02/07/08 — Tragic youths: Planning on a showbiz career for your child? Think twice.

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Tragic youths: Planning on a showbiz career for your child? Think twice.

Maybe there are a few stories out there of child stars who ended up being healthy, happy and rich. You might even know a few people yourself who have managed to keep their children grounded — even with fame or wealth as their inheritance.

But recent weeks, months and years of stories of people under the age of 30 who ended up messed up, dead or in serious need of therapy seem to suggest that perhaps the best dream for your little boy or girl might not be going to Hollywood and becoming a star.

And then there are the children who get into the entertainment industry very young, have a hit record or show, and then must figure out how to live their lives without adoring fans and an unlimited bank account. They end up being the fodder for the new celeb-reality television shows.

Both are just as tragic.

There have been so many heart-wrenching stories lately that many people are wondering if perhaps there might not be enough people watching out for the interests of those who are gifted with a talent that makes them so popular, so rich, so fast.

In some cases, the people these child stars need to be protected from are their overbearing and greedy parents whose first priority is the money they bring in and not their child star’s health or happiness.

There will be another tragedy — you can make book on that. The real question is, are we going to learn anything from the sadness and illness we have already witnessed?

Maybe we ought to encourage our children to look elsewhere for their idols — and keep a closer eye on some of those we already have.

Published in Editorials on February 7, 2008 11:06 AM