It is likely that at some point, you will consider whether or not modeling is fair on your child. This might be when you are just starting out, or it could be after some time, perhaps when your child is not enjoying modeling like they used to.
Child modeling is a very adult environment, with the pressure of timescales, and with money at stake. At any given shoot, there are a group of people for which this is their livelihood, and the success on the day depends in part on your kid.
You can’t force a child to model – that is never right. That is a line that one must never cross. But there are grey areas that make the decision to model or not less clear cut.
First and foremost, a child should be modeling because they enjoy it. That may sound like an obvious point, but there are many pushy parents out there who apparently do not agree.
Modeling should never be a job or a hardship to your child – it should be fun most of the time. If your kid likes getting his or her photo taken then you are clearly at a great advantage, because quite frankly, that is all they should be thinking about. You should be handling all of the logistical complications and stresses.
But does your kid have what it takes? If nothing else, a child who is forced to model simply will not make a good model. Every photographer or casting director is looking for a happy, confident and cooperative child. A kid that can get the job done in a straightforward and professional fashion is coveted in the industry.
There is a key consideration when it comes to considering modeling for your child – if he or she does not enjoy it, then they will probably not be a good model. This goes beyond considering the moral arguments for or against modeling when your child is not enthusiastic.
An important question to consider is how you should reward your child. You should strike a balance, because your child should never be working so that they are rewarded. That should not be the aim of child modeling.
Rewards can take many forms. For instance, photo shoots may well take you out of town, in which case you can make a day of it and perhaps see some local sights. The shoot itself can be an enjoyable experience, depending on what it is for and who you are working with. The point is that the modeling itself can be the reward.
Praise is free, and is something that you should use often. If your kid has done a good job, then of course you should tell them.
One thing is for certain – you should never bribe your child. There is nothing good that can come of bribing your kid, and as a parent or guardian, I am sure you know that already. If you bribe a child, they will keep pushing the boundaries, and you will have to give more and more. This struggle for power will ultimately end in tears.
Your child should never be enticed into modeling because of the promise of a reward at the end – they should truly want to do it. Of course, some days they will not, but that is completely different to an intrinsic dislike of modeling generally.
It is also important to consider how you handle the concept of money with your child. Many parents do not even tell their kids that they are earning money. This may seem unfair at first, but then I don’t believe it is right for a child to consider their modeling career a job, and that would inevitably be the case if they realised that they were earning a wage. And besides, some children are simply too young to understand the concept of money!
Many parents put the earnings towards a college fund or something similar, which can be an excellent way of introducing your child to the concept of money itself and how it is needed in order to provide an education and good quality of life.
Whether or not modeling is fair on your child depends entirely upon the circumstances. Only you can really answer that, by chatting to your child, considering their thoughts, and considering whether it is something they really want to do.
If your child is dead against the idea of modeling then you shouldn’t try to encourage them too much. It may just be a case of waiting a few months, or a couple of years, until their attitude has changed.
However, if your child has been modeling for some time but seems to have lost enthusiasm, you shouldn’t necessarily give up. It could just be a phase, or they could be unhappy because of rejection. Having said that, you should be attentive to their emotional state, and if it does seem that modeling is no longer fun for them on an intrinsic level, then you should strongly consider at least taking a break.