Had a good friend of mine, the parent of an actor, tell me last week that her in-laws are still skeptical about her son’s acting career and it gets on her nerves. They constantly, without any filter, tell her that they think she is wasting his time and wasting their money. They also think she is over-programming him with 3 acting classes a week and auditions here and there. She then asked me if I’m in the same boat or know anyone that is and how she should deal with it.
Another name for this post should be “Dealing with the Skeptics” or the “Naysayers” (really just Those that think acting is all Lindsey Lohans and Actors out of Work all waiting tables and generalize the industry based upon their ignorance.)
The answer I gave her is yes, I absolutely have dealt with this and still do. I have a couple of family members that are not 100% supportive. One of them has even said out loud, yes, with no filter, “I cannot wait when this phase is over for her.” When I heard it, to tell you the truth, I was pissed off. It’s like saying he hopes that Baseball is a phase, that Tennis is Phase, or that another passion is a phase. This same man would never complain if it were baseball or football or tennis. But, his understanding of what acting is, how it helps children long-term, the amazing benefits of it, and the potential of his own family member to do what he loves, is so limited, that he is ignorant and acting out of fear.
Personally, early on, I had an assumption that those people that questioned acting, the auditions, the classes, the workshops, would eventually come to terms with it and they would stop making little comments. I thought they would just be quiet and at the very least learn to understand it really is a passion for our child. But, some of them, they keep at it, still acting out of fear of what they don’t know. Yes, even after a couple of years, some don’t back down. For me, I do see some less talk of it though. So maybe it just takes longer than 2 years for them to lean in.
So what should you do when they start commenting? I gave my friend this type of response:
“First of all, you do have to let it roll off your back or just laugh out loud at them (see it as humor). You can try to educate them by having them come to some acting classes, showcases or workshops with you. If they cannot come to those things, then maybe send them to my blog “RaisingAChildActor.com” and send them to the post about The Long Term Benefits of Acting.”
“You can also choose (although this is not me) to fight them on it. Whatever you have to do in order to get them to really listen to you. Then explain what a dream is. What passion is. Explain to them why your child is really doing it.” Even better, have your child tell them that. I had mine talk to some in may family, and that helped quite a bit for a few of them.
Overall though, they may make little remarks here and there, still, even after you talk to them. If that’s the case, understand first, you are not alone – feel free to comment to me anytime in the comments section at the bottom of this page – here to help. A lot of parents of actors get this smack from people they know. The ones that are able to ignore or educate their friends or family, are the ones that don’t let it get to them. You have to find a way to, your way, to not take it to heart.
BTW, one last piece of major advice on this. Check yourself for how much you talk to your friends and family about your child’s acting career. Do you mention it a lot? Do you tell them each time you talk to them on the phone? Do you tell your family and friends every time your child goes out for an audition? I know all of that may be exciting for you, but, I highly recommend cutting that way back. Try to keep auditions to just you, your child, your spouse and maybe your best friend. No one else really needs to know about every acting thing. Don’t give them that fuel. If they land something, of course, celebrate, share etc…But, for each audition, for each class, and for each workshop, not everyone in your FB or Twitter or Email needs to know about it.
So, in summation of the above, send your skeptics this link “Benefits of Acting – It’s Not Just for Acting” and stop sharing every little piece of the acting journey with them. Also, laugh at them if they try to get under your skin, they don’t get it.
Oh, and does this ever get any easier? With some family members and friends, nope. They make up their mind as to what they “Think” the acting industry is and then they tell you how they feel about it, and that’s them.
But, remember, this is not their life, but yours and your child’s life.
I’m here to fully support you and if anything like the above is making you nutty, feel free to comment at the very end of this page in the comments section so we can help support you further. We are in this together!