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Topic: Today's Parenting
Message: Posted by: Wilf Birchall (Feb 6, 2005 03:41PM)
Do any of you guys who've been entertainers for many years find a declining standard of parenting these days?

Do you ever realise that the lack of manners sometimes shown by the 'Little Darlings' is really not their fault, but the fault of parents; and maybe the standards of discipline you are trying to apply are sadly outdated?

Wilf Birchall (not Holmes - ha ha).
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 6, 2005 03:45PM)

You will find that in most cases when the child is bad or misbehaving, it is often because the parents are the exact same way or often times are worse. Kids learn manners and respect and discipline from observing others. If they are around parents that do not have these values and to not show the child right from wrong, then the child grows up being the "terror" child we sometimes run into at a show.

It is sad that this is the case. This is one reason why I co-started the Philadelphia area SYM over 10 years ago. This is a way for kids to get out and have fun and get involved WITH their parents so that they can stay out of trouble and learn values through a hobby.

Message: Posted by: Bill Scarlett (Feb 7, 2005 12:28PM)
I agree that parenting standards seem to have declined over the last decade or so. I get tired of hearing parents complain that their child won't behave when they never say the word "no" to the child. Too many parents want to be their kids best friend rather than a parent. I think, if they really want to do the best for their child, they should set clear, loving, limits.

I have two children myself and some of my less effective friends tell me how lucky I am to have such well behaved kids. I want to tell them that luck has nothing to do with it. It takes a lot of hard work to be a good parent.
Message: Posted by: Rudolph McGuinness (Feb 7, 2005 01:03PM)
Well what a great place, and my first posting, so what can I say? I agree with everything said here 100 per cent.

Do any of you know if other IOM entertainers are on this forum? Cheers Rudy.
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Feb 8, 2005 03:23PM)
Thousands of years ago Socrates complained about 'kids today' and how they were much ruder then when he was a child.

The fact is that standards of behaviour and parenting change over time. Parents today who are perhaps lax on disipline and 'saying no' are often far better at enabling their children to think for themselves then when we were growing up.

People change and society changes and those who do not adapt with it

We can't change others but we can change ourselves.
Message: Posted by: AragorntheMagician (Feb 8, 2005 03:48PM)
There's a famous letter from a Senator to a friend of his complaining about his, the Senator's, son. In it the Senator says that his son is no good, lazy, just wants to party, won't study, etc. It was a Roman Senator and the letter was written over 2000 years ago.
With that in mind I started doing B'Day parties in 1964 at age 12. There has been an erosion in common curtesy and manners. And I for one blame our TV Babysister culture. Parents don't seem to do things with their kids not even to the whole family sitting down for dinner and conversation. Many shows the kids watch show Adults as Complete Idiots. I was really disappointed by the recent remake of "Cheaper By the Dozen". The original showed a mother & father who loved their kids and had a responsibility to those kids to prepare them for adulthood. Steve Martin's roll was as a fool in the remake.....oh well...Just call me Senator.
My $1.25 worth,
Aragorn the Magician
aka: I used to be BOB (it's Cellini's fault)
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Feb 8, 2005 04:13PM)
Hi Rudy,
I met an elderly chap from IOM when I was over a few years ago. You might know his name. He used to do shows at a pavilion type building in Douglas (possibly) with blacklight puppeteers, a ventriloquist and a female and male duet (they sang a great version of sweet dreams). I donít think there is any one on here from IOM though.

Message: Posted by: Richard Sherry (Feb 8, 2005 04:53PM)
I have been doing kids shows for 18 years now and it seems I've gone from entertainer to babysitter and I just don't mean for the kids.The parents talk amongst each other and drink etc.They have no respect for their kids let alone myself.I've had kids crawling on stage and nobody cared.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 8, 2005 07:13PM)

If you have kids crawling on the stage, then perhaps you must also really take a look at your own show and how you are setting up the ground rules and controlling the shoe and performance yourself. There are many things any magician can do to minimize problems like this.

This is not to say they do not happen, sure they do, but a magician, can learn techniques and ideas that can minimize this from happening often.

Message: Posted by: Dayle (Feb 9, 2005 10:01AM)
I was at a show once and getting ready to take some pictures and a baby was crawling around on the ground. I looked around and noticed that no one were looking after this kid. I watched the kid for a bit and he crawled up these stairs and out the door in to the wide world outside. I had to repeatatively call to some people to tell them that their baby just crawled out the door.

No one seemed to care.

Message: Posted by: Richard Sherry (Feb 9, 2005 10:11AM)
Hello Kyle.
Point taken.How do you set ground rules to the parents of these children without appearing condescending to the adults?

Message: Posted by: Rudolph McGuinness (Feb 9, 2005 10:22AM)
You'd think that some of these reports in newspapers and also fictitional TV series like the "CSI Miami" where the kid is taken inside a soft play area with electronic shutters would frighten some parents, - but no. They just let them go don't they? All you can do is STAY with your equipment at all times. If you do 'British' type 2 hour parties making sure you go to the loo before the kids arrive, so you don't have to leave your gear later.

You can also print into your 'Party Tips' (or guide or whatever you call it) about babies and under 4s. (they'll not take a blind bit of notice).

But at 'the end of the day' (old cliche) you just have to look to yourself. As long as baby Bernie doesn't electrocute himself on your equipment, or it's not you that drops red hot coffee on him etc., then so what? This is the way things are, and it will not change, in fact it's probably going to get worse. I see some parents - especially fathers, at parties, who don't even know how to pick the kid up out of danger, and I have to say: "I just feel apprehensive about something happening, could you take him/her to a safer place". If you use the word "safer" it lets them know that you are really not thinking about your equipment, - but just about poor little baby Bernie (LOL).

Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Feb 9, 2005 11:01AM)
As a young person, who was a child not so long ago, I'm getting sick and tired of people bemoaning, "kids these days." I have more manners then most of the adults I've met. I've met children of all income levels and social standings that had great manners and the same amount that have had poor manners. The accusations being made here are nothing more then generalities and I think some people here need to be a little more sensitive to the fact that a child is product of two things, environment and heredity. Nothing more. Nothing less. So, the kids were bad at So and So's party; then don't do their party next time. All the kids bad at every party? Then, maybe, you're not an effective entertainer. Now, go ahead, flame me, defame me, call me a ingrate, I don't care. Because between here and SAMTalk, I've about had it with "youngster bashing."
Edd, Age 26
Message: Posted by: Dayle (Feb 9, 2005 11:20AM)
I don't think that the posts here were placing the 'blame' on the kids but moreso on the lack of parenting. Or the lack of guidence from the parents. Kids learn what they see and what they live. Parents are a BIG influence but not the ONLY influence.

Dayle, someone who hasn't reached age 26 yet.
Message: Posted by: wizardofsorts (Feb 9, 2005 12:27PM)
You're right. In retrospect the blameing here is being put on the parents but I still stand by the my statement that it's all generalites and there are good parents today and bad parents today. And if the kids misbehave at every show, maybe its not the parents who are bad. . .
Message: Posted by: Dayle (Feb 9, 2005 12:49PM)
I agree. It can be that the kids aren't entertained enough by the performer (whether magic or otherwise). The performer isn't holding, or maybe even getting, their attention with their show.

Good point!

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 9, 2005 06:54PM)

Good question. First I always send out a contract or a simple confirmation letter to the client. This clearly states that adults are 1 encouraged to take part in the show both watching and in an interactive role. 2) That the show is very much family focused so they will enjoy it just as much as the kids will. then 3) I state the ground rules in a fun way at the beginning of my show when I state the 3 simple rules I use for selecting an assistant.

I also make it clear to the client that I want at least 2 adults on each side during the entire performance of my show. They are there to help with the show, help with the kids and to watch out if any kid may need soemthing during the show etc. They are basically my show helpers. If this is worded the right way, it usually works fione and I do not have a problem with them working with me on this.

I also know that if a child comes up on stage or to my staging area, that all focus of the show will go off of me and onto this kid no matter how much I try to ignore it. So, I do not ignore it at all. I actually use it as a part of my improved performance. I will state to the audience and look at the kid.. and maybe say, " wow everyone wants to be in showbusiness." or I might say, "Wow even junior here like the trick so much that he crawled all the way up here to get my autograph.. that is way cool." Subtle things like this tells the audience that I am aware of the situation, I am taking control of it and it is a HUGE hint to the parent to come and get their child.

If the parent does not take the hint, then I take control to make sure the child is safe and brought down to a safe spot. It just makes no sense to ignore the situation as your show will suffer. If I have to I might go over to the child and say... wow you are so cool and brave today.. you crawled all the way up here to help me and that is really special. Just for that I am going to give you a neat assistant sticker so everyone will know you are my special helper. I then help the child back down to the safe area again. The sticker is placed in a spot they can not reach. It makes me look good, I handled a tough situation and regained control while staying in character.

It may not have anything to do with the fact that your show is not good. Young kids will tend to wander just because they are really too young to really understand. They may also wander because everything you have to them is so unusual and magical that the way for them to learn is through experiecing these things up close. Do not take it as the kid just not liking what you are doing.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 10, 2005 03:12AM)
One thing to do when you see a crawler making the big move into the Outer World is to announce in your best Police Officer's voice: "We have an escape in progress! We have an escape in progress!! Munchkin out the door - Baby Out the DOOR!" And, if you have one, sound a siren.

Point where the little one is going as you do this, even the most jaded adults will look to see what you are pointing at. And they will rush after the tyke and laugh about it and thank you for noticing them up on the activity.

Just my experience - and I don't do kid shows, so... But the Boss said I had to take a peek in here every now and then...

;) ;) ;)

Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Feb 10, 2005 06:55AM)
Lee shows an excellent way of how to solve the problem, tell the audience you are aware of it, and let the adulkts know of the situation, while never breaking character or the flow and pace of the show. Great idea and thinking.

Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 11, 2005 03:14AM)

Not bad for a guy who doesn't do kid shows, I guess!


Lee Darrow, C.H.
Message: Posted by: graemesd (Feb 12, 2005 04:42PM)
I agree with most of wot has been said
id don't think parenting has particularly changed or that the kids have got worse
ive been performing for 15 years
I do think that there are higher expectations on you - that is to control the kids as well as entertain them. Whilst I believe we should be able to control kids it is important for the parents to realise that that is not why we are there.

I have a perfect tool for control - ill bring it up in another thread
I'll cool it - erm - simple control
Message: Posted by: rhinomax (Feb 12, 2005 08:20PM)
Lee maybe you missed your calling
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Feb 13, 2005 04:54AM)
Thanks, Max. I always appreciate kind words. And I am seriously starting to research children's entertainment with an eye to working some of these (to me) extremely challenging venues.

In other words - I'm checking out the 411 on kid shows and thinking how to boost my show into something that won't be lunch for the crowd. Or words to that effect... ;) ;) ;)

Lee Darrow, C.H.