Is that dad or mom a “stage parent?”  Or even worse, are you?   The Chicago Tribune spoke to Liliana Lengua, director of the University of Washington Center for Child and Family Well-Being, an interdisciplinary research center in Seattle, WA. While she’s unaware of  research focused specifically on stage parents, she offer up the following as warning signs:

  • Is the parent showing favoritism to one child? Kids are sensitive to cues as to favoritism, Liliana Lengua says, so parents need to be careful they’re not devoting more time to one child. “Children are aware of that,” she says. “They are left feeling less loved by their own parents.”
  • Is the child overanxious or depressed? Those are signs that a parent may be exerting too much pressure to perform on the child, who may no longer be interested in the activity but continues merely to please mom or dad.
  • Is that a stage parent, or a parent justly protecting a child? “A level of concern for the safety of a child is important,” Todd Denning says. “But it can be taken to an extreme. If taken too far, it’s hard to solve the problem.”
  • Who is this for, the kid or the parent? Sometimes, being part of a performance is more for a parent’s ego gratification than the child’s well-being.
  • Is the parent inhibiting the child’s emotional growth? A stage parent often fails to nurture a child’s emotional development in areas such as making friends or learning empathy, Ann C. Stadtler says.

The rest of the article “When a parent is stage-struck: Shining a spotlight on parents who push their talented kids too far,” focuses on Melissa Francis whom we interviewed a few months ago. You can catch it all here.