“Mum, dad, I’ve really thought hard about this and my mind is set up. I’m going to become a Rock Star and whatever you say or do, is not going to change my opinion”
If you’re a parent and your kid has just made an earth shattering claim like this, keep reading here. I was your kid. I’m not a Rock star, but the secret dream that started brewing in my 13-year-old brain has led me to find a certain happiness and purpose in life that I’m sure not all Rock Stars have achieved.
And what we really need in life, is happiness, not stardom, right?
If you’re facing this situation with your own child at the moment, you might be having some mixed feelings going on.
On one side you’re seeing your own dream come true – your dream to raise your child and see him grow into a teenager, full of his own dreams and ambitions is proving itself to be a reality.
Another side of you is thinking about the sex, drugs and debauchery associated with the Rock N Roll lifestyle.
Then, there’s the third side of you. The rational one. The one that tells you that it’s cool that your child has these dreams, and that it’s also pointless worrying about them since there is no way he’s going to become a Rock Star anyway.
While this third side may give you some relative comfort, if you stop the thinking there and the way you deal to your child is based on those emotions only, you’re missing the most important point.
Whether your child will actually become a Rock Star or not is a secondary issue.
It’s unlikely it will happen and even if it does, keep in mind that despite the stereotypes, Rock musicians are individuals with different tastes and lifestyles. Yes, some are living the “Rock n Roll lifestyle” but many others are happily married with kids and want to keep it that way. Or else, they’re literally married to their instrument and the only excess they indulge in is practicing.
What you may be missing out on is the fact that right now your child is revved up, he’s on fire. Take my word for it, in his world, becoming a Rock Star is really, really, really cool and he’s willing to give whatever it takes to achieve it.
This is where it gets nice.
If you want to become a Rock Star, you need to become a good musician first. There’s no way around that!
To become a good musician, you need to practice a lot, and there’s no way around that either.
Keeping the above in mind, this is how I believe you should deal with your teenage kid:
1. Take him seriously.
Becoming a Rock Star may sound far-fetched for you but it isn’t for him, and it’s his feelings that really matter here. Also, it kind of hurts when you have big plans and your parents are not taking you seriously.
2. Lay the cards on the table.
Tell him that you will support his dreams, that you will buy him an instrument and that you will allow him to spend less time watching TV to practice it.
Then tell him that you will be holding him accountable, and that like the majority of Rock musicians before him, he will still work for his school grades, and practice in his free time.
You have to be brutal honest and tell him that since stardom isn’t exactly a small thing, he will have to spend most of his free time practicing.
When you do this, most probably one of these two things will happen:
- He gives up and finds that stardom isn’t really his cup of tea after all.
- He becomes a musician.
And this is where it gets really beautiful. It’s what happened to me and it’s what has happened countless other teenage Rock stars in waiting.
As time goes by, the goal of becoming a good musician, will start overshadowing the dreams of stardom. They may still be there, they may still be the driving force behind it all, but the quest of mastering an instrument is so huge, and so beautiful in itself, that that actually becoming a star, will start getting secondary importance.
Nowadays, I spend the absolute majority of my time practicing music, teaching it, composing it, perform it as well as writing about it on this blog.
I’m not a Rock star, but my teenage quest for it has thrown me into an enchanted world of notes, chords, melodies and harmonies. As well as stretched jeans and tattoos, but you know what? I don’t really care about that stuff anymore.
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