Possibly in light of Amanda Bynes’ recent mental downfall over the past few months, the star of the 1996 kids movie Matilda has written an opinion piece on why child stars go crazy.
Mara Wilson, who’s now 25, broke her piece into seven reasons which detail what happens during child-stardom and how that light slowly fades away as you age. In reason number three, Wilson says that kids in the public eye want to break out and be free in public but aren’t allowed to.
Every teenager has someone they need to look up to and consider when they rebel. “But most of them have about five people they need to answer to when they screw up: teachers, school administrators, and their parents or guardians,” Wilson explains. “Maybe the police or other authorities, if they’re rowdy or growing up in a rough area, or a wise neighbor if they grew up in a sitcom.”
“Now imagine if you, as a kid, had millions of people watching your every move. First, there’s your own entourage: parents or guardians, agents, managers, producers, studio heads, executives of all kinds. And then there are the fans: kids your age who think they know you because they’ve seen your face on TV, parents who pray you stay squeaky clean because their children want to be you.”
“Having to live up to your fan base is a little like having to deal with a million strict parents who don’t actually love you. They reward you for your cuteness and cleverness, but are quick to judge and punish. And they do not want you ever to grow up. How do you react? The way any sullen teenager does: You get resentful, and as soon as you have the freedom, you act out.”
Wilson goes into great detail in her full article on Cracked and smartly avoids calling out any celebrities, but the gist of it is that all child/teenage stars have numerous causes for their insanity. Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears are just a few examples in our minds when we think about people who had it all in their kid or teenager years and then lost control.
Her advice for those who are young and want to get into the business? “Make sure it’s really your choice, get out of it when it stops being fun, and get an education.”