*reader discretion is advised*
Children in this generation badly need to develop a healthy and realistic self concept to prepare them for the rigors of the outside world.
What can a parent do to help?
Watch what you say. NEVER say, "You can be anything you want to be".
Be a positive role model. When singing in the shower, always preface by saying; "I'm no Katherine McPhee". When laying on the couch watching tv and eating chips, remind children that you are way too concerned for their health to allow them to eat food like that.
Identify and redirect your child's inaccurate beliefs. If you catch your child singing along to a kidsong video or cd with an inflated sense of confidence, be sure to remind them that they are NOT Katherine McPhee either.
Be creative with your child. Leave a note in your child's lunch box that reads, "I believe in you kid, but you bring home anything lower than a "B" and you're gonna wish you'd been given up for adoption. Actually, you were given up for adoption. I always meant to tell you that".
Create a just home environment: A child who is exposed to parents who fight and argue repeatedly may become depressed and withdrawn. Remember to take the time to fight and argue with your children as well.
If you follow these simple guidelines, the chances of your child embarrassing himself or herself on "American Idol" will be significantly reduced. Many of those tragically humiliating experiences could have been avoided if parents had not filled their child's heads with lies such as: "You can be/do anything." or, "You are the (smartest, prettiest, most talented, etc) child in all the world."
Ten minutes of watching American Idol should have have any skeptic running back for more of my sensible, easy to apply parenting advice.