Stage Parents
Dr. Phil talks with parents who are determined to have their children make it as beauty queens and actresses.
Michelle's 2-year-old twins, Lena and GiGi are on a TV sitcom. "They act like 2-year-olds. I don't look at them and go, 'Wow, are they talented," says Michelle of her daughters who got their first acting job when they were 6 months old, and are now on the sitcom Reba. They only had one audition before they landed the job with Reba, and now they travel once a week from their home in Las Vegas to the set in Los Angeles.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we think our kids would be on Reba," says Tony, Michelle's husband. "We thought our kids were
cute and we started doing a little investigating on the Internet, and the next thing I know I found a manger." Although it's exciting, Tony does have some concerns. "We worry about whether we're going to exploit them. We worry about their safety," he says.
Michelle agrees. "The potential for them to make a lot of money actually scares me," Michelle admits. "You want the best for your children, but you think of the repercussions. I don't want anyone to think, 'Oh, she's pushing her kids out there. She's using them,'" Michelle explains. "There's been incidences where we're coming back from L.A. and the kids are tired and they're screaming, and we think to ourselves, 'Are we kind of abusing our kids?'" She asks Dr. Phil, "Should we continue pursuing anything else as they get older? Will it affect them down the road?"Dr. Phil acknowledges that the girls enjoy acting, and asks Michelle and Tony why they are concerned about keeping their girls in the spotlight.
Michelle says she worries because the attention is all superficial. "Is it a false sense of affection and attention? That worries me sometimes. And should we move our whole family to
California to make it easier?" she says.
"We have a 15-year-old daughter at home as well, so that comes into play," Tony says, noting that she now has an interest in acting.
Michelle doesn't want the girls to resent her if she decides they should no longer be in the spotlight.
Dr. Phil offers his opinion. "Children at that age live in a time warp. The only time is now. At this age, or even going into the future for at least a few years, if this ends and you replace it with soccer or drill team or something that they really had a lot of fun with, I guarantee you that they will just sail right on," Dr. Phil explains. "And you can't parent to avoid resentment from your children."Dr. Phil asks Paul, "When babies are on TV shows, what's the likelihood that they're going to be stars when they grow up?"

Paul says the chances are very small. He notes that it may be tough on the kids when a show comes to an end, but the twins should do fine. "They're so young, very little damage will be done if you keep your feet on the ground," he says to Michelle and Tony.
Dr. Phil notes that a lot of these child stars, especially babies,
are stars because they're babies and they're cute. "It's not because they're actors, he says. "They're like set decoration."
"You're right, they are," Michelle agrees.
"It can be a wonderful thing if you keep it balanced, which you guys are," Dr. Phil says. "Don't worry about their resentment if you stop."
"I think after Reba we're done," Michelle says.
Still, Dr. Phil acknowledges that there can be downsides. For example, many child stars have become addicted to drugs and have drinking problems. "There's just a lack of adjustment that happens because it goes too long, because it is a false world," he says. "Particularly when you get to be 12, 13 and 14 and all of a sudden it's over, that's a long way to fall."