How to encourage your child to succeed without being overbearing

We know it all too well. If this scene is vaguely familiar with your own parenting style, nod discreetly in agreement. “American Idol’s” runner up, David Archuleta, dealt with an overbearing stage dad. Seriously to the point where his proud papa Jeff was banned from the set! Or how about LL’s (as in Lindsay Lohan) little sis, Ali, who is striving for stardom under the watchful and slightly-overbearing eye of mom Dina?

Boy with Soccer Award

Whether your kids are trying out for the soccer team, lead in the school play or fighting off a mediocre report card it’s important to support them while watching them fall every now and then so they learn how to pick themselves up and start all over again.

It’s a mad, mad world

Kyra Sedgwick, Golden Globe actress and star of TNT’s The Closer, explains the heartache of being a stage parent in an industry that’s based a lot on looks — which may engender feelings of self-doubt in kids. “It’s so insecure — which as mothers you can understand: You don’t want your kids to struggle ever. You never want them to be told, ‘You’re not going to get the job because you’re xyz.’ You never want them to feel bad ever, even for a day.”

As for how Kyra and her husband, Kevin Bacon, keep their kids grounded when it comes to acting? They had a rule to never let their kids enter the profession until they were 18. “Well, that got blown away,” she says when they worked on a project and needed to cast a girl to play a younger Kyra. They spoke with their daughter Sosie, and worked out dates. “On the second day she said, ‘I think I’m over this whole acting thing.’ So maybe that was the best thing that could’ve happened.”

Keep it real

And acting isn’t the only area where parents keep it real. While some parents may be focusing on the money, fulfilling their own desires rather than their children, or being overly involved in general, for Elvira Grau, it’s all about raising a well-rounded child. Her 7 year-old daughter Leanna is a model and it’s just another aspect of the child’s life but isn’t the primary focus.

“I don’t accept every job for her,” says her mom who has turned down assignments in the past. While she’s done big shoots like a Benetton campaign and knows how to professionally conduct herself on set, Leanna is a well-adjusted child. As a momager, Elvira also stays down-to-earth when it comes to handling the business aspect, too. “I’m not one of those moms who harasses their agent.”

Overall, it seems the secret to their success is Elvira’s ability to keep things in perspective unlike other parents who may be canoodling their kid the entire time by pushing them further when their heart’s not in it. On the contrary, Leanna, the youngest of four children, enjoys it plus modeling bolsters her confidence which parlays itself into other areas of her life. “She is a leader in her classroom and is independent.”

A-Rod v. little leaguer

Elvira also makes sure modeling isn’t the sole focus of Leanna’s life and it’s juggled into the busy parenting life of her life as the owner of Space Odyssey USA, a galaxy space for parties. For instance Leanna worked from 9 am to 3 pm one hot summer day in Manhattan, and then went to camp later that day in New Jersey.

As so many parents push their kids sometimes they have unrealistic expectations. She asks, “Do you want an A-Rod or do you want your child?” For instance, overbearing parents could be setting high and unrealistic expectations and pressure whether it’s acting, modeling, sports, anything. “I just want her to go to school, graduate from high school, attend a good college… I want to raise well-rounded and grounded children.”

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