I hear it all the time, in the studio, on the baseball team, and at school; parents and kids thinking they are not in the “Circle of Favorites”.
Even though it happens in EVERY activity involving kids I can only speak from my own experiences within my studio walls.
I will be honest, I do have a favorite. There is one dancer who I enjoy watching the most, who I support the most, who I worry about the most… my own daughter. I only have one favorite and it is my own child.
When I hear of my dancers or their parents talking about how they don’t get the same treatment because they are not “the favorite” I wonder a couple of things.
- What does being a favorite look like?
- Who are the favorites?
#1 is interesting to me because usually, the answer is the favorites move up levels or win at competitions. Really those things happen because of the talent and hard work of the dancer not because he or she is a favorite. Nothing stings more than knowing that someone is “better” than you (or your child), especially when it is something you love and work hard at. It is so much easier to hide behind the excuse of “oh they are the favorite” than it is to be vulnerable and admit you are frustrated by your own challenges or shortcomings.
#2 is interesting to me because the kids who are classified as “the favorites” don’t think or feel they are favored. Often times the kids who are perceived to be favored by the group also feel like someone else is the favorite… not them. What does it mean when no one feels like they are one of the favorites? It means everyone is truly treated the same and no one is favored over someone else! It means the dancer is using “the favorites” as a crutch to not reach her full potential and it is a way for the parent to feel better about their child not measuring up to their own standards, expectations, hopes or dreams.
All the coaches and teachers I have talked with over the years, in many different kid-related activities all have a favorite type of kid to work with. The answer is universal, we all like working with kids who are respectful, have grit, are eager to learn, are coachable, value corrections, have good attendance, and lift up their teammates.
Notice talent is not listed.
Don’t get me wrong, working with a talented kiddo is fun but without the character traits I listed, talent is worthless.
Parents don’t get sucked in. Don’t get sucked into the “I’m not the favorite” drama. Be the adult and don’t let your child use “the favorites” as an excuse for failing to meet a goal, desire or expectation.
In the long run, your child will benefit from having one less excuse to fall back on.