While most people are “oohing and aahing” when they watch child actors perform at the movies or on television,  I am feeling really bad for them imagining all the bad judgments many of these kids will make as they grow up in the public eye. From an early age, they are thrust into the spotlight and are forced to start looking and behaving like adults.  In essence, their childhood is taken away and they are often forced to act in certain ways, or deal with certain topics, long before they are ready.  It is no wonder that many of them wind up making questionable choices, while growing up, that can compound once they do reach adulthood.  Let’s look at a couple of examples.

Hanna Montana launched  Miley Cyrus into the public spotlight at the age of 12. At 15, she was involved in the Make Out Pictures Scandal.  By the time she was 16, she was filmed giving a lap dance to a producer at a wrap party as evidenced on this YouTube video which, by the way, has been seen by almost 1.6 million people.   In fact, by 2010, when she turned 18, Cyrus was topping the list of Hollywood “bad girls,” and online sites like Ranker were happy publishing  2010’s Top Miley Cyrus Scandals.  No wonder she gets unwanted guests showing up at her doorstep.

Now that she has reached adulthood, you can really see that she is struggling to find some type of identity.  She is now sporting a mohawk “a la Pink” and  is already engaged to actor Liam Hemsworth (although it’s reported that said engagement has been postponed so that she can focus on her last record).

For all of Cyrus’ scandals, she seems quite angelic when compared to the poster child for “Child Actors Gone Grown Wrong” Lindsay Lohan whose career was launched at 3 years of age as a child model and as an actor at age 10.  Lohan also has a Top 10 Scandal List that involve her addiction to drugs and alcohol as well as her arrests for theft.

Who is to blame for these child actors turning out so badly?  The bottom line is the parents.  Some choose to take a hands-off approach. Others just hop onto the gravy train for a “better life for their kids” when chances are they are only thinking of themselves.  Lindsay Lohan’s mom Dina recently told the New York Daily News that she regrets pushing Lindsay into show business at such an early age.

I would never allow my child to become an actor at an early age.  Children should be allowed to be children and to enjoy the magical time that is childhood.  They need to be raised by their parents and not by public opinion or popularity polls.  But if parents are going to allow their children to become actors, then they should be 100% involved, making sure that acting is well-balanced with school and a healthy home life.  There have been, after all, some success stories (like Natalie Portman, for example).

That is why Dina Lohan’s declaration seems so empty to me.  It is too little, and certainly too late.  I cannot believe how in all those years she could not see how her daughter was heading for trouble.  Yes, I am being judgmental.  But I am a mother, and I believe that it’s a mother’s job to be the judge of what is appropriate or not for her child.  If an adult cannot handle this job, how do we expect a child to do so?


image:  gawker.com