What to Know About Raising a Child Actor
In many ways, childhood and acting go hand-in-hand. What kid doesn't love playing pretend, to imagine a world bigger and more dramatic than the one they know, to put themselves in the role of a galaxy-saving superhero or glamorous fairy-tale princess?
Of course, some children take to playtime with more relish than others. Having a child with a natural love for performing and the ambition to do it not just in the backyard, but on-stage or on-screen, is a wonderful thing. That doesn't mean it's always easy.
Your Child's Health & Happiness Come First
One of the biggest missteps both kid actors and showbiz parents often make is focusing solely on acting success to the detriment of everything else. Obviously, being successful at anything requires a lot of time and energy. Being supportive and encouraging of your child's creative pursuits is important. More important, however, is prioritizing health and happiness over so-called "success."
Kid actors are still kids, after all, which means that they're still in the process of learning and growing. Acting can be a tough profession; making sure your child has a good education to fall back on if it doesn't work out is essential. Making sure that your child's physical and emotional health is not being taxed is equally essential. Success is nothing if they're not enjoying it.
Rejection is a Fact of Life in Show Business
Kids love being the center of attention. They love being complimented and receiving applause. Who doesn't? Often, that's a big part of the thrill that ignites a love of acting in a young child. Like any profession, though, especially creative ones, acting has both ups and downs.
Preparing your child for the potential negatives without sapping their enthusiasm for the positives is a tricky tightrope to walk, but it's a crucial one nonetheless. No kid will nail every audition, get every part they want, or receive gushing praise for every performance. The sooner they understand this, as well as the fact that their acting success does not reflect on their worth as a person, the better off they will be.
Learning Money Management Takes Time
Acting is a lot of fun but, at the end of the day, it's still a job. Having a job means making money, something few kids are adequately prepared for. Fortunately, as your child's legal guardian, you will be the one in charge of any payments they receive from acting until they are of legal age. That's not a responsibility to be taken lightly, however.
On one hand, most kid actors will want a say in how the money they earned is saved and/or used, which they arguably deserve. On the other hand, most kid actors don't have the kind of financial knowledge or life experience to handle that money. Simply locking them out of the process isn't the answer. Instead, consider using it as a way to teach them about money management, banking, and the value of a dollar.