As the parent of a rising star, you may be wondering how you can be the very best parent for a child who wants to perform. Whether your child stars in a movie or a local community theater production, there are things you can to do foster and support their dreams of performing.
If your child doesn’t have an agent or manager, you can help them find opportunities to act on their own. Encourage them to seek out online sources and trade magazines like Backstage, and to talk to other kids in the business. Remember: an actor has to act; it’s not enough to just dream about it. So support and encourage them in school and community outlets.
Since acting opportunities are limited, you may want to help your child find other ways to get their “fix.” Enroll them in an ongoing weekly acting class where they will learn about the craft, forge relationships with other young actors, and begin to network. This is a collaborative art and their young classmates today will be their coworkers tomorrow.
If your child is lucky enough to land a role, there will come a time when it has to end. There will also be dry spells between jobs. Learn how to help your child (and yourself) cope. I’ve had many students in touring productions which last anywhere from six months to a year and there’s always a letdown when it’s over and the child must return to a “regular” lifestyle. It is important to arm yourself with tools to help them through this process.
Acting is a family business when young performers are involved. From your other children to your marriage to your personal relationships, everyone is affected. A happy and healthy home environment will help your child actor reach their personal best. Of the hundreds of children, teens, and parents I’ve worked with over the years, the kids who thrive are the ones with parents who are great role models.
When your child is blessed with talent and a desire to act, sing, dance, and entertain, it’s a gift. By taking care of yourself and educating yourself about the entertainment industry while learning from seasoned industry pros, you’ll be a wise and supportive guide for your child.
Being the parent of a child actor is challenging. But you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to a life coach, therapist, or gather together with other parents who can offer support.
This fall, I’ll be leading parent advocacy groups in person and via phone for parents of child actors. Learn how to assemble and communicate effectively with your team, find performing opportunities for your child, educate yourself on unions, discuss ways to help your child cope with rejection, get support in how to handle your child’s disappointments, and how to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually to be the best parent you can be.
There will be many teachable moments in your child’s acting career that will help them grow into a remarkable adult. It starts with you!