Over my long career as a voice teacher, I have trained many young people that have gone on to huge success in the entertainment industry. In this three part series I will share some insights for the creative child and the parents raising them. In the first part of this series I touched on what defines a creative child and how parents can avoid some of the pitfalls that come with raising a creative child that you can read here →. In part two of the series I discussed the elements parents need to focus on to avoid common mistakes when raising a creative child that that you can read here →. In this final part I will share some stories I’ve heard from parents and what you as a parent can do and expect when raising a creative child.
Tales from the front
Some of the most harrowing and destructive things I’ve heard from parents of creative children. Statements that destroy self worth:
“Susie will not dance because she has a brain.”
A parent called up the admissions program, where their child was accepted in a prestigious musical theater program, complaining they don’t know how this happened to their child.
“Don’t you think Billy needs a backup plan?”
The first two are just insulting, the third ignorant, because the parent has no real idea of the industry. While teaching at the prestigious Broadway Theatre Project, stage legend Tommy Tune was asked about having a backup plan. His response was, “To have a backup plan, is to plan for failure.”
So, What to do and expect
Get your child the best pre-professional training possible. This means working with people that have track records of success. This will involve more money and maybe traveling. Your child is worth it.
Realize your child might miss some school for these activities. But, we are talking about the educational track for a creative child. The correct education for a child like this is paramount for future success, just as math is for someone that becomes an engineer.
Expose your child to all aspects of the industry so they know what jobs are available outside of performing. Very few people make a living just performing while there are a ton of opportunities still within the creative/artistic professions.
Expose them to art and artists from the past and things they may not initially understand. It will give them a bigger palette to create from.
Do not think that classical training leads to contemporary success and do not try to shape your child’s training towards 19th century aesthetics and demands. Make sure it leads to success in today’s world.
Do not be a stage parent. Do not force your child into roles, etc., they did not earn on their own. Learning rejection is part of the education.
Let it be
In conclusion, accept your child’s inherent interests and talents and develop them accordingly. Support their self worth so when others may judge them as weird, they know what they have to offer to the world is just as, or more valuable. Accept they may like and say some things you may not get. Do not judge it unless it is truly self- destructive. Get them involved in truly useful training and programs
I hope you, as a parent of a creative child, found this series useful.