I have two children – a boy, Matt, who is 10 and a girl, Courtney, who is 7.
Matt has been an actor for three years now and has done several commercials. He has also appeared on a couple of sitcoms. He loves show business and is always after me and his agent to find more work for him. He’s getting a nice bank account for his future.
I have tried to get Courtney interested in acting. I take her on some of the auditions with Matt so she can see what happens (though some of the casting directors have said I shouldn’t bring her).
No matter what I do, I can’t make her feel like her brother does about acting.
I know that you have given psychic readings to so many show business personalities. Do you have any pointers on how to get a child motivated to act? Or should I just give up on it?
Dear Sweet Spirit Ginny,
I compliment you, most highly, on giving your son, who obviously adores show business, the help he needs, such as getting him to and from the casting directors and to his acting jobs. I also agree, however, with the casting directors who don’t want you to bring your daughter.
They obviously see that she is not interested but is instead either bored or frightened.
I believe that your son Matt realizes the help you are giving him and the financial opportunities you are giving him to pursue any career or education he desires in the future.
Trust me; I get many letters such as yours. Ginny, there is the term “stage mother,” which has gotten somewhat of a bad reputation. It isn’t necessarily a bad description in all cases. I’m sure Matt will always believe that you are a good “stage mother.” He will be indebted to you and pleased for what you have done for him.
But please do not cause your daughter Courtney to truly dislike what you are doing to her. Find out what she would like to pursue for fun and if she needs transportation or support, by all means assist her in this. You won’t be sorry.
I recently had an experience in the theatre that relates to your letter. Phyllis, one of the wonderful press people for the Mark Taper Forum, invited me to the opening of their latest production, The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams. I remember seeing it many years ago and enjoying it, so I was eager to see it again.
You should really see this current production, Ginny. It certainly is a wonderful night of theatre, featuring a stellar performance by Tony Award winner Judith Ivey, who plays Amanda Wingfield, mother of two adult children, Tom and Laura. You may well be familiar with the plot of this classic play.
Amanda represents all that is good yet also what is wrong about being a “stage mother” (although in this case they are not involved in the theatre). She loves her children immensely and would do anything for them. But she takes the love too far by trying to impose her plans and wishes on her son and daughter. Her great love is carried too far and she begins to feel she must dictate their lives, much to their dismay and discomfort.
Please know, Ginny, that there is a fine line between supporting and encouraging your children and forcing them in a direction they don’t wish to go, however good your intentions might be.
Good luck to you, Matt and Courtney. Keep in touch with me as I am most interested in the progress you are all making.
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