Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline,

Three years ago, when my daughter was seven, she told me she wanted to be on television. I had photos taken and started looking into talent agencies. Six months later, she started auditioning for jobs, modeling in several children’s clothing catalogs, acting in several commercials and even having a small role in a movie. Last week, when I told her she had another audition, she said she didn’t want to be an actress anymore.

I’m torn. I want my daughter to be a happy, normal kid, but on the other hand, her career is off to a wonderful start.

What should I do?

…Stage Mom

Dear Stage Mom,

When I look back at my own years bringing up daughters, my efforts were a combination of good decisions and mistakes. All we can do is our best, and no sane parent on this planet pats themself on the back for having done everything right.

Coincidentally, I was in a similar situation with one of my daughters when she was about the same age. Here’s what I told her:

“You’re not grown up enough to make all of your own decisions, but you’re old enough to have a say in some matters that concern you. This is a big decision, so think it over carefully. If you decide you don’t want to be an actress anymore, you’ll need to write two letters: 1) a letter to your agent thanking them for their hard work and telling them that why you’re quitting; and 2) a letter to me explaining that giving up acting is your decision. If you ever decide to become an actress again, you can still do that, but getting started again will be your responsibility.”

The next day, my daughter wrote both letters. Now, 29-some years later, she hasn’t looked back with an ounce of regret. However, had she ever misremembered the end of her budding career and decided to blame me (as mothers often get more than our fair share of blame), I’d have that letter, in her own child’s handwriting, to show her.

I think letting my daughter quit acting on those terms was a good decision. I suspect it might be a good decision for you, too.



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