How to encourage a 10 year old to be realistic without crushing their dreams? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 05-17-2011, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, my 10 year old has gotten it in her head that she wants to be a model, which, while I don't agree with it, is fine enough... lately, though, it's gotten to the point where she says things like "It doesn't matter if I turn my homework in on time because I'm not going to college" even though I have assured her that even a successful model only has a good 10 or 15 year career at the most. I don't want to typify her as a lazy child, since most have a tendency to be, but it seems like the main problem is she doesn't really want to have to work hard at anything, if she's not naturally talented at something she writes it off. I have done my best to instill some sort of a work ethic in her, by paying her ample allowance for the few basic daily chores she's asked to do, which she rarely does willingly. She should know the value of money and the fact that you have to work for it, but I don't know where to go from here.

 

I don't want to crush her self-esteem by telling her to set her sights lower, but I have sugar coated everything as thinly as possible at this point. She does not hear reason, and it's a systemic problem that will set her up to fail if she doesn't understand that having a career is more than just getting paid for what you like to do/are good at doing. If she were still interested in school, I wouldn't be as worried, but she only wants to be a model, a singer, or an artist, all things you have to a) work at hard for little or no money to become succesful, and b) nothing you would go to college for anyway, so she sees no point in higher education. I am aware that her attitudes will change as she gets older, but if she slacks off now, she won't have the foundation or opportunities to access the education and resources she needs to succeed. She wants to go to a magnet middle school, so applications are due in 10 months for 6th grade, and they will be going off her 4th grade TAKS results as the testing standard. Her current school doesn't give grades so she's already at a disadvantage there. Basically, if I don't get her to care now, it's going to be a lot harder for her to get back on track in the future. The school she wants to go to only let in a handful of 7th and 8th graders since their 6th grade retention rate is so high. The public schools in the city we live in are overcrowded and lack even basic resources and we can't afford private school so she really needs to go to this school. She has never been in public school, and the culture shock alone would probably do enough damage by itself.


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#2 of 17 Old 05-17-2011, 02:53 PM
 
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Doing well in school has other rewards.

Being able to have a smart conversation with smart people.

To know when you are being cheated or when someone is bull***ing you.

To gain other knowledge that makes you a well rounded and more interesting person.

To be a good role model to other aspiring young people.

***************************
Maybe point out to her women who have pretty faces in the Hollywood industry who have higher degrees?
http://www.listal.com/list/celebrities-with-degrees

And rinse and repeat about not depending on your looks to get you by in life. Nancy Griffith wrote a song about that.
http://www.oldielyrics.com/lyrics/nanci_griffith/drive-in_movies_and_dashboard_lights.html

Not to mention former models and actresses who have had drug and alcohol issues from living the fast
life. Sorry, I can't seem to google a list of those for you but I'm sure there's a few.
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#3 of 17 Old 05-17-2011, 03:53 PM
 
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My advice is to let her try modeling now. You can submit to reputable companies with snapshots. If the take her, she'll start going out for go-sees and the like. Some kids love it but the reality of lots of rejection because you are the wrong size, wrong hair color, wrong look. When you do get a job it's a lot of waiting around and not always fun. Sometimes you work hard only to end up on the cutting room floor. It will at least give her an idea of what the industry is. My own kids do theatre which is much kinder and while they love the chance to work, my DS knows he doesn't want to do it as an adult. My DD wants to be in the arts but knows being and adult pro actor is not a lifestyle she wants. My DD only spent one day on set to realize she'd much rather be in theatre than tv or film. If she's really closing doors because of this modeling idea, i say teach her what it is.
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#4 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 09:02 AM
 
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I think the above post (having her see what modeling is really like) is a good start. Also, it might be wise to work with her to research just how many aspiring models become the next Iman or Heidi Klum, vs how many end up modeling for WalMart, et al, vs how many don't get anywhere at all. Perhaps encourage her to research what sort of education these top models have (Iman, for example, speaks multiple languages and studied at the University of Nairobi). Try to help her understand that many, many your women get taken in by unscrupulous agents, etc. - and it's important to have a good sense of business (which an education can help with) so if she DOES make it big, she gets to keep what she earns and not have it stolen from her.

