From this week's mailbag:
Dear STL Homeboy,
My three year old daughter has discovered her singing voice and has been walking around the house singing pretty much non-stop for almost a month now. At first it was cute, but the truth is she has a terrible singing voice. I'm not going to sugar coat it - it's bad. Every time she starts to sing like she's Ariel from The Little Mermaid, I silently curse whoever introduced her to that movie. My husband is a stay-at-home dad and encourages her singing, saying things like, "she is exploring her voice" or "any interest in an art should be encouraged" or other touchy-feely nonsense. But there's a fine line between encouraging your child to something they're not good at and being that mother on American Idol who tells her daughter that the judges were wrong after the worst audition in history. I blame the mother for not telling the daughter that she wasn't a very good singer before embarrassing herself on national television. What do you think? Am I OK in asking my daughter not to sing?
Dear STL Workgirl,
OK, I know this is you, Megan. I agree that Clara's singing is for the most part excruciating and I understand that it drives you up the wall. Like you, I also want to throw The Little Mermaid into the river. But some of her other songs aren't that bad. What about the little speckled frogs song she learned from school? Her "take me out to the ballgame" isn't bad - she just kills it by singing it over and over. But if we start to tell her that she isn't very good at something she might have some self-esteem issues down the road, and that's just not something I want to risk. Besides, everyone starts out bad at something before they get better, right? If the singing gets so bad that you can't take it anymore, you could always try to distract her into coloring or playing with a puzzle. How about you carry around some earplugs in your pocket? If you think, however, that her singing is worse than this...
...then maybe you should tell her she's not a very good singer.