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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Author: toni

~ 11/10/09


Okay. So here’s the deal. The other night Julia won a trophy for dance choreography and a certificate for photography at a contest at her school. This is the same contest where she won a first place trophy last year in Visual Arts for her photo collage. Randy the perfekt husband and I couldn’t be prouder…

Except… up until this last award she has been adamant that she is going to be a doctor when she grows up. She has stuck to this idea since she was 2 years old. And her father and I thought (perhaps foolishly) that it would stick until adulthood. After all, this is the kid who, the day after Halloween, picks what she is going to be NEXT year and NEVER strays from it. She is so firm in fact, that I buy the necessary costume items for the following year at 75% off the day after Halloween.  And I’ve never regretted it.  

So given this strict adherence to her word imagine my shock when, after the awards assembly the other night, she quietly said between spits while brushing her teeth, “I’m not sure I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”

WHAAAAT?!?!?    Despite the soft voice in which she said it, the earth shook beneath my feet. Mommy’s world was rocked … in a BAD WAY.

Instead, she says, she wants to go…brace yourself… INTO THE ARTS!

Not the arts! Not that vague, impractical, you’re-more-likely-to-get-hit-by-lightening-or-sucked-into-a-black-hole-created-by-the-particle-accelerator-than-succeed-in  “the arts”!

It’s every parent’s nightmare. Imagining their child struggling and destitute, living in a wretched garret and coughing up a lung from consumption. Okay, that’s my IMAGE of it. And yes, it’s overly dramatic. Well, where do you think she GETS it from?

I know it’s all partly my fault. I come from a long line of musicians and artists on my mom’s side. All those Italians were painters and composers. My mother was an opera singer before her career became derailed by marriage and children.  I, in fact, was a theater major before I switched to the more “practical” field of writing. LMAO – as they say in those TWEETS.

And it didn’t help that I enrolled her in dance when she was 2 1/2. At the tender age of 7.5 she’s been dancing for 5 years now. And then I put her in piano which she’s been doing for two years. I have helped her the last couple of years when she wanted to do the talent show – which she got into both times with her singing. Oh yes, and last year Santa brought her an easel, oil paints, pastels, acrylics, paint brushes, etc.

The result? Now she wants to go into the arts. Oy vey!

So here’s the question. Ain’t no way. Okay that’s not the question. That’s a statement of fact. The question is:

Is it okay for a parent to discourage their child from something that they want if the parent knows it not to be practical and likely to bring the child a lot of frustration and heartache and lack of health insurance and matching 401k contributions?

I’m not trying to shelter my child from the difficulties of life. They’re part of life and we must all face them. I just want her to have, well, fewer difficulties – which a job that is always in demand can bring. Especially since her father and I aren’t likely to leave her independently wealthy. As parents isn’t it our obligation to put our kids on the right path? In this case… the path to medical school.

I have known some parents to REFUSE to pay for their child’s college if they didn’t like the kid’s course of study. But that threat is years off. And I have a problem NOW!

But what should I do? Should I allow Julia to continue thinking she’s going to be the next Hannah Montana or whatever she’s thinking and then spring my refusal reluctance about her career choice on her when she’s applying to colleges? Or is it best to start gently discouraging encouraging her otherwise…right now?!

Of course, the other choice is to let her be who she is, let her make her own mistakes and choose her own life path and be the supportive parent no matter what she chooses……….NAH.


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  1. Encourage her to be who she wants to be. Remind her there are practical considerations. She’s a smart, responsible girl, like her mother, and she’ll work it out. And who knows, maybe she’ll make some lifelong friends in the arts, which would be worth more than all the money all the doctors have ever made.

    Comment by wayneframe — November 10, 2009 @ 11:40 am

  2. The surest path to a screwed-up child, and thereby a screwed up, resentful adult, is for controlling, demanding parents trying to live their life vicariously through their children. Indecision, frustration, timidity, anger, lack of ambition, and lifelong child-parent relationship difficulties, if not estrangement, lie ahead for a parent trying to rigidly control a child’s thinking and development. There is a whole planet out there of people who resent their parents’ method of upbringing. Stifling a child’s development is perhaps the single WORST thing a parent can EVER do to a child. The destruction of creativity and joy in independence, not to mention the inability to think clearly is PERMANENT. Don’t believe me? Check out the Middle East. How’s that coming along?

    Comment by bruce — November 11, 2009 @ 2:35 am

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