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With success comes responsibility.  Help your child stars manage their success.
 
 
Have questions or need advice?  CIF members can call our permit services department at (800) 902-9001 ext. 102 or email permits@childreninfilm.com for more information. 
 
 

 

Responsible Parenting

Preparing for the emotional and psychological aspects of a showbiz career


The following CIF articles directly relate to your child's emotional and spiritual well being. When preparing for showbiz, the child's emotional needs often go undiscussed.  How will you teach your child to deal with fear, anxiety, stress and depression? 

Children In Film is working together with child and family therapists, teachers, and spiritual leaders to bring you helpful info on this topic.  We welcome your feedback on this or any other part of our website.  Send us your comments. 


Responsible Parenting Articles:

 

College Bound?


Many performers, like Justin Bieber, debate whether or not to go to college.  While some former child stars are Ivy League grads that went on to win awards in their career (Jody Foster, for example), others opted to forgo college and continue on their career path (Jennifer Love Heweitt).  And, some who chose not to go to school comment that they wish they had (Kirsten Dunst).
 
Then there are those who intend to go to a university, and do, only to find that the struggle for normality proves to be a challenging one.

Such was the case for former child stars like Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen (who studied Fine Arts and Psychology respectively at NYC for a year before dropping out), and Emma Watson, who attended Brown University in 2009.
 
"I really want anonymity," Watson commented in an interview with ABC News. "I want to do it properly, like everyone else. As long as I don't walk in and see, like, "Harry Potter' posters everywhere, I'll be fine."
 
After 18 months, Watson dropped out stating that she realized she could not escape her fame. "I was trying to seek out normality, but I kind of have to accept who I am, the position I'm in and what happened."
 
And still there are some child stars whose quest to further their knowledge base keeps them going.  Ron Howard, for example, studied film at the University of Southern California and went on to transition from a successful young actor to a successful adult director.
 
Then there is Danica McKeller (known as "Winnie Cooper" from The Wonder Years) who helps young girls overcome fears of math, and Mayim Bialik (Blossom) who was accepted to both Harvard and Yale and eventually earned a Ph.D. before returning to her acting career where she can now be seen on The Big Bang Theory.
 
Academy Award-Winning actor, Jodie Foster, was her high school valedictorian and put her film career on hold to attend Yale.  She graduated in 1985 and her career did not suffer.  She went on to win Oscars and direct several films.
 
In fact, many industry pros agree that a desire to attend college will not stunt a showbiz career.
 
"When given the ability to have an education, an actor will always be more marketable," commented talent manager, TJ Stein. "There is no career that an education could not make better."

Claire Danes, who also attended Yale, went on to say that her education made her feel fulfilled and taught her how to think creatively, a skill that is much needed as an actor.
 
Anna Paquin, Natalie Portman, Brooke Shields, Fred and Bed Savage and many more all attended and graduated from esteemed, often Ivy League universities.
 
When asked about their future plans, many of CIF's members intend to go to school regardless of their entertainment career.
 
"I'm going to college no matter what," commented Riley Beres, 14. "If I don't make it in the acting world, I still want to major in film oriented education - maybe directing."
 
"I was raised in a household that values education and, as a result, so do I," said CIF member, Brittany Beery, 17. "Attending college has always been my goal; it wasn't until a few years ago that I ever considered not going because of acting, but I came to the conclusion that my brains are just as important to me as my talent."
 
"College was never not an option," said CIF member Brandon Hamilton, 21, who has remained a CIF member as an adult and is currently enrolled Cal State Northridge. "Even if you make it in this crazy life called show business, jobs may come and go and you might go years without booking jobs, but they can never take your education away from you."

While each young performer has his or her own path to live, you as a parent may have your own goals for your child's education.  If you have your sites set on college and want to begin the discussion with your performer, here are some topics to bring up:

Tips for Discussing College with Your Performer

  • What are the benefits of going to college and what are the benefits of continuing on as an entertainer without persuing school?
  • What worries you about going to college?  What excites you?
  • Who are your performing mentors and did they go to college?
 


