Kudos to Drew Barrymore for her candid and revealing self-portrait in Wildflower, her compelling new book. Wildflower should be required reading for parents with children interested in pursuing a career in music and entertainment. Barrymore describes her wild ride through childhood and adolescence as a young professional in the world of movies: "When you're going to nightclubs at seven years old, and not going to school... it all got really out of control."
We can learn a lot from Drew Barrymore's experience and the courage it took to regain her balance over many years. In her recent interview with People magazine, Barrymore concedes that she would be "one hundred percent supportive" if her children wanted to act -- however, she would require them to wait until they are eighteen.
Her experience is a cautionary tale for all families, not just those in the world of showbiz. There's a lot to be said about your child having a regular, "kid-first" childhood. A child's health is a paramount priority, so a prudent approach to the business, including partnering with your child and family, is indispensable.
Many parents look at similar child stars' experiences and run for the hills. They refuse to allow their children near the showbiz world, which is fraught with temptations. If not in the company of responsible adults who have their best interests in mind, how can children make prudent decisions and resist dangerous opportunities? Fair question. There are children who are extremely talented and who greatly desire a career as an actor or singer, and for every negative about the showbiz world, there are many positives. How can you encourage your talented child to pursue something he or she is passionate about, while helping him or her maintain a solid footing in life?
Parents must carefully consider a variety of issues before undertaking this journey. There are practicalities to think about -- schooling, other family members, finances, parents' time? -- as well as trying to figure out the best way to educate your child in the ways of the world and insulate him or her against temptations, maintaining a sense of normalcy in what could be a very abnormal childhood.
Drew Barrymore learned these things on her own, and we salute her for it. Parents, if your children want to explore a career in showbiz, please inform yourself so you can serve as a responsible guide to ensure your talented youngsters experience only the positive side of that world.