Child Actors and Managing Mental Health
Show business can be a stressful industry for anyone and everyone in it. As the parent of a young performer, you will likely get to witness the repercussions of such a stressful job in real time. With schooling, family, friends, and a career to manage, young actors can easily be overwhelmed. And this challenging combination can have wide-ranging effects, all of which need to be monitored. Actors young and old are constantly put under pressure by their careers and personal lives, and while the show must go on, health and safety are top priorities.
There are clear signs of stress that parents of young performers should be aware of. Here’s what you need to know to make sure your child stays happy, healthy, and ready to take on their future.
Tell-Tale Signs of Stress
Because child actors have to balance their education, careers, and personal lives, they are naturally going to be exposed to constant activity and obligations. Acting is a field that requires one to be vulnerable and emotional, but with so many hopes and dreams at stake, the ups and downs of the industry can take a toll on any actor’s confidence, happiness, and mental health.
Any change in your child’s normal behaviors, such as lack of sleep or increased anxiety, isolation, or irritability, can be signs of stress weighing on them. Of course, they have commitments and obligations, but just forging ahead can sometimes make matters worse. Taking time to change things and recalibrate when the hustle and bustle becomes too much is essential. And as parents, it is your job to watch and make sure something changes.
Tips for Fighting Stress and Staying Grounded
Rest. Without proper rest and time to recover from all the activities in which a child actor is involved, there will be no chance of staying grounded or starting fresh. Maintaining a proper sleep schedule is essential for mental and physical wellbeing, no matter your age or profession.
Have other forms of stimulus to relieve pressure. No actor would be in the industry if they didn’t enjoy performing in some way, but having other hobbies and activities outside of a career can go a long way toward relieving stress. Whether this is sports, reading, art, music, or any other hobby, be sure to encourage your child to branch out into other areas of interest that fulfill them.
Remember the positives. This can take many forms: keeping a journal of positive reminders, or taking time to have discussions about what they enjoy about their life and career, or memorializing their accomplishments in a way that is helpful to reflect back on. These are all great, healthy ways to nurture your child’s confidence and love of their craft.
Know how to manage rejection. Rejection is naturally part of being an actor, constantly putting yourself out there for others to observe and judge. Make it clear to your child that there are some things they can control and other things that they can’t – and spending too much time sweating what they can’t change will only make them miserable.
Mental health is very important to consider no matter what your life and career look like. But for actors who are so personally and emotionally involved in what they do, this can present a special challenge. We hope that with these tips, you can protect your child from some of the hardships that come with the job, and nurture their love for what they do into a passion that lasts them many happy and fulfilling years.