How do you deal with this?

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Carmelca22
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How do you deal with this?

Postby Carmelca22 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 1:20 pm

Dear NAPMers... just looking for some advice from those of you whose DC have been doing this for longer...

Since we started going beyond school/local drama group stuff earlier this year, DD has been quite busy, is having a blast and we're really proud of what she's doing. However, whilst some people around us have been supportive / excited, I have had some (sometimes surprising) negative reactions too - like it's taking too much time / will affect her badly / impact her studies / just isn't "a good thing" for a child / teen - or even (the worst) just refusing to discuss it at all. I am talking here about friends and family members who are not involved in the business, most of whom don't know much about it (although some have children who do a bit of acting / dancing / singing... but obviously not to the same extent as DD). Pretty much everyone on the "inside" has been so incredibly nice and nearly all DD's experiences have been good, despite the inevitable rejections along the way. But now (outside of NAPM / her stage school etc) I don't know who to share her good news with, and how much to tell people. I feel sad about this - ok, we're spending a lot of time, money and effort getting her to auditions, shoots etc. but if DD has a great experience doing something that she loves isn't it a positive thing?

So I wanted to ask: what your experience has been of this? Did you ever encounter disapproval or jealousy from friends / family? If so, how did you deal with it? Thank you guys xx

ScoobyDoo
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby ScoobyDoo » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:13 pm

Hello Carmeica22

I think you will find that lots of us have had this same reaction at one time or another, the look where you know they are thinking it is all about you being a pushy parent and initially I found myself asking my DS all the time, are you sure you want to do this, just say the word and we will stop. My DS is 10, he has long hair, does ballet, wears mad hats, and is getting a fair dose of bullying at the moment, but he just shrugs and says he likes his hair, his dance and his hats so he is not going to change, he loves what he does.

But, without a doubt, the positives are immense, firstly, he has had to deal with being a bit different and the inevitable bullying that goes with that and he just gets on with it, 2) because he knows if his school work goes downhill the school will not let him go to auditions, he consequently works hard and is at the top of his class 3) learning how to go into meetings and auditions is such a great life lesson and dealing with all sorts of different adults means by the time he is older, things like job interviews will be a cinch! 4) the learning of scripts/songs in super short times great for exercising the grey matter 5) learning the hardest lesson of them all, rejection and how to deal with it and turn it into a positive learning experience 6) the bonding, my favourite bit, the journeys to auditions when you get quality time together and sometimes do something else when up in London just to make it a bit special.

So yes, to anyone who tries to make you feel bad, explain the overwhelming positives, if they still are a bit negative then personally I would save your energy for those who understand and encourage your DCs choices :)

Pandora II
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Pandora II » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:33 pm

I have had:
- is it fair to let her face that kind of rejection at her age?
- is it fair that she does so many classes and rarely has a weekend day or evening to just do nothing?
- is it a good thing to encourage such a volatile and precarious career path this early?
- what do you mean that you won't be able to go on holiday/come to grandad's 70th/come to family get together while she's under contract?
- at what stage do you think you will call it a day?
- don't you want her to have a normal childhood?
- how the heck do you manage to have any kind of life with basically 2 full-time jobs?

Family I just tend to remind them that they know my DD and that she is hideously strong willed and high energy, and is actually thriving. She's very dyslexic and since she upped the level of training, and has had some success on the PA front, her academic work has actually improved. Missing events they have learnt to stop sulking, luckily DH and I are on the same page and just tell them to grow up.

Friends are trickier - I tend to restrict what I tell people in person if they are not interested or are negative about it. The higher level they are auditioning/working at, the less negativity I have found. Then it tends to be more questions on how their children can do the same thing - they tend to back off looking weak and exhausted when I explain the commitment, cost and input required to have a child doing this.

Happily I have plenty of friends amongst other PA parents, plus friends with children training at international level in certain sports (and those hours are way worse than anything we are doing!)

Carmelca22
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Carmelca22 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:51 pm

Thank you Scoobydoo, it's reassuring to hear this.
I'm so sorry your DS has suffered bullying. He sounds fantastic. You're right, the positives do outweigh the negatives when our DC are doing what they love I but I'm not sure I could deal with DD being bullied (and I realise that may yet happen). Of course when they are older the things that make them different will hopefully be seen as cool. Have you thought of putting him in full time stage school? We're wondering about this for DD.
What annoys me most is that other children we know who spend just as much time out of school or being ferried around the country for sports activities never seem to get the criticism or the jealousy. It's as if performing arts kids don't work hard for their success.
I think I'll keep stressing the positives to the naysayers (as you suggest).
Do you ever avoid telling other parents about what your DS is doing (or play it down)?

