Ask the yummy mummies

Members of Jumeirah Jane’s crew answers a parenting dilemma

Bur Dubai Brenda

Brenda is a left-wing pessimist (although she’d prefer to think of herself as a realist). She’s got one son, Ben, and she’s not in any hurry to add to her brood – holding down a full-time job without a maid to help out in the apartment provides her with more than enough to worry about, thank you very much.

My daughter wants to be a popstar – and it’s not just a phase; she’s been convinced that she’s the next Mariah Carey for three years now. The problem is, she’s absolutely dreadful – seriously, it’s actually embarrassing knowing that she sings to her classmates at school and tries to get into local stage shows. When watching the audition rounds on programmes like Pop Idol, I always used to think: How do parents let their children open themselves up to such public ridicule? But now I understand. There’s no way of saying ‘you suck’ in a loving, supportive way. What can I do? Red-faced Rita, JBR

Bur Dubai Brenda says:
Listen Rita, there’s no point buoying her up with false compliments if she sounds like she’s being tied down and tickled with poison-laced feathers. If she’s as into public performances as you say, I’m amazed her classmates haven’t mocked her into distraught silence already. Next time she lets rip, take some earplugs from your handbag and wedge them in in a faux-discreet manner, making sure that she sees exactly what you’re doing. When she asks what you’re playing at, sigh and confess that her voice is an acquired taste and no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to acquire it. Perhaps liken her vocal style to Brussels sprouts: while a few people can’t get enough of ’em, most can’t stand them and, as such, she should keep the singing under wraps unless she’s specifically asked to do otherwise (even if it is Christmas). You have to be cruel to be kind, I’m afraid.

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