5 Common Concerns (+ Solutions) For Parents of Child Actors

By ,March 8, 2023

As a parent of an aspiring child actor, it’s only natural to have concerns about your child’s safety, education, and well-being. Pursuing a career in acting can be exciting, but it can also be stressful and unpredictable. In this article, we’ll address some of the most common concerns that parents of child actors have and offer some solutions to help put your mind at ease.

1 – Safety

Child actors are often required to perform stunts or participate in physically demanding scenes on set, which can increase the risk of injury. However, parents should know that production companies are required to comply with industry safety regulations and standards. For example, child actors are required to have a nurse and tutor present on set to ensure their safety and education while working. These teachers are specially trained to work with child actors and monitor their well-being on set.

Parents can also do their own research on production companies and their safety protocols. They can look up a company’s safety record or ask questions about the measures they take to protect their actors. Parents can also speak with other parents of child actors to get their opinions on a company’s safety record and practices.

When accompanying their child to auditions or on set, parents can act as another set of eyes and ears to ensure that their child is safe. For example, they can make sure that their child is properly hydrated and nourished, and that they are taking breaks as needed. They can also monitor the conditions of the set and speak up if they notice anything that seems unsafe.

Finally, parents can also arrange for a trusted guardian or chaperone to accompany their child to auditions and on set if they are unable to do so themselves. This can provide an extra layer of protection and peace of mind for parents. Overall, while safety is a valid concern for parents of child actors, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that their child is as safe as possible while pursuing their acting career.

2 – Education

Parents often worry that their child’s pursuit of an acting career may lead to neglect of their education, but it is possible to balance both. One way to manage this is by working closely with the child’s school to develop a plan that caters to both academic and acting commitments. Many schools are flexible in this regard and can provide support to the child during their absence due to acting commitments.

For instance, some schools may offer a homeschooling program or tutoring services to ensure that the child keeps up with their academic work while they are away. This can also be a great opportunity for the child to receive personalised instruction that caters to their unique needs.

Parents can also help their child develop good time management skills, which will enable them to balance their acting commitments with their schoolwork. For instance, the child can schedule their academic work around their acting commitments and prioritise their schoolwork during periods of downtime. By doing so, the child can maintain their academic progress while pursuing their acting career.

Additionally, parents can encourage their child to take advantage of opportunities for learning and growth that arise from their acting career. For example, the child can use their acting experiences to develop skills such as public speaking, teamwork, and creative problem-solving, which can be applied in their academic work and future careers.

3 – Exploitation

Parents’ concern about their child being exploited or taken advantage of by industry professionals is a valid concern. However, there are measures that can be taken to protect the child. One way to do this is by carefully researching agents, managers, and other industry professionals before signing contracts. Parents can do this by looking up reviews and ratings from other actors and their parents or even by asking for recommendations from trustworthy sources such as friends, family members, or other parents with experience in the industry.

Parents can also communicate clearly with their child about their boundaries and ensure that they understand their rights as a child actor. For example, parents can educate their child about the legal protections available to them such as child labor laws, which set strict guidelines on the number of hours a child can work on set and other working conditions. They can also inform their child about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour from agents or other industry professionals, including how to recognise and report inappropriate behaviour.

Parents should also be actively involved in their child’s career, attending meetings and auditions with them, and communicating directly with agents or managers. This ensures that parents have a clear understanding of what is expected of their child and that they are aware of any issues that arise during the course of their child’s career.

Finally, parents can seek legal advice when signing contracts to ensure that their child’s rights are protected. This can involve consulting a lawyer experienced in entertainment law or hiring an entertainment attorney to review contracts on their behalf.

4 – Financial stability

It’s common for parents to worry about their family’s financial stability if their child is not consistently booking acting jobs. However, it’s important to keep in mind that an acting career is not a steady source of income, and many child actors go through periods of unemployment between jobs.

One way to manage the costs associated with pursuing an acting career is by planning and budgeting carefully. Parents can work with their child to create a budget that accounts for expenses such as headshots, acting classes, and travel costs. This can help ensure that they have enough money set aside to cover these expenses during times when their child is not booking acting jobs.

Another way to manage expenses is by seeking out financial resources such as grants, scholarships, or loans. Some organisations offer financial assistance specifically for child actors, and parents can research and apply for these resources. Additionally, some acting schools or programs may offer scholarships or financial aid for their students.

To reduce transportation expenses, parents can consider carpooling or taking public transportation to auditions and other industry events. This not only saves money but also helps reduce the environmental impact of driving.

Parents can also explore other ways to generate income for their family, such as part-time work or starting a home-based business. This can help supplement their income during periods when their child is not working.

5 – Balancing work and life

Finding a balance between their child’s acting career and personal life is a common concern for parents of aspiring child actors. It’s important for children to maintain a healthy balance between work and play, and parents can take steps to ensure that their child’s acting career does not consume their entire life.

Encouraging breaks from acting and spending time with friends and family is a great way to prioritise a child’s mental and emotional well-being. Parents can schedule regular family outings or vacations to help their child relax and recharge. They can also encourage their child to pursue hobbies and activities outside of acting, such as sports or music lessons. This helps to maintain a sense of balance in their life and prevent burnout.

Parents can work with their child’s agent or manager to schedule auditions and acting jobs around important family events or activities. They can also communicate clearly with their child about their availability and schedule, ensuring that their child has a say in how their time is managed. This helps to reduce stress and ensure that the child is able to prioritise their personal life and well-being.

It’s also important for parents to keep their child’s academic responsibilities in mind when scheduling auditions and acting jobs. They can work with their child’s school to develop a plan for managing their academic responsibilities while pursuing an acting career, as mentioned earlier. This can help ensure that the child is able to balance their academic work with their acting commitments, reducing stress and maintaining a sense of balance in their life.

In conclusion, as a parent of an aspiring child actor, it’s natural to have concerns. However, there are many ways to address these concerns and support your child’s dreams. By prioritising safety, education, and well-being, you can help your child achieve success in their acting career while maintaining a healthy and happy life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there are many resources available to help you navigate the challenges of raising a child actor.

Author Nisrine Amine

Nisrine Amine is an AWGIE and AACTA-award nominated writer and a Sydney Theatre award nominated actor. She is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Parramatta Actors Centre. Learn about Nisrine's vision for PAC here.

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