By: Karen McFarland, PHD
When balancing considerations that will affect your child’s future put high school decisions in true perspective. These schools never charged $3000 in the past for your daughter to become a cheerleader. They paid their staff to train the cheerleaders and no uniform ever cost more than $100.00. Today, with funding cuts and lots of competition to be popular, families are willing to pay big bucks to get their daughter into the cheer squad. She gets to dance around, show off, support her school, travel with the team, be more popular, and feel important. The down side may be a husband that was a football team captain and weighs 300 pounds by age 26. And 10 times the number of people hitting on her and pressuring her for sex will surely be another result. Her life will probably be dramatically altered by this rush to popularity, and it will help her self confidence but her sexual discoveries will probably begin too soon.
Those who were not picked may be lucky. They will develop at their natural pace. High school popularity winds up in several risky categories and it only lasts 4 years.
Dumping $3000 into making your daughter into a cheerleader may be a mistake.
Or you may just do it because you always wished you had made the cheer squad.
I suggest that if you can find a good Finishing School for your daughter for the same prices or less than cheer leader fees, it would be far wiser. Here’s why. Finishing schools with a bit of acting training and modeling training will guarantee your child’s increased self confidence. She may even learn how to protect herself in an aggressive society.
Finishing school training will last a life time and be of far less risk to your daughter. Look up the number of cheer leaders injured in just the United States. Look up teen pregnancies. A good finishing school will help get your daughter serious about studying correctly and listening to parents again; but you will learn how to listen to her again as well. Sometimes we miss the message and only hear the words.
The modeling side of such a school will correct her posture and add grace, poise as well a charm. Thus she may be wiser when selecting a college and the spouse and her career.
When a child has no such training they are apt to scream at parents, lie about homework being completed, not feel trusted and thus sneak out, experiment sexually to gain peer acceptance and many other unfortunate options that would be skillfully addressed by paid professionals with adolescent experience.
I suggest that you not send her to a ‘chain school’ like those you will find all over the country. The big chain modeling schools sell you the dream without reflecting on reality. Some modeling agents do the same. The minute they tell you about how to meet the ‘big shots’ from MGM or Disney, it is a lie. Be practical. Go one step at a time.
If your child wants to model it is up to you not to squash their dreams but to accompany them to fact finding interviews. Don’t make mom do all the work when both parents should accompany them.
Remember, you are the parent, you help make good decisions. Don’t let teen social pressures hurt them or your family. Take charge of popularity decisions.
Whatever the cost of cheer leading, her mistakes will cost even more and the money is thrown away at high school, that will not make her more successful in her future career.