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My Kid Can't Sing: What to Do With a Child Who Can't Sing But Does Anyway

Once again, I’m inspired to write by a piece I saw on a morning show while I was working out. This time is was Good Morning America. The charming panel shared an article wherein the author questioned whether she should enlighten her nine-year-old daughter vis-a-vis the child’s lack of singing talent.

Obviously, I’m not in a position to offer universal parenting advice. But I do feel qualified to address this particular issue.

So…no. The answer is “no.”

You should not ever, ever, squash a child who is in the process of creating joy for herself. Just because you may have forgotten how to create joy for yourself doesn’t give you the right to steal that from someone else. Even your own kid. Instead, you should probably watch and learn. That singing child isn’t judging herself, as you are, she’s enjoying herself.

There’s a current theory in anthropology which posits that human speech came out of singing, not the other way around as had been previously believed. If that’s so, then singing is a very old, and very natural, inclination; one from which we could all benefit by indulging. It’s an enjoyable, stress-reducing activity that requires nothing in terms of time, place, participants, or equipment. It feels good, helps you focus, burns cortisol, and increases your ability to memorize things.

But there’s that judgement piece. What I’d say to the author of that article, given the chance, is that, while it may feel noble to want to protect one’s offspring from the hardship of broken dreams, it’s not really her job.

1. She’s not qualified. What sounds bad to her might sound perfectly normal to a voice teacher or music educator. Her kid is nine, for pete’s sake!

2. Think it through! It’s illogical to want to protect someone’s feelings by hurting their feelings.

3. If you’ve been a parent for nine years, you know by now that kids try and reject interests at a head-spinning rate. A kid who wants to be a famous singer today will be equally adamant about a future career training dolphins tomorrow.

Bottom line for the kid, the mom, and anyone else who likes to sing: unless you’re actually seeking a career as a professional singer, it really doesn’t behoove you to hold yourself up to the standards of professional singers. Enjoy yourself! Just sing!

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