Stories of rags to riches models “discovered” on the street or in a shopping mall can leave any kid’s eyes full of stars. All too often, parents fall for these modeling fairytales as well. Good parents know that children should be allowed to follow their dreams and interests, but modeling can be a dream that quickly turns into a nightmare. Though no parent should discourage a child’s dreams, protecting your child is one of your most important roles as a parent, and allowing your child to model can be catastrophic for your child’s academic performance, self esteem, and emotional well-being. Here are five reasons you should not let your child model.
It Interferes with Academic Performance
Extracurricular pursuits like ballet, art, sports, and scouting are all designed for children and thus tailored to the scheduling dictates of the school day and school year. Modeling, however, is a profession done during the working day, which means that if your child is going to model, she’s going to have to miss some school to do so. If your child becomes a successful model, she could miss a substantial amount of school, which can have an incredibly negative impact on her academic performance and education. Moreover, allowing your child to miss school for modeling instill in her the idea that appearance is more important than education. When your child focuses on modeling, she is also taking time away from focusing on meaningful skills and pursuits that can serve her for the rest of her life.
It Teaches the Wrong Values
Modeling is, perhaps, the only profession or hobby that does not require any special skills. Though models do have to learn how to pose and dress correctly, beyond this modeling only requires having a certain look. For your child to become a model, she has to build her entire self-image and concept of success around something for which she has no control: her appearance. Rather than focusing on developing meaningful skills, your child will learn that what is most important is the way other people judge her.
It Requires Lots of Rejection
All kids are indisputably cute. It’s why adults are so drawn to them and feel the need to care for them. Consequently, most kids who try modeling will have at least one success and be considered cute enough to get into at least one advertisement or publication. This does not, however, mean your child is on her way to the top. More frequently, modeling is the story of lots and lots of rejection, even for kids who become successful models. Being repeatedly rejected on the basis of her looks can be incredibly traumatic for your child.
It Can Destroy Mental Health
Eating disorders run rampant in the modeling world, and every model almost by definition has to be focused on appearance and weight. This is damaging to your child and can lead to anorexia, bulimia, drug problems, and depression at shockingly young ages. The effect on your child’s self esteem can have lifelong negative impacts and the promise of a lucrative modeling career that, for almost all models never happens, is simply not worth this risk to your child’s well-being.
It Damages Peer Relationships
Even in the very best case scenario, where your child becomes a successful model, her life will be profoundly different from her peers, making it difficult for her to develop normal peer relationships. These peer relationships are an important part of development and the lack of them can be incredibly harmful to your child. Even if your child does not become successful, she may be judged by other children who believe she has no skills other than her appearance.
While the promise of fame and fortune can be exciting, modeling is simply not worth the emotional risk it poses to your child. If your child wants to be a model, encourage her to develop her other interests and then allow her to choose for herself when she is an adult.