Child stars doomed from the start

Caroline Schaeffer
Contributing Writer 

Who hasn’t seen a tabloid in the last four years featuring a child star gone wild? Is anyone really surprised to see Lindsay Lohan’s mug shot gracing the cover of Us Weekly? And was anyone really surprised that Lohan eventually fell down this path? Child stars have gotten a bad rep as of late for misbehaving and getting caught. From Michael Jackson to Amanda Bynes, it seems as if no one is safe from public scrutiny. At the same time, it seems as if many child stars are under this public scrutiny because of their own doing. Why is it that formerly beloved child stars are only able to hold on to their fame through DUI’s, arrests and crotch shots? Why can’t they hold on to their fame by doing something respectable … like acting?

The problem for child stars is they made their fame and fortune when they were young, cute and easily influenced. Pouring billions of dollars on a 10-year-old and enforcing little rule over their day-to-day activities is just the perfect mix of mayhem that creates the Miley Cyruses of the world. Kids need structure and discipline in their lives, or they’ll spin out of control. If no one is teaching the young Lindsay Lohans that they can’t get anything they want whenever they want it, what’s going to stop them from having this same mindset in their adulthood? Hollywood is a world of excess wealth and power, as well as a lack of control and discipline; really, it should be no surprise the children who grow up in this world don’t grow up well.

Child stars often suffer from a sort of identity crisis when they can no longer perform in the roles that brought them fame and fortune. When Macaulay Culkin was too old to be left “Home Alone,” his career flat lined. Child stars have to struggle with the fact that many of the reasons they got jobs in the first place had more to do with their look and less to do with their actual ability to act. When the money they became accustomed to raking in suddenly disappears and their agents stop calling them with new gigs, it’s almost understandable that many turn to drugs, alcohol and partying to cope with their lack of identity. Child stars can’t remain children forever, and unfortunately for them, the odds of their mug shot adorning Us Weekly are much higher than their odds of tastefully gracing the cover of Vanity Fair.

Unfortunately, it seems as if most people who become famous early on in their lives are doomed to walk down a rocky road once puberty hits; whether they emerge to the other side relatively unscathed or not is a different story. Being exposed to a world of freedom and loose morals is bad for any person, especially easily influenced children. Put all that freedom into the eyes of a public just waiting for them to fall, and it’s no surprise that most child stars meet the general public’s expectations.

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