Why I Will Never Let My Child Go to Hollywood
Ask any mother of an adorable kid if a talent agent has approached them, and chances are she will say yes. I too have walked through my local mall and been besieged by scouts eager to sign up my "breathtakingly handsome seven year old son" (their words not mine, said the Jewish mother) and for a millisecond the lure of all that potential money and fame my breathtaking kid could generate taps into my ego. For a split second I see my kid's name in lights and dollar signs...and then images of the rise and fall of child stars makes its way into my consciousness and I very politely fend off these compliments with a swift, "I'm not interested".
The truth of the matter is that I am not a stage mother - and I imagine, Dina Loan was ill equipped to take on that very difficult role as well judging by the issues her once sassy redheaded daughter Lindsay has encountered. If you truly think about what it takes to be a star - all the sacrifice, practice and sweat it entails, it seems almost criminal as a parent to subject one's child to that kind of lifestyle. Childhood is this brief, all too fleeting period in our kid's lives and to me, the idea of thrusting a little one into the spotlight is akin to robbing that child of her god given right to be a kid. It's forcing her or him to mature and be immersed in the politics of a world that should be reserved for those who are more mature...aka adults.
But, let's play devil's advocate here for just one minute - what about those kids who have the inherent need to perform? As a parent- how can we not try and encourage their passions and help them to be all they can be? How can we not spend the money (that we may or may not have) on headshots and take them from audition to audition for a toothpaste or soap commercial, hoping a casting director will hire them for a role that will likely skyrocket them to "iCarly" and "Good Luck Charlie" stardom?
And here's my response. If as a parent you have a child like this - you need to make the decision to put aside your needs and become that child's everything. You cannot hand said kid over to a team of managers and agents and expect 10 years later to have a child that is balanced, mentally stable and understands the difference between show business and the world the rest of us live in.
I'm not sure what some mother's of fallen child stars have done or not done or whether or not hey have simply brokered deals from afar or actually stayed present. But I do know one thing for sure - if my kids expressed this burning desire to act, dance and sing- I'd sooner plunge them into the world of community theater and keep them firmly grounded in the world of childhood. I'd tell them if they wanted to go to Hollywood, it would be ready and waiting for them once they turned 21. I know our kids get just one shot at their childhood and once it's gone, even if they don't realize it at the moment- it will be a period in their lives they'll spend they entire adulthood trying to recapture.
Follow 12 mothers/coaches of competitive dancers as they make critical training, costume, music and choreographic decisions for their children while also navigating the precarious waters of the other highly competitive parents on "Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition". The show premieres October 9 at 9/8c.