Team Etiquette: Dos and Don'ts of Maintaining a Relationship with Your Team


Do... Ask about marketing materials.  Inquire as to what marketing materials would help us promote you.
 
Don't... Chew gum.  This goes for interviews, performances, auditions, press junkets, meetings...
 
Do... Have a backup audition outfit.  You should keep this in your car along with several copies of your headshots and working papers. Last minute notice for jobs and interviews is commonplace.
 
Don't... Start your audition with an apology. Take your confidence with you into each opportunity.
 
Do... Have a website bearing your name. Don't let your fans or other interests have yourname.com or yourname.net before you do.
 
Do... Let anyone who has legal custody know that you are pursuing this business. Their signatures will be required on documents.
 
Don't... Spread gossip or hearsay.  Industry pros have ears and eyes throughout this industry and frown upon "negative stage mom behavior" including, but not limited to, following other people to auditions, showing up at auditions uninvited or with extra siblings, and being overly nosey about someone else's work and opportunities.
 
Do... Share good news of performances, reviews, prizes or awards with your representation.  All good news helps with promotions.
 
Don't... Waste your time on anonymous, online forums. Most industry pros do not spend time on forums, but they are more aware than you realize of those who do. Overall, the information found on anonymous forums is more inaccurate than it is accurate and helpful.
 
Do... Network through live events and get your questions and concerns answered directly from the professionals and those willing to sign their name to the information. 



Paperwork Prep


The following documents will be required for your child to work in California:

Work Permit - in California, a current and valid entertainment work permit must be presented to the personnel (usually the studio teacher) upon arrival on set.  Check your local state laws to find out the requirements in your state.  If you use CIF's permit service, you'll receive your permit in an easy to use folder that will allow you to carry your additional paperwork.  Plus, you'll get a reminder when your permit is due for renewal. Lost it? No problem, CIF keeps a copy on file and can get you a replacement immediately.

Coogan Account Info - Make sure to have a statement of trustee for proof of a minor blocked trust account. Bring your account information with you.  Check your state laws to see if a blocked trust account is required in your state as it is in CA and NY.

W-2 Form - this form is related to your child's taxes and you'll receive one whenever you work.  You will be asked for an SSN and how many deductions you want to claim. You will use your child's social security number. "If your child does not have one, the parent should contact the local office of the Social Security Administration to obtain one," suggests David K. Rogers of Actors Tax Prep. "They will need a certified copy of the child's birth certificate to obtain the number and you will fill out Form SS-5."

W-9 - you'll be asked to fill out a W-9 when working as an independent contractor. In this situation, no taxes are withheld, but a SSN is required for your 1099.  Make sure you realize that taxes will be owed come tax time.

I-9 - An I-9 document proves that you have the legal right to work in the US. The I-9 form requires you to attach supporting documents such as a passport or birth certificate, social security card, etc. 

Time Card (Voucher) - Production will give you a time card to complete. There are two kinds - union and non union.  If you have representation, your agent will ask you to use their info in lieu of your own when completing this form.  This is to ensure that your pay check goes to their office for documentation and payment processing. This is standard, so you don't need to be alarmed that your paychecks go to them first.     


Missing important documents like passports?  Check out the KidStart program for links to offices that can help you obtain new copies.



The Psychology Behind Fame


How Does a Person Become Famous?

The path to fame, at least for media-related celebrities, generally starts in one of two ways: a person is able to display a significant amount of talent to individuals influential and/or powerful enough to get the person involved with a production, or the person is well connected whether it be self-created or something they are born in to.

Perhaps the actor gets a role in a commercial (Lindsay Lohan, Dakota Fanning), or the attractive individual is offered the chance to model for a line of clothing (Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks), or perhaps the individual is an heiress who books a reality show (Paris Hilton, Kelly Osbourn).  With each situation, it is safe to say that the person in question has an "appearance" of sorts in some form or another.  One could conclude that the path to fame starts with that initial appearance.

