When it comes to child modeling you may think that overbearing moms and spoiled kids are the biggest obstacles; but the truth is there are many variables to consider. There can be both positive and negative effects, including eating disorders, self-esteem issues and the perceived over-emphasis on appearance that a modeling career can bring. However, modeling can also be a very positive influence on a child if properly guided. There are tremendous benefits, including the ability to deal with competition, overcoming shyness and following instructions. Young girls also learn to become leaders and often go on to have better speaking and interpersonal skills.
Child modeling is very competitive and there are often more models than there are jobs. Many agencies receive hundreds of submissions every month and only a small fraction go on to receive commercial modeling assignments. This may seem a bit depressing, but there is always a chance that your child can become successful in this industry. Even if an actual paid modeling gig is not received there are still a great deal of benefits to being a model. The key is to be consistent and attend casting calls, beauty pageants, keep an up to date portfolio and apply for as many jobs as possible. You may also consider applying your child for an online modeling contest. This is an additional way to have some fun, gain exposure and perhaps win cash!
Recently the media has depicted child modeling as a dangerous and potentially harmful activity. However this is not the case. Despite the hype, research from North Carolina State University shows that competition can actually be beneficial, helping your child hone problem-solving skills and learn to win and lose gracefully. The key is for parents to “stress the basics of fair play, good sportsmanship and putting forth good effort.” In fact, modeling can teach children many valuable life lessons – but proper guidance is from parents is essential to making this work.
Many children struggle with shyness and this can be a barrier later in life. It affects the ability of the child to make friends and even land a job as they become an adult. Modeling can help a child out of her shell and learn to become comfortable working with others. This includes competing, working with photographers and attending casting calls and working with other models in beauty pageants. Each event can be an opportunity to teach your child to speak clearly, walk tall and smile. These skills will help your child throughout her life.
Children can also learn valuable skills in regards to money management. As a child model there is money to be made and you can reward your child with a percentage of her earnings from each modeling job and this will teach her how to save money and spend it responsibly. Learning the value of hard work and the importance of saving and spending is another important lesson that will serve your child as she becomes an adult. This lesson also reinforces the importance of a good work ethic and the benefits from doing a good job.
As we all know young children often have difficulty following directions and this is a very important lesson. In the modeling industry models are expected to work together, wait their turn and listen carefully to the photographer’s instructions. Each casting call, photo shoot and modeling event have different requirements and your child will have to adjust to each situation. Be sure to compliment your child on her photo shoots, not by referring to her looks, but by praising her attentiveness to direction and willingness to listen. Soon your child will gain a great sense of pride from her accomplishments and this leads to a child that is able to follow directions and adapt quickly to any situation.
The ability to handle rejection is also a very important lesson that every child must learn. There are times in everyone’s life that we experience this and it is important to learn to accept it, work harder and succeed. Rejection may seem like a harsh lesson for a child to learn, but it’s crucial to understanding the concept and learning to cope. If learned correctly rejection leads to the desire to work even harder. It is important to praise your child regardless of the outcome and let her know that you are proud of her.
Young children can also benefit from the competition of modeling by learning to relax. We have all been under stress in our lives and it is important to understand how to handle that stress. This lesson will help your child in school and in work. When mistakes happen, be a relaxed role model and don’t overreact. Instead, encourage having fun while trying your best. Practice breathing techniques focuses on positive thoughts. Learning to cope with stress is a very important lesson that will help your child throughout her entire life.
Contrary to what many may think modeling is not all about looks. It is about confidence and the ability to conduct yourself with grace and self-esteem. Children look to adults for guidance, therefore if you emphasize looks, your child will too. Instead, focus on being professional – saying “please”” and “thank you,” being punctual, waiting quietly and listening. Believe it or not behavior is often more important than appearance. Don’t be pushy, pester the casting agents or criticize the other children. Avoid focus on landing the job or online modeling contest, and help your child enjoy the experience for what it is.
It is also important to avoid common stereotypes when it comes to a model’s accepted appearance. Most people think models are skinny and to much emphasis on this can lead to eating disorders. Instead focus on healthy eating and exercise habits. Teach your child to be proud of herself and to respect her body. This will lead to a healthy self image that will increase her chance of a happy and successful life.
It is also important to always be aware of your motives in regards to child modeling. Is this your dream or your child’s? It is ok to provide motivation and even a little ‘push’, but make sure you let your child know that the goal of becoming a model must be her dream and you love her regardless of her decision in this matter.