 

Just some off-the-top-of-my-head thoughts...

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#5 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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Just to add, artists/performers DO go to college and they'd be stupid not too. There was a time when you could become a star with no training but the competition is SOOOO fierce now. You need every bit of an edge you can get and college offers you training AND some experience that is far more respected than community theatre.  

 

I also wanted to say that she is also only 10. It's not unusual for kids this age to decide they want to be something either unrealistic or have a real misinterpretation of what it really entails. The problem isn't so much that she wants to be a model as much as she has decided for herself that modeling takes no education or hard work. If you don't want to go the professional modeling route to teach her, you might try a quality youth theatre. My kids do this too and believe me, it's hard work... sometimes 20 hours a week, worn through dance shoes, high level of responsibilities, ect. It's also a blast but it would clue her in a bit.


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#6 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 04:59 PM
 
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I think the problem isn't the question you asked. Encouraging her isn't the problem. Helping her develop a work ethic is the problem.

 

I'd start with chores and homework. You need a whole new strategy. Since the school year is almost over, I'd tackle chores. Clear expectations and consequences,  and no nagging. Just let her know what is expected, and then let her take the consequences when she doesn't bother. This isn't about money, my kids don't get paid for chores. Every member of a family needs to contribute effort for things to flow smoothly.
 

As far as the homework thing, my kids wouldn't have access to TV, computers or MP3 players if they weren't getting their work turned in. It's just that simple.

 

It doesn't matter what she wants to do when she grows up, or whether or not she goes to college. She needs to learn to take care of herself and fulfill her responsibilities. Home work is just one of her responsibilities for now.

 

But I don't think that explaining to a 10 year old that their modeling career will be over by the time they are 35 is going to help. She thinks that is REALLY old. I'd just focus on that the fact that she's got to do what she's got to do right now.

 

(one of mine is currently planning on being a pastry chef, but she still does her algebra homework. Part of our line is that since she isn't planning on college, her education is especially important now. Being well rounded is a virtue. Learning the most she can NOW because she isn't planning on doing it later)

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#7 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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Why are you paying her an allowance for a "few" chores she does reluctantly?  I pay my older 2 an allowance for many chores (putting away laundry, babysitting, loading/ unloading dishwasher, vacuuming, general picking up, cleaning bathrooms, taking scraps to the mulch pile, picking up sticks from the yard, taking out garbage) and I've told them that if they complain, roll their eyes, do a lousy job  etc then they don't get paid.  A good attitude should be part of her "job" if you're going to pay her.  Even if she has to fake it or force it, because sometimes in life you just have to be polite and do the work whether you want to or not.  They also are not allowed certain privileges like video games or TV unless they complete their homeschool on time and at a reasonable level of proficiency.

 

As far as being an artist/ model/ singer, I've told my kids that those are hobbies, not careers, and while they can pursue those interests, they should never expect to make a living off of them, and they need a "stable" career to depend on.  I have no idea if it sinks it but at least I've done my part to warn them.  I constantly emphasize education and study to them-- again I don't know if it sinks in, but at least I've tried.

 

Why do you think you will shatter her self esteem?  It sounds like she has quite a high opinion of herself and sense of entitlement.  If you want to set boundaries, set them.  You're the parent, not her!

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#8 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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I have to disagree with you. There are many great careers in the arts including being an artist/model/singer. They are difficult but that doesn't make them "non-careers." What's smart is to expose artistically motivated kids the very wide range of arts careers. I was a professional stage manager for many years... had a great income, traveled, always had a job. I also had a degree in theatre. My eldest loves theatre and I suspect will go into it in some way but she is not only performing, she's on the student board of a major regional theatre, she's started her own youth Shakespeare company, she does backstage work, she is a paid aide in a theatre program and helps teach.

