Select Page

Laurieby Karen Michel Pavlick

My child is stuck in the body of an actor!

I get many questions, but this one pulled on my heartstrings. A mother writes to tell me that her 7-year old son wants to make money in acting and she doesn’t know if it’s because of her struggles. When he does get the opportunity to audition, he puts so much pressure on himself to get the job, that he doesn’t, which leaves him feeling rejected. He feels acting is a way to make money for his mother. His mother is not a stage mom, but the two of them have had a string of misfortunes that led them to be homeless for a year and this greatly affected her son. This mother wants to help her son and asks these questions.

QUESTIONS: How do I get an honest answer from my son, whether he really wants to act or if he is trying to get into acting for me? And how can I emotionally prepare my son for an audition and help him handle the rejection?

ACTORS: First of all, NEVER, EVER get into acting for the money! I teach on-camera commercial workshops for young actors and when I ask why they want to get into acting, I hear more often than not, “because I will be famous, make lots of money, be on the cover of a magazine and get to wear stylish clothes.” Very seldom do I hear a young actor express their passion to act.

The tabloids and news definitely haven’t helped, as they tend to “glamorize” a world that isn’t very glamorous at all, to say the least. The working hours are long, children still have to attend school on set and free time with friends is limited.

And only a few children actually make “lots of money”, let alone book a job. So, if you are trying to get into acting for the money… find your true passion instead and money will come.

Money doesn’t make you happy; happy makes you money… which brings me to this situation.

I remember when I was a little girl and heard my mom and dad arguing about money. I was very sensitive to it and decided to get a job as soon as I could, at sixteen, buy my first car and pay for college. And I truly believed, when I made lots of money I was going to give it to my mom and make her happy. Well, years later, in tears, I shared this constant self-battle with my mom. I remember her tenderly looking at me and saying, “you can’t make me happy, only I can make me happy.” I was like…why didn’t you tell me that years ago!? I have been stressing about this my entire life! All I could think of was the many years I wasted trying to make someone else happy before making me happy.

No child should ever feel responsible for a parent’s choice or how a parent chooses to handle what wasn’t their choice. A child needs to feel protected, guided and loved, not scared, lost and confused. And when a child is subject to hardships, with or without communication can be challenging, but communication is better, otherwise, the child interprets the silence.

Ironically, my mom had no idea I had taken on this extra pressure. The difference is you do have an idea. As a parent, you have a responsibility to make your self, happy. I can promise you, when your son knows you are more happy than not, he won’t feel obligated to make you happy and he will enjoy being a boy again. And then you won’t even have to ask him if he wants to be an actor…you will know.

And if he chooses to act, you can emotionally prepare your son for an audition by “supporting him,” in his craft and by teaching him that rejection is never about him, sometimes, it’s better for him. Have you ever heard of the expression, “Rejection is God’s protection?” I truly have learned to live by this in all areas of my life. “Rejection” is never about me…it’s for me to grow. I may not know “why” in the moment, but the why always shows up and it’s way better than what I was “rejected” for!

There is a gem to be found in every tarnished experience. Be your son’s rock and let him be yours, when he is wise enough to know what it means to be between a rock and a hard place.

To get your questions answered sooner, go to my facebook page, QUESTIONS AND ACTORS, click LIKE and ask. 🙂

Go to my facebook page, Questions & Actors, click LIKE and start communicating with fellow actors and parents!