Generally speaking, the person will earn a small sum of money for this initial appearance.  The star of the commercial made an actor's salary for that particular shoot (as with Dakota), the model also earned a fee (as with Tyra).  Perhaps the reality star earned prizes, cash or the chance to receive endorsements or charge for appearances at clubs (Paris charges for appearances).  And in modern society, things start to intertwine and crossover (Heidi and Tyra both became reality-show hosts and Kelly appeared on "Dancing with the Stars").

From the first appearance, the person either becomes what we deem a "one-hit-wonder" (Suzy Preston from "The Biggest Loser") or they go on to do more things (as with Tyra Banks who has been a model, actress and host).  And while they're progressing up the lime-light ladder of success, society begins to take notice.  In some cases, we become true fans eagerly awaiting the celebrity's next appearance because we admire their work (Dakota Fanning) and with others we become obsessed with watching and waiting for failure (as with Lindsay Lohan). In our January 2011 Hollywood From Home Webinar, Jennifer Kates Ramlo, Ph.D commented that we, as humans, often find interest in the failures of a celebrity because we are dealing with our own envy.  Seeing someone on a pedestal fail, allows us to take note that they are not perfect, and therefore more like us.  In all situations though, appearances beget money and recognition (whether positive or negative), recognition begets more appearances, appearances beget more money, and the combined beget fame.

The fact is, if your child has even one successful appearance, you can't control how society will react.  The only thing you can do is control how you and your child react along the way.  How will you deal with the funds initially earned? What types of projects will you accept after the first project?  Are you really ready to take on the realities associated with fame, like the fact that popularity sometimes is directly related to failure in the eye of the public?  What happens when your child out earns you? These are all questions a parent must ask before getting involved in the industry.

Why are we attracted to fame?

First heard in America in the late 1800's, "fan" is likely a short-form of the word fanatic and initially referred mostly to baseball enthusiasts. As fans in modern society, we do tend to get a bit fanatical about celebrities.  So why are we so attracted to this idea of fame?

Attraction to fame and celebrities can also build as we build relationships with those people.  Yes, all of us, in our own way build relationships with celebrities.  Each night that we sit down in front of the television to watch our favorite sitcom is a night we are building relationships with someone.  The problem is, the relationship is one sided. If we were to see that person in real life, we would potentially get excited because we have built a relationship with him or her.  It would be like seeing a long-lost cousin after many years apart.  The only difference is that person has not built the same relationship with us, and therefore the concept of a "fan" is created.  

Children In Film's parent blogger, Carl Sprayberry, in a discussion with Children In Film noted his reasoning behind being "attracted" to certain famous people.

"I am drawn to certain actors because I either respect them as a person, or because I respect their talents or both," Carl explained.  "I tend to be interested in actors who I know enough about to respect. For example, I have a great respect for Brad Pitt because of what I have personally come to know about his upbringing and his theories on family life."

Carl also noted that there is a time and a place to approach a celebrity.  "If it is done with politeness, respect and proper timing, it can go over quite well," he explained. "You have to approach the person because you genuinely want to compliment her or admire a piece of his work, not because you're interested in getting an autograph or bragging rights to tell your friends."



Giving Back and its Effects on Child Development


Children In Film spoke with family psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Ramlo, regarding her thoughts on giving back to the community and its effects on child development. As you probably already know, giving back to your community is an incredibly selfless act that helps a child to develop awareness, self-esteem, empathy and humility.  Below, Dr. Ramlo explains these concepts further.

"One of the most important aspects of healthy development is the ability to do the hard work necessary to move on to the next phase of life. Each phase of development brings growth and challenges. If a person floats through one phase of life without having to be in touch with the real challenges, most likely, that person will have to make up for "skipping" that phase at some point in their lives...hence, the reason behind a mid-life crisis.

Research has shown over and over again that people who have had to face the most difficult of situations in their early lives, are often the ones who are most successful. It is because they know how to do the hard work required to function.

