I was listening to a group of mommy friends talk about The X Factor and Brian “Astro” Bradley’s bratty reaction to landing in the bottom two.
I have two ways of looking at it. In the ballroom, confidence is key but hard to come by when you are totally out of your element. And while I have always believed that arrogance is ugly, I think when you are 14 years old and put in the limelight for the first time in your life that knowing how to deal with the pressure is a learned skill.
When I saw the tears rolling down Astro’s face, I thought, “Poor kid; his dreams are about to come to an end.” I saw my own children standing there with unbelievable disappointment, not knowing how to contain it and reacting in an inappropriate but HONEST way. Personally I will take passion and conviction over indifference any day of the week.
Many people feel that he was disrespectful, and ungrateful for those who did support him. I get that, but I also feel for him and his naiveté in how to deal with that unexpected situation.
I was very happy to see Simon call him on his bad attitude, saying “uncross your arms because you are being disrespectful.” I think the fact that Simon gave him a second chance is a gift and potentially an opportunity to learn a valuable life lesson. At the end of the day, someone has to teach a child work ethics, respect and the skills to maneuver their path.
I have seen so many young ones in the business who don’t know how to deal with the pressure. Drugs, recklessness, bad attitudes, etc. One of the qualities that impresses me the most with child stars is when they appreciate their position and treat the ones who helped put them there (fans) with gratitude. I’ll never forget the time at Dancing With The Stars that Selena Gomez picked my daughter Rain out of the audience and brought her to stage for a photo opp. It made Rain’s year!
I do not tolerate disrespect from my children but they learn how to handle situations through experience. Once I received a call from school that my daughter was not being kind on the playground and treating classmates in an inconsiderate way. Her father and I sat her down for a serious talk to make her aware of what she may have been doing. My goal was to help her realize that others’ perception of your character will stay with you for a long time.
Kindness is something we all want but we have to dish it out too. A therapist once told me that if you ever want to know who you are, ask the people around you what they think of you. It just may shed some light on a reality you are unaware of. I explained to my daughter that she does not want to be labeled the “cruel girl” and she had better start acting respectful to everyone around her, at home and everywhere else.
Kids screw up all the time and hopefully as parents, we can teach them how to get it right in their future. However most kids don’t have to do it in front of millions of people. It’s so easy to watch shows like DWTS and The X Factor from your couch and judge how the contestants do or do not act, but put yourself in their shoes for one second.
It amazes me sometimes how someone in the spotlight, on the hot seat, can even speak at all when they may be devastated. I think Astro can come back and redeem himself. I think children should look at the moment when he turned off all of his fans and understand how behavior can change someone’s perception of you so quickly.
Somehow the public thinks people in the industry should know how to handle those moments graciously, but as parents we know that our kids don’t always have that skill. I do believe it is our job to teach it and in his case, I hope he learns quickly. It’s not easy to teach our children how to perfectly handle everything and often times when we do, they screw it up anyway. But it is important to pay attention to the reality checks along the way. In my profession, I have learned that NICE goes a long way.
There are three things that can help create success in the business. Credibility, recognizability and lastly, but most importantly in my opinion, likability.