The first and most important thing you could do is support your daughter completely. Each child is different. Give your support as she goes through school, goes into athletics, and competes in pageants. This is your daughter’s opportunity, so give her your full support.
There are several ways you could support your daughter, from simply being there to giving honest feedback.
A vital way to support your daughter is to set a good example of who she should be as a person and as a contestant. Teach your daughter to be flexible and gracious, at all times. Circumstances always come up that you haven’t planned for, and it doesn’t do any good to let a situation get the best of you. Your daughters are watching you, so it’s your turn to be the role model. If you are upset as a parent, your daughter will have the same attitude: “Like parent, like daughter.”
Sometimes your daughter will win, and it’s great. Sometimes your daughter will lose, and you may feel lousy. But winning isn’t everything. There’s so much more to be taken from the organization, so many skills that could be learned—skills that are useful beyond the age of 23. There’s still a future for your child beyond the pageant.
As your daughter takes her first steps into the pageant world, let her executive director provide the direction. It’s tempting to try to be “helpful” every step of the way, but EDs have a lot of experience in preparing girls for local, state, and national pageants.
At each step along the way, be honest. There’s no harm in sharing your opinion, but do it in a constructive manner. Be sure that your daughter is comfortable with herself, and that she uses the advice and feedback of pageant people and others to help become a better version of herself.
On a practical level, there are things you could do to assist your daughter on her pageant journey, such as help keep her organized. Stress is inevitable, especially for parents sitting in the audience, but it doesn’t have to consume the entire experience. Make sure you and your daughter are as organized and prepared as possible before the event. Then, when you arrive and participate, there should be few surprises.
Be your daughter’s biggest cheerleader and promoter. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that your daughter is competing and solicit their support, whether that’s financial, going to the show, or helping her share her platform message. Parents have great contacts that could do all three. Also, be there when your daughter competes. Believe it or not, some parents don't go. This is a really big deal in your daughter’s life.
All along this journey, make sure your daughter knows that whatever the outcome of the pageant, you love her. A pageant title doesn’t define who she is as a person. The experience itself is a steppingstone toward her personal goals. Let your daughter know that you are going to be there for her, no matter what. It’s sometimes harder on the parent sitting in the audience watching, but let her know that she's doing great.
Finally, don’t let pageants stress you out. Pageantry should be a fun learning experience. It helps young women accomplish their goals and prepares them for their future.
Photo: Allen Dye