The fact that these young stars are catered to and treated like royalty in fact set them up for failure. They are not ever faced with or expected to deal directly with real life because everything is taken care of for them. Therefore, they often do not ever grow the ability to get through challenging situations. 

This is a terrible disservice to these young actors.   

The importance of giving back, I believe, is most important for those who have a very limited view of the world.

If a person grows up in an environment in which there is no expectation to think beyond oneself, how is one expected to have the ability then to think beyond  oneself? The experience of walking in another persons shoes is essential to broadening ones mind. 

Charity work, therefore, is an essential part of maturation.  Giving back allows a person to think beyond oneself which not only benefits the community but benefits the individual."

~ Dr. Jennifer Ramlo, Ph.D

Morality on Set


Fact:
Productions will push the limits when it comes to what your child can and cannot do on set.  And in many cases, productions do not even know what is acceptable. 

In The Runaways, a then sixteen-year-old Dakota Fanning participated in some of the most violet, sexual and shocking scenes in movie history.  The opening scene, for example, shows her character getting her first period. From there, the film is packed with edgy images, raw language (between 60-70 f-words and many obscene references to genitalia), erotically charged scenes and references to sexual intercourse, pornography and drug usage.

While many argue that the film is tough to watch, others understand that it is a piece of art – a coming-of-age story that, while it hits hard, is a reality for some of today’s youth. The question is, will a role like this further the careers of young actors or must a child be a high-level actress before this makes a true impact?  What is Thora Birch doing today? While she is best known for her role in American Beauty, her steady career hasn’t seen any blockbusters in years.

Whether you believe these roles to be great career moves or have decided not to pursue such controversial roles, the facts are clear: as the parent of a child actor, you will eventually be asked to make decisions.  Deciding your boundaries ahead of time will prepare you in the event that the moral boundaries of your child are pushed while in a working environment.

David Gurley, Staff Attorney for the California Division of Labor Standards, has discussed morality and child actors many times. David is very insightful when it comes to helping parents and productions set boundaries on a subject that can sometimes be very gray.

He recommends addressing whether or not the situation is illegal, offensive and/or obscene and taking due regard to the California penal code.

Illegal

Will the child be taking part in an act that is illegal?  As the parent you should be informed regarding the labor laws not only in your home state, but also in the states in which you intend to work.  Remember, California has led the way on many issues pertaining to children in entertainment.  Therefore, using the CA Labor Laws as a benchmark is an appropriate means for determining what is/is not acceptable on set.

Offensive

Determining whether or not something is offensive tends to be a subjective opinion of the child and his/her family.  To assist you, David suggests taking in to account the child's age, maturity, stamina, experience and family values.  Only you and your child truly know the issues that push your buttons, make you feel uncomfortable or test the limits of your values.

Obscene

The California penal code (section 311) defines "Obscene Matter" as matter, taken as a whole, that to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to the prurient interest, that, taken as a whole, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and that, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. 

Is your child being asked to be involved in actual or simulated sex?  This is defined as obscene and is therefore not okay. 

Does the act appeal to the prurient (perverted) intellect?  Does the act have no artistic value?   If so, it is not okay.

Is there profanity?  It is the right of the filmmaker to create material that is protected by free speech.  It is also the right of the family to choose not to engage in such profanity.

In the end, the choice is yours.  You and your family must determine what is okay and what is not okay for you and your child.  Being prepared ahead of time will give you ammunition for when the time comes to stand up for your moral values.


"A Minor Consideration" - Interview with Paul Petersen


Children In Film sat down with Paul Petersen of "A Minor Consideration" to discuss child actors, early fame and his non-profit organization which seeks to guide and support young actors through these issues.

CIF:What is "A Minor Consideration?"
PP: A Minor Consideration is a non-profit, tax-deductible foundation formed to give guidance and support to young performers, Past, Present and Future.  Child stars must pick their parents with care.  Family Education is the key ingredient to a productive future. The members of AMC are always "on call" to assist parents and their professional children on a "No Cost basis." By providing a strong emphasis on education and character development, plus helping to preserve the money these children generate, the members of AMC are always available to help with the tricky transition issues that for many kid stars prove to be so troubling. We've "been there, done that."  Our lessons were earned, not imagined.

