Dance Mom Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni chats to Closer: ‘I’m not pushy – my girls push themselves’

Melissa Ziegler-Gisoni, of Lifetime TV’s Dance Mom’s, chats to Closer about pushy parenting, being the best and her daughters’ success.


by Ellie Hooper |
Published on

On the show you always look so incredibly proud when either of your daughters, Maddie or McKenzie, do well. Do you ever worry that they are under too much pressure?

No I don’t because I don’t give them that pressure. I don’t push my kids – they push themselves, and Abby (their dance teacher) pushes them of course. I’m always there to support them. I think it’s going to help them in the long run when they get older and when they go to a job interview – they’re going to be able to handle that because of this experience.

So do you feel that the way you encourage your girls to be the best and be competitive is teaching them skills for later on?

Absolutely – they are going to have to fend for themselves in the years to come and won’t have me at their side. Any of the girls in the school are being prepared by Abby for the real world of competition.

Melissa's daughter Maddie
Melissa's daughter Maddie

Have you ever been branded a pushy parent?

I don’t find that I’m pushy at all actually. I don’t need to tell my girls to practice, they just do. Maddie is so self-motivated, and McKenzie is coming along that way too. She’s really growing up.

Do you ever worry that doing so much so young will force the girls to rebel later on, like many other child stars?

I’m very on top of my girls. I look at their text messages and their Instagram. I see what they do and I manage that. All the kids on the show are very humble – they’re not celebrity childen, they’re so normal, and I like to keep tabs whilst they’re young on what they’re doing so I can see they aren’t acting in a way I wouldn’t like. I like to know what’s being said to friends, make sure there’s nothing inappropriate going on. You have to keep control of your children – especially in these days of social media. It can be amazing for promoting yourself – but it can also be very dangerous.

Melissa’s daughter McKenzie, 9, and Maddie, 11, both take part in the show. Watch videos of them in action here.

Dance Moms is Exclusively on Lifetime Mondays at 9pm Sky 156/Virgin 242

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