Most parents who are helping their child pursue an acting career dream of the day their daughter or son books a big role. Whether it be TV, film, Internet or theater, we all want to see our children flex their creative muscles and enjoy the experience. Go for it!….but proceed with caution. Not every child’s role comes stamped with a Disney G rating. In fact, many scripts deal with very adult issues and content. It is the parents’ discretion that determines what is appropriate for their child. The very nature of a script requires conflict. This is what makes the story worth the time and emotional investment of an audience and what gives the writer a platform for expressing something meaningful. High stakes drama often comes with high stakes adult content. Often the children are an integral part of that drama. For example, if the story is about an ugly custody battle, your child may be exposed to the underbelly of an adult world that you as a parent do not feel is appropriate at this point in your child’s development. Conversely, if you have a different vantage point, you may embrace this subject matter as an objective way for your child to learn.
Another issue that often comes up is profanity. Sometimes the child actor’s lines include profanity or the adult playing opposite him/her is required to swear in character. Some parents wish to shelter their child from this environment. Others do not take issue with it. So, how do you navigate this grey area of content? Ask questions. You are first and foremost the guardian and gatekeeper for your child. It is your right to ask the agent or casting director about content. Gather as much detail as you can and read the script if it is available to you. If it makes you uncomfortable, it is your prerogative to pass on the project. You are raising your child to be the best human being he or she can be. If the script compromises the lessons you wish your child to learn, it’s OK to say let’s wait for the next project. And don’t worry – there are lots and lots of projects out there.