CIF: How did A Minor Consideration come to be?
PP: AMC started in 1991.  It was created to provide support and guidance to former kid stars through the efforts of other kid stars who had already negotiated the deadly transitions that give so much trouble to young performers who have achieved fame before their adulthood.

CIF:  When/how did you discover the need for this organization?
PP: Three highly publicized suicides within our ranks (Trent Lehman, Tim Hovi and most recently, Rusty Hamer) made the formation of AMC a reality.  It was no longer acceptable to sit on the sidelines when on of our own was in trouble.  We became, those 12 early recruits, active interventionists.  Today more than 600 former kid stars have a home in AMC, and while we focus more on prevention these days, we still do our share of interventions when the need arises.

CIF: How did you know what to do when you sought to assist these actors?
PP:  Kid actors who have achieved early fame have a tendency to think they are unique in all the world, but a fair review of our history reveals many common threads that remain consistent across the generations.  Once I had identified these common threads it was just a matter of time before AMC began applying the leassons learned to the current crop of working kids and their families.  We ask fundemental questions such as, "What is the composition of the kid star's family?"  "What sort of work are these kids famous for - positive or negative portrayals, comic characterizations or skillful displays of genuine talent, etc?  And importantly, "How old are they when their working careers come to an end?"  The reality is that most young performers do not go on to adult careers in the industry.

CIF: What is your main goal?
PP: AMC is dedicated to ending the exemption to federal child labor laws for kids in entertainment that have been in place since 1938, and to see that the ruls, laws and regulations are the same for children in the industry no matter where they labor.  We seek mandatory savings plans, on-site education from day one, and sustained industry support when the career comes to an end.  In other words, we want the same rules for kids as we have for industry animals.

CIF: What is your background/experience?
PP: My first professional job came about (at nine years old) because I was a trained and competant singer and dancer with years of lessons and live performances under my belt.  I sold my first screenplay at age 16, had my first gold record by age 17, and have, to date, written and published 16 books.  I currently host a weekly television talk show called "Aging in LA" (4 years) and now deal with issues related to our senior population.
 
CIF: What is  your advice to parents getting started in the industry?
PP: My advice to parents has remained the same for 30 years: First, make sure you are certain of your child's talent and character by supporting them through the process of training and experience in appropriate venues.  Second, never believe you are the first parent of a talented/famous child or that you are smarter or love better than all the stage parents of the past.  There is no need to repeat the mistakes of past generations.  Third, always have an exit strategy so your child can gracefully leave the stage if that is what they want to do.  Fourth, guard the money carefully and always think 10 years ahead.  Fifth, seek out people who have actually lived the experience...other parents, experienced talent agents,  young performers in their 20s.  Sixth, be cautious.  Your child will only have one childhood.

CIF: Have you been employed as an actor since your own experience as a child?
PP: I have been employed as an actor in each of the last six decades.  I still enjoy winning an acting job, which I think of as riding a bicycle.  Looking back, I find that so many of the experiences I've enjoyed (or suffered) have made me the kind of person who enjoys crafting legislation and building a consensus to see that legislation passed.  I figure that since I'm going to be busy anyway, why not be doing something wonderful. 




"Dealing with Rejection"
 
The auditioning process isn't easy, and dealing with rejection can be tough for children.  If we're faced with rejection, it is human nature to react.  Sometimes we blame others or make excuses. But we can stop being the victim and learn that dealing with rejection is about loving ourselves even when others do not.  We can take what would normally be negative reactions and turn them into pro-actions that will help us move forward!  

While there is no secret solution, here are some thoughts we’ve put together:

  1. Great things can come out of this experience! Celebrate the fact that you made it this far!  You had an audition and that's something to be proud of.  Next, learn from your mistakes and look at them as an opportunity for self improvement.   After an audition, parents can ask their children positive questions first such as “How do you feel you did?” and “What do you feel you did right?”  Then they can follow it up with, “Where do you think you could have done better?”  What is the lesson in the whole experience:  Were you late for the audition?  Did you do the appropriate amount of studying of the sides?  Praise is also important, so congratulating them on a job well done – that is, the fact that they put themselves out there in the first place, will help to open positive communication so you can work together on improvement.

