but not too close when not needed.
It’s a balancing act often required of parents.
American Idol parents show their support from the audience
Never once have I observed an American Idol parent run up to the side of the stage and coach their child as he sang. Never have I seen one chew out a judge or yell at the band for playing poorly, thus making their child look bad. “Get that band member off the stage! They are making too many mistakes!”
No, that would be ridiculous.
But you know what’s just as ridiculous? Parents who coach from the sidelines or stands. Parents who yell at coaches during the game. Parents who chew out teammates because they are not doing their part, making their child look bad.
Can we just please show our support from the audience? And if we must confront, leave our issues to be discussed with coaches at a more appropriate time?
American Idol parents know it’s not about them
On American Idol, it’s all about the singers, not mom or dad. The same goes for sports parents. We have an opportunity to support, love, encourage, and help our kids succeed. Let’s help our “stars” shine!