Carmelca22
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Carmelca22 » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:05 pm

Hi Pandora
Oh so good to know I'm not the only one getting those comments! And fantastic to hear that success at PA has improved your DC's grades! The latest comment I've had from a relative is "oh, she'll have to get back to her studies now, won't she" - as if she had stopped them completely whilst performing. Some great tips on how to deal with people - thank you. Yes, I have had the "how can my DC do the same thing?" response and yes, I've also had the same reaction when I explain how far we travel and how many hours DD puts in. Then they just look at me as if we are mad!!
We also know a few international-level sports families and they are understanding but they seem to get a much better reaction from other people and their schools I think.
Anyone else got any other horror stories / classic quotes?
:D

ScoobyDoo
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby ScoobyDoo » Wed Jun 13, 2018 9:11 am

Hello Carmeica22,
The bullying is really upsetting, but I seem to be worrying about it more than he is. We wish we could try stage school, but we are in the west country and also could never afford the fees and even with a scholarship, not sure we could afford the boarding part of it, so unfortunately it is an option that is completely out of our range. As to your question about not mentioning it or playing it down, I do it all the time, I only have one or two friends I mention auditions to, we also have taught DS to completely play it down at school and he never discusses it. It is a shame and hard especially as DS keeps getting really close to things, but not getting over the line so has not really seen his efforts pay off, but the boy has some serious resilience!!
You sound like you are doing a great job and if you can do the stage school option it sounds like your DD will love it. I wish your DD great success and happiness in her ventures xxx

bethjaneg
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby bethjaneg » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:20 am

As dh and I are former performers I think a lot of people assume my sons do this because we are pushing them into it. I can see it on their faces when we talk about the commitment, relentless rounds of recalls and the fact we have to race off to London at the drop of a hat. Neither of my boys have been forced into it. Tried all the sports in an effort to not influence them into PA but they’ve both drifted to PA in the end and it’s been the making of them.

I only really talk about what they are doing with other parents whose kids are also auditioning etc. I have a few other good friends who are really supportive of the boys but apart from that I keep quiet. The boys are the same and don’t talk about it at school despite the fact that they are sometimes out of school on jobs.

My eldest doesn’t really have many friends at school. The boys all call him gay and so he sticks with the girls. One of the things I love is seeing him interact at theatre school or auditions with the other kids as he is totally himself.

We have also had loads of friends jump on the bandwagon and start pursuing this with their own kids. Many joining the same agency! (We have since moved for reasons noting to do with this but it still irritates me!) dh says I should be flattered but it just winds me up!

As parents we all see what a wonderful impact this industry has on our children. They are learning so many life skills and having a pretty amazing time in the process and that’s all that matters. We all want our kids to be happy which is why we all continue to plod on with the traveling, rejections, celebrations and huge amounts of rescue remedy! Doesn’t matter what anyone else thInks x

Fuji11547
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Fuji11547 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:34 am

bethjaneg wrote:My eldest doesn’t really have many friends at school. The boys all call him gay and so he sticks with the girls. One of the things I love is seeing him interact at theatre school or auditions with the other kids as he is totally himself.


That is exactly what is happening to my boy at school! I am scared to imagine what he would have left in his life if it is not his drama school and auditions.

ScoobyDoo
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby ScoobyDoo » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:58 pm

Oh we are getting the gay thing too :( it can be so hard for boys in this business at a young age I think. It is so rubbish that some kids are still so unkind in this day and age.

Fuji11547
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Fuji11547 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:56 pm

ScoobyDoo wrote:Oh we are getting the gay thing too :( it can be so hard for boys in this business at a young age I think. It is so rubbish that some kids are still so unkind in this day and age.


It is probably time to open a new thread :?

FredaBloggs
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby FredaBloggs » Thu Jun 14, 2018 11:07 am

We have experienced similar from family and friends. One of the hardest things is that when your child has an exciting opportunity it becomes very hard not to talk about it to other people because it is consuming a lot of your own headspace. I have found that as DS has done more projects, it has become more "normal" for him to be working so it's not so much at the forefront of my mind and I'm less inclined to discuss it with other people.

Family don't really get it, unfortunately. My parents were pleased when DS was cast in their favourite show, but beyond that they tend to think that we're allowing him to specialise too young and that he should be having a more rounded childhood; not really grasping that DS is firmly in the driving seat doing exactly what he wants to do at the moment.

