Being a parent is hard enough. When you add the prospects of a child star in the house, things can get difficult. Many parents quickly feel overwhelmed with managing the blooming career of their little one. This is especially true for full-time working parents! Below are 3 tips to avoid common mistakes made by parents of child actors and performers.
#1 Teach them Responsibility Early
We see it all the time. Lindsay Lohan’s constant battle with substance abuse, or Miley Cyrus acting out with extreme sexual promiscuity. Most people chalk it up to, the “Hollywood lifestyle.” But the reality is, many child actors and performers grow up so fast, that they don’t have the time to mature in other important areas of their life.
Parents need to be aware of their child’s emotional development. Just because they are becoming successful, doesn’t mean they are reaching the appropriate emotional development for their age. When you sit down and look at it, the list of child actors that get destroyed by their own fame is pretty scary.
What parents can do:
- Help your child see the connection between what they do (how they act) and what happens as a result. Use real-life examples, such as, “Did you notice how when you were mean to the Director’s Assistant, how the day was much more difficult for everyone?”
- Make it easy to be truthful. If you want your kid(s) to come to you with the truth, stay calm when they admit a mistake. If you’re too reactive, they may shut down, push you away, and never be free of the issue bothering them.
- Stick to your rules. If there are clear rules, don’t break them. Of course, we all let things slide once in a while, but don’t be manipulated. When you make rules about money management, timeliness, chores, homework, etc., stick to them. Teaching your child discipline will help them later in their career.
#2 Let them be Kids
The reality is, no matter how hard working your child is, they’re still going to want to be a kid. Social activities and playing with other kids is not a waste of time. In fact, studies show that playing is one of the best ways to develop the brain, improve memory, open the imagination, and improve motor functions.
Kids have a natural drive for curiosity and exploration. They need to be exposed to many different environments and cultures to foster their growth. If the only experiences your child has with other kids is at auditions and casting calls, you could be stunting their emotional and physical development!
What parents can do:
- Schedule play dates and social events with other kids, preferably kids with different interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
- Keep them in a public or private school as long as possible. This will help with their socialization, as well as physical and emotional development.
- Plan family activities in the evenings and weekends that aren’t related to their career.
#3 Don’t Pressure Them
Sometimes parents get more excited about a child’s career than the child does. They see the income potential and begin trying to live the life they’ve always wanted through their child. It isn’t uncommon to see a kid break down into tears because they don’t want to audition and their parent keeps pushing them. Not only does this destroy that opportunity, but it begins to destroy the relationship. In general, humans avoid situations that have caused them stress in the past. If auditions and casting calls stress them out because of your pressure, guess what they’re going to try and avoid?
What parents can do:
- Parents tend to get pushy when their kids give up. Constantly gauge your child’s interest. If he/she is losing interest, hone in on the reasons early. They may be wanting to quit for a specific reason, and maybe you can find a solution before they completely give up.
- Ask your child to agree to commitments beforehand. If they are excited about the process, this is simple. If they are on the fence about the whole idea, getting commitments from him/her will make it easier for you to ask them to follow through.
- Understand that every child grows and develops at their own pace. Don’t measure your child’s success based on the success of others. If they are making progress and moving forward, that’s all you can ask for!