  2. Remind your child that if her audition is rejected, it may have nothing to do with her specifically.  "We were not rejected.  We just weren't the right choice in the eyes of the decision making team," explains Carl Sprayberry in his blog, "Diary of a Showbiz Parent."  Casting directors are taking many factors into consideration when choosing a child and many of those factors aren't known up front.  That's why it is important to perform well, but also to be a likeable and agreeable family (that means you, the parent, too!)  So if your child doesn't get a role, be realistic about their abilities, but remind them that casting may have simply been looking for something different.  Then take the opportunity to celebrate his or her own unique qualities.  

  3. Plan for rejection before it happens. In his blog, Carl Sprayberry talks about finding confirmations.  That is, what will you and your family use as a confirmation to know that you are doing well?  At first, “doing well” may simply mean going on auditions and doing your best.  Then, after a predetermined amount of time, “doing well” may be a ratio of auditions to bookings.  If you go on 20 auditions and get one booking, is that enough confirmation to continue?  Decide together as a family and you won’t feel as discouraged when things get tough.
  4. Keep doing what you love.  Keep doing the things that give you and your child fulfillment.  If acting is what fulfills your child, remind yourselves why you are a showbiz family in the first place: is it truly for the love of the craft?  If so, taking acting classes and participating in school plays can help to fulfill this passion while you continue to pursue your goals. 

 

Remember, not everyone makes it to the top right away.  Michael Jordan didn't even make his high school varsity team as a sophomore, but he kept playing - for the love of the game, not the fame.

Children In Film (and our very own, Carl Sprayberry) was featured in Back Stage West on the topic of rejection.

        
"Healthy Gossip"


"Have you heard...?" is always a juicy opening to a conversation, especially when it's about a celebrity.  The question is, do the next words you hear usually reflect well on someone, or "dish the dirt?"

According to Richard C. Michael, PhD, "The world's favorite pastime is not football, soccer, or baseball but gossip."  Humans all gossip!  It isn't the fact that we gossip, but how we do it that makes a difference.

"Gossip is a social skill, not a character flaw...It's only when you don't do it well that you  get into trouble," states professor of psychology, Frank McAndrew, PhD, in an article published by MSNBC.  In fact, the American Psychological Association is reporting that gossip is a valuable societal too used to bond and share information.

But let's face it: dishing the dirt on a fellow actor or crew member can spread like wildfire on a film set, costing your child their next job - and even career.  Of course, "it's important to share information, but NOT indiscriminately" says Dr.  McAndrew. 

So how can we practice "Healthy Gossip?"

One way to put a good foot forward is to teach your children how to exercise good gossip, which reinforces proper set-etiquette.  Remember to teach through your example and practice what you preach:

First, it's important for you to know the proper time and place even for "good gossip."

  • Never say anything negative about co-workers, on the set or off.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions, but be sure they're relevant and considerate of other people's time
  • Remember that idle chatter with any of the crew can be disruptive to the entire set.
  • Don't indulge in celebrity gossip on set - you never know who is listening and how they're connected to your child's future job.
When the next story about the arrest of a drunken celebrity hits the air, point out to your child how damaging that is to their families, their careers and most importantly, themselves.  Then share a positive example.  Maybe about the way Ron Howard maintained a healthy lifestyle and professional attitude and grew a successful career as a child actor into an even more celebrated one as an award-winning director, producer and father. 

The fact is, for every tale of a "child-star-gone-wrong," there are five more success stories that aren't being heard.  Let's practice good gossip and spend a little more time talking about them.