School friends are trickier. I now know who will be interested in what DS is up to and who won't, so I don't mention what he's doing to people when I know their eyes will glaze over. A couple of his school friends have been inspired to try auditioning themselves. They have had fun experiences but have not (yet) been successful, and there is a certain awkwardness creeping in because DS's recent experience gives an unrealistic expectation of how easy it is to be cast (he has been exceptionally lucky to have worked almost continuously on a series of projects over the last year). Some parents clearly thing we're pushy, or nuts for facilitating an activity that means time out of academic lessons.

The friends I've met amongst parents of other performing children are a godsend. It's very liberating to be able to be able to share successes or air concerns with others who are in the same boat and are supportive rather then indifferent or vaguely hostile.

DS is off to full-time performing arts school in September, and a big factor in our decision is that he really wants to be around people who "get it" - not to have to justify why he doesn't like sport, or why he sings and dances, or what a recall is and why he's excited to get one. When he is with his PA friends, he can just be himself. I don't think he's had the "gay" insults too much. He's just beginning to twig that some of the people he's worked with in productions are gay though, which has been helpful to reinforce the idea that sexual orientation has sod-all to do with whether you're good at what you do or a decent human being.
Last edited by FredaBloggs on Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Lechia78
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Lechia78 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:16 pm

My Ds has had bullying from everywhere school, dance etc. he started st a Fulltime theatre school this year and I have to say it was the best decision we have ever made. He finally has friends they all hang out and he is also experiencing things he has never experienced before and he is actually enjoying, like instruments, singing rock etc. don’t get me wrong there has been the issues but honestly a lot more positives then the negatives. I just love to see him so happy doing what he loves to do. All the kids enjoy the same things.

Carmelca22
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Carmelca22 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:45 pm

Gosh, it’s so hard isn’t it, especially for boys. Thank you for your support and all your responses – it is so good to know we are not alone in this (thank goodness for NAPM...)
I’m so sad to hear from those of you who have DSs about their boys being bullied / insulted. Seems like the boys have it even harder. I really hoped things were changing with this generation but maybe not.
Thanks for your kind words Scoobydoo – I hope things get better for your DS and I’m sorry stage school isn’t an option as it sounds like it would be great for him. You are doing a great job supporting him in being himself and doing what he loves – and in years to come he will be in his element and flying.
Let’s face it, parents usually know their children better than anyone – it’s not a case of being pushy, I can’t imagine how you could persuade a child to do this if they didn’t want to.
Freda, I can just imagine the position you’re in - we’re only just beginning to experience that “eyes glazing over” reaction with school friends and I’m quickly learning when I should stop talking / play things down. It’s sad for DD though, and I’m quite an open person normally so I hate feeling like I’ve got to hide something from other people. DD seems to have learned instinctively not to talk too much about it, probably because so few of her friends share her interests. I’m starting to think this is why full-time stage schools exist!! Lechia, so glad that option has worked out for your DS.

biscuitsneeded
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby biscuitsneeded » Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:55 pm

I don't think we've encountered any jealousy, mostly because I just don't talk about it with people who I know aren't really interested. (And we don't do TV or advert castings as I work as a teacher so would never be able to take him). So I save all the excitement, speculation, gossip etc for other parents of kids who perform and have hardly ever encountered anything other than solidarity and support. We've been lucky. But DS, at 13, has a tough time at school from other boys. He has been told he is gay, a pussy, wet, invited to fight, excluded from lunchtime football, told he shouldn't be in top set PE (just because he's small and hates rugby because he gets squashed) etc etc. He knows it's just ignorance, insecurity and testosterone talking but he says it's undermining his confidence now even for the things he loves like drama and dance. Luckily he has some great performance opportunities coming up, and having been lucky enough to be in NYMT has felt like a breath of fresh air as he gets to hang out with other teens who 'get it'. We can't afford performing arts school either but the residentials and shows in the holidays, topped up with local shows, are enough to keep him happy most of the time. It's not an easy path to tread (and my sympathies to all those DC out there having similar experiences) but I guess if they stick at this career path they will need to be very resilient so the bullies are sort of doing them a favour!

Carmelca22
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Re: How do you deal with this?

Postby Carmelca22 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:39 pm

:D That's a great way of looking at it, biscuitsneeded! They certainly learn resilience in this game. And you're right, residentials like NYMT / YMT are great for bonding with like-minded people.


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