Are Beauty Pageants Good for Little Kids?
A fellow hubber requested that I write an article about whether beauty pageants are good or bad for young children, and I'm assuming they are referring mostly to glitz pageants. Much of this debate was covered in one of my previous articles, but I will expand on what I shared there. Actually, no one can make a fair blanket statement either way. To say that all pageants are bad for kids or all pageants are good for kids would be ridiculous. There are just too many variables involved. These include the pageant itself and the way it’s run, the attitude of the parents, and the individual child.
My granddaughters, my grandsons, and my niece absolutely love being in pageants. They adore dressing up, and the girls like wearing big-girl makeup. At many of the better-run pageants, the directors have costumed characters backstage to entertain the kids. The girls were thrilled when Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Jasmine read them stories and played with them. The pageant kids also enjoy playing with and getting to know each other. There are rarely any sharp feelings of competition among the younger girls and boys, so they consider each other friends and are always sharing their candy and their toys with the other kids.
Bad Pageant Moms
Most all the problems I’ve seen concerning little kids and pageants stem from the parents. They often put too much pressure on the kids to win. Some of these kids hate doing pageants and are scared to go on stage, but the mothers force them out there, anyway. Obviously, these pageant moms are more concerned about themselves than they are about their child’s happiness. They’re not entering pageants for the kids – they’re doing it for themselves.
I hate to see a mom backstage scolding or berating her child because the child didn’t do well on stage. What did the mom expect? The kid didn’t want to be there in the first place! I’m not a violent person, but I swear, sometimes I’ve wanted to smack a couple of these pageant moms! Fortunately, this type of pageant mom is in the minority.
It’s Not All About Beauty!
What most people who haven’t been involved with pageants don’t understand is the scoring process for most kids’ pageants. It’s NOT all about beauty. Personality will win out over beauty almost every time. Our kids are beautiful, but that’s not why they’ve been so successful in pageants. It’s because they love being on stage, and the judges can tell this by their behavior.
Pageants are also about creativity and originality, especially in the sportswear, casual wear, costume wear, and swimsuit categories. In these parts of the pageant, the girls get to dance on stage to music they select, use props, and wear really fun outfits – the more original, the better.
The responsibility of the parents
Parents who place their young children in pageants have a responsibility to their kids. For example, we never make it about winning, so our kids are never under pressure. We make the event as fun as possible. It’s a way for us to all spend time together, and after the pageant, we all go out to eat as a group and enjoy each other’s company. If we’re doing an out-of-town pageant, the girls spend a lot of time in the hotel swimming pool with their pageant pals.
Our kids have NEVER gotten upset about losing because we’ve never pressured them to win. They like winning, of course, because of all the neat stuff they get. Not once, however, have my granddaughters or grandsons shed even one tear or displayed a sad face because they didn’t win. They enjoy all the fun activities that go along with the pageants!
What can kids learn from pageants?
From competing in pageants, my grandchildren and niece have learned to be good sports. They can win graciously, and they can lose graciously. They’ve also learned the importance of friendship and sharing.
Another way pageants can be beneficial is with self-confidence. Kids get used to being in front of a crowd and interacting with strangers, both in the audience and backstage.
Children also get to use their imagination and creativity. We always let them offer their ideas about their apparel and their routines. This gives the children a sense of ownership, too.
We enjoy doing pageants for charitable causes. When we compete in these, we like to explain to the kids how the money from the pageant helps others. This is another good lesson for children.
What Can Kids Win?
Our group has won all kinds of stuff from pageants! These include savings bonds, stuffed animals, cameras, furniture, jewelry, bicycles, dolls, flowers, luggage, televisions, CD players, DVD players, iPods, tee shirts, gift certificates, games, toys, engraved silver trays, and cold, hard cash.
Some pageant directors are getting pretty creative with what they give the winners. For example, a recent pageant in our area gave a registered Shih Tzu puppy to the supreme winner! Some of the big national pageants even award automobiles to the winners.
Of course, the participants can also receive banners, crowns, and trophies.
And it’s not just the winners who get goodies, either. In almost all pageants, all the participants under the age of nine or ten receive a trophy, a gift bag, and/or a stuffed animal.
Some pageants also invite talent scouts and model scouts to observe the contestants. Lots of pageant kids have been scouted by top modeling agencies, including my grandchildren.
The final verdict
So, are beauty pageants good or bad for little kids? It all depends on the kids and the parents. Our kids are always begging us to put them in pageants, but for those children who don’t want to participate, the parents shouldn’t force them to do so.
If your child wants to compete, be supportive but not critical. Think of pageants as a type of sport or other entertainment. Help them prepare, cheer them on, and allow them to have a good time, whether they win or lose!
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