Did you know that Ben Savage, brother of Fred Savage and star of "Boy Meets World," interned for a U.S. Senator before graduating from Standford University?  Christina Applegate, "Married With Children," helped to raise millions of dollars for breast cancer education and research, and Melissa Gilbert, "Little House on the Prairie," became president of the Screen Actors Guild.

As a matter of fact, one of the most celebrated child actors of all time, Shirley Temple, not only topped the box office for three years straight before she was ten, but eventually became a U.S. ambassador and a representative to the United Nations.

Wow - clearing the dirt out of the air feels good!

After all, Dr. McAndrew says that "gossip is an important bonder.  By sharing information we develop a sense of trust and intimacy." 

 

 "Earnership"

Dreaming of stardom may be a fantasy, but what’s the harm in dreaming, right?  Becoming a successful child actor or celebrity is a lot like winning the lottery.  It can happen quickly and provide more money and privilege than you ever dreamed possible.  Have you given much thought to how you might handle the money and fame after it comes?  Have you prepared your children for the challenges they will face?  We’re not talking about getting an accountant to manage your money; however you’re going to need that too.  In this section, we will discuss much deeper issues and encourage you to plant seeds, now, before you start.  There are several points to consider while preparing yourself and your child for what will hopefully turn out to be many years of lasting personal fulfillment in this business.  We will give you some practical, realistic advice - just in case you strike it rich.

Here’s a big surprise regarding why some child stars become troubled adults:  It has nothing to do with lousy parenting!

Did you know there has been a study of lottery winners that shows that a majority of these new millionaires lost money, lost family, lost it all?  Check out this MSN news article about eight lucky lottery winners who lost their millions. They experience a shot of energy, enjoy temporary fulfillment and then, bang, it’s over.  The same might hold true for your young celebrity if you are not keen to the pitfalls.  How will s/he feel when the phone stops ringing?

Whether you are a child or an adult, if you are unprepared for the changes that come with great wealth and fame there is going to be trouble.  Paul Petersen, founder of A Minor Consideration, says “most of the time the big changes are not in you,” it’s the “People around you that will change. . . .”  “In a short time you’ll be invited to parties and events that you never heard of” and receiving free gifts like clothing, jewelry, computers and more.  Everyone will want to be your friend, whether they have earned your friendship or not.

When Shirley Temple Black was asked how she survived being the most famous person on earth at such a young age, Shirley answered "because of my mother.  She believed if a child is working in entertainment, that a parent should always be with them to step in front of the child and say, 'she can't do that' or 'she can't accept that great gift from you.'  If there isn't someone to do that, the (child actor) gets spoiled rotten."

What’s the moral here?  Lasting fulfillment must be earned. 

As parents, of course you want your child to enjoy childhood and successes, but you also want your child to develop into a happy, healthy, unique, independent, successful, loving and supportive individual, right? It’s a huge responsibility.  Don’t let yourself be blinded by the spot light.  Child actors need the same structure as any other kid.  They need to learn to ‘earn’ everything:  trust, respect, money, friendship and success.  “Earning” is the elevator that will take your kids all the way to the top.  It may seem like a simple concept, but when everyone, and we mean everyone, wants to shower your child with money, gifts, and compliments, will you have the strength to walk away from the buffet?  Or, will you continue to feed your ego, convincing yourself that you ‘deserve’ special treatment?

How can we teach our kids about “earnership?”  By setting examples.  

Don’t accept elaborate gifts from producers.  Set limits on gifts and spending; give kids an allowance in exchange for household chores.  Provide structure in your family life.  Keep going to church, temple, whatever.  Encourage your child to continue with education beyond high school, especially if already financially set for life.  Most of all, teach about “cause and effect.”  DO NOT CHANGE; remain a parent first and foremost. 

Think about the things you are most proud of in your life:  Guaranteed, it’s the things that you worked hard for, the things you earned.  The things we earn give us a true sense of self worth and fulfillment.

  Photo Contest Winner - Noah Podell



Billy Ray Cyrus gives Miley articles about Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton to read as ‘cautionary tales’.





































































"For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news." ~ Gloria Borger





































Gos.sip
n.

Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.


 
 
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