 

I just feel telling your children that the arts doesn't lead to careers can really back-fire on you as obviously, it's not true. Plenty of people make a career in the arts... some on stage, some behind stage, some in offices, ect. I don't think it's neccessary to tell a 10-year-old arts are only good for hobbies but instead take that interest and expand on how MANY different sorts of jobs can come from those interests like a child who wants to be an artist can find a stable career in graphic design, interior design, animation, ect.
 

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Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

Why are you paying her an allowance for a "few" chores she does reluctantly?  I pay my older 2 an allowance for many chores (putting away laundry, babysitting, loading/ unloading dishwasher, vacuuming, general picking up, cleaning bathrooms, taking scraps to the mulch pile, picking up sticks from the yard, taking out garbage) and I've told them that if they complain, roll their eyes, do a lousy job  etc then they don't get paid.  A good attitude should be part of her "job" if you're going to pay her.  Even if she has to fake it or force it, because sometimes in life you just have to be polite and do the work whether you want to or not.  They also are not allowed certain privileges like video games or TV unless they complete their homeschool on time and at a reasonable level of proficiency.

 

As far as being an artist/ model/ singer, I've told my kids that those are hobbies, not careers, and while they can pursue those interests, they should never expect to make a living off of them, and they need a "stable" career to depend on.  I have no idea if it sinks it but at least I've done my part to warn them.  I constantly emphasize education and study to them-- again I don't know if it sinks in, but at least I've tried.

 

Why do you think you will shatter her self esteem?  It sounds like she has quite a high opinion of herself and sense of entitlement.  If you want to set boundaries, set them.  You're the parent, not her!



 


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#9 of 17 Old 05-18-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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I have to agree that there ARE careers to be made in the arts. However, there also needs to be an understanding that for every one person who "makes it", there are thousands who don't. It is always wise to have a back-up. A good education provides that.

 

My son is currently at a conservatory attached to a university, majoring in Music Comp. At the same time, he is getting a solid education. Which, should composition not work out for him, he can still put to good use in changing to a different career.

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#10 of 17 Old 05-19-2011, 01:03 AM
 
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I would start with letting her 'test the waters'.  If she wants to be a model thats great but models also need to know how to act and perform.  Is there a local dance studio or theater she can take some classes at?  Its not like you just head out to the runway  ya know??   Have her try a theater class, a dance class, a singing class.  Try being on stage, whats its like being up there, reciting lines, remembering where to stand etc in a room full of peers.  Its much easier to stumble and practice at age 10 in the privacy of a closed practice studio instead of an open casting call.

 

OH- and the classes are contingent on behavior, chores, grades etc.


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#11 of 17 Old 05-19-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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Tell your daughter that this is the more typical experience. I knew this kid growing up. He was dying to be an actor. His divorced parents insisted he get a college degree. He did.. in business. He moves to LA minutes after graduating college and waits tables in the trendy areas of town and goes to auditions. He's done okay. Not stellar, just okay. But he is very happy. And his parents are happy he has a "just in case" college degree. He's also not afraid to look over his own contracts.

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#12 of 17 Old 05-20-2011, 09:43 AM
 
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Great thread.  I have a hunch that what many successful models have in common is good business sense and they work hard.  I think what Linda said is spot on, and if your daughter wants to be successful, regardless of her field of interest, she needs to have a good work ethic. Right now her job is to get chores and school work done. 


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#13 of 17 Old 05-20-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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This IS a great thread. This is something my DH and I butt heads on. Our DS1 has very lofty goals.... And some of them are just CRAZY. And I'm always torn about where I try and re-direct him to something more attainable/reasonable/possible and where I just encourage him to dream. I haven't figured it out yet. I'm still working on it. 

