Children bring youth and joy to those that watch them. The concept of a beauty pageant for children is meant to bring out those qualities in children and hopefully promote positive thinking for the rest of their life. Though there are positives to this idea that has been around for several years, some feel that beauty pageants destroy a child's outlook on what is considered true beauty.
There are forms of competition that can be considered healthy for children. Competition can teach children that they will not always be the winner, but to strive to be the best no matter what. It will also teach children to take a loss as a sign of what they can improve on, but not ever consider it as a defeat. The con side to competition is that these competitions are very fierce. Children are under extreme pressure to perform their best by parents and peers and with the wrong motivation can feel as though they failed when they do not win.
Structure and Discipline
A child beauty pageant does bring a set of rules and discipline that each child entered must follow. Girls are set to strict schedules, eating habits and often will be required to practice for long hours to perfect routines and speeches. Though this can provide structure for some girls, it can also have its negative effects. Since girls are required to practice for long hours at a time or travel away from home several times a year, and they can feel as though they are missing out on fun that their age should have. They will often miss out on events with friends and can miss out on experiences that children their age should have.
Most children enter into beauty pageants by the hand of their parents. A supportive and comforting parent is assuring to a child entered into these events. The way a parent teaches her child about competition and loss can affect how the child reacts to the outcome of each pageant. A negative aspect of this situation is often parents are pushing and forcing their children into these events. This can instead cause a rift between children and their parents rather than bring them closer together.
A child beauty pageant does cost money. Parents will have to pay for travel, specialised training (such as a vocal coach) and for each costume or talent prop their child needs in order to compete. Though the costs are high, a pro to this situation is when a child wins they are often offered monetary compensation, but also a college fund is set up in their name and may be something parents could not afford to do on their own for their child.
Physical and Mental Health
Child beauty pageants are a way to promote self-confidence and a positive body image to those girls and boys who enter. Some children who enter, however, can also suffer from depression or anxiety due to the highly competitive atmosphere or the feeling that they are being forced to do something they do not want to do. Another con is that often in order to achieve the ideal body type many contestants will resort to unhealthy diets or not eating at all several days prior to a competition, which can lead to serious health problems later on.