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#14 of 17 Old 05-20-2011, 10:19 AM
 
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Quote:
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This IS a great thread. This is something my DH and I butt heads on. Our DS1 has very lofty goals.... And some of them are just CRAZY. And I'm always torn about where I try and re-direct him to something more attainable/reasonable/possible and where I just encourage him to dream. I haven't figured it out yet. I'm still working on it. 


I always took my kids to the library and got them stack of books on their new "life plans". Took field trips with their new passion in mind. Or found a friend in my wider circle who actually did such things. Oh, and Imax films have covered a wide topic of stuff, too. There's a wonderful one about the Living Sea when one of mine wanted to be a marine biologist.
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#15 of 17 Old 05-20-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


I always took my kids to the library and got them stack of books on their new "life plans". Took field trips with their new passion in mind. Or found a friend in my wider circle who actually did such things. Oh, and Imax films have covered a wide topic of stuff, too. There's a wonderful one about the Living Sea when one of mine wanted to be a marine biologist.


 

yes, I don't think I've ever told my kids they *couldn't* do something, and some of the wild ideas have taught them, and me, a lot. For a while, one of my DDs really wanted to be a cow girl/horse woman when she grew up, so she took riding lessons and we researched what people who work full time with cows and horses actually do all day, and we found out that one can major in Equine Science at some universities.


Her desire passed, but that passion taught her a lot. There's a lot to learn from what ever they are interested in. And people really do an amazing number of wacky things and make money at them.

 

For a  child interested in singing and art as well as modeling, there are TONS of possibilities.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#16 of 17 Old 05-22-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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*nods to much of the above*

 

In the end, it isn't a matter of "getting her to set her sights lower" so much, as much of this would be harmless dreaming/fantasizing (how many of us do what we thought we would when we were ten?) if she weren't refusing to do things that she needs to do.  Ultimately what is needed right now is for you to tell her "Fine.  You can pursue your dreams of modeling but you absolutely must do your homework and these applications because I'm your mother and I said so and that's final."  You know what's good for her and she doesn't.  Don't let her run the show.  Perhaps make going to certain things she wants to attend for modeling contingent on her completing her homework or getting good grades, if she's attending any such classes or shows.

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#17 of 17 Old 05-23-2011, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses.

 

First of all, I have an art degree, as does DD's grandmother and father (he even has a master's in art ed), so I speak for all of us when I say our art degrees may have been helpful as artists but in no way helped us along a career path. I tell her that I don't want her to make the same mistake I did in going to college for something that will likely not lead to a career. There are plenty of programs and informal classes you can take to better your skills as an artist, but you certainly don't need a 4 year degree, especially when there are so many people in your family with the skills to teach you how to make art without spending any money on it.

 

Second, she has been doing theater camps for the last 6 years. She has a role in a film that Margaret Cho is co-directing, shooting tomorrow, and honestly it's been a huge pain in my butt because she was excited at first but now she doesn't want to do it, because it's a non-speaking role. I do think entitlement is a large part of the issue here, and I absolutely loathe people with a huge sense of entitlement, so I'm not really sure how she ended up this way. I have always taught her that everything is earned, not handed to you, but all that goes out the window the 8 days a month she's with her father and step-mom. Everything I do gets undone by them. I guess the major issue here is that she shirks every expectation I have of her when she goes to their house, and then acts like I'm the one being unfair. All she has to do is load/unload the dishwasher (with the help of her 13 y.o. sister), help out with the animals by feeding and cleaning up after them, folding her laundry and her 1/4 of the towels, and once a week or so she takes out the recycling or dusts or does some other general house cleaning. I pay her $20 a month, which she does not get all of if she fights with her sister or doesn't do a good job.

 

I guess what I'm dealing with here is a particularly willfull child with something of a chip on her shoulder, which is why I am careful not to do anything that may damage her self esteem... She already feels like what she's asked to do is too much and she can't do it by herself, but she should be able to, as an almost 5th grader. I never had this many issues with the older one, and I think part of it is "little sister syndrome", where she's had someone else do things for her her whole life and now she can't deal...


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