I often wonder about this: Am I a stage mom or just a good mom?
I think it would be irresponsible to put your child in a situation where you don't know what is going on. It should be known that you won't go for the child being taken advantage of or put in a less than ideal situation. To be informed of what is going on in a show, you have to ask questions and be there often to check out the environment. Allison is never in a show that I haven't personally met the director and other adults she will be in contact with. If I am even the slightest bit worried about any situation, I am there to watch her every second (I have demanded to be in the dressing rooms after being made aware of a certain situation).
For instance, Allison did a lot of work with a theater in the past. The kids were to be there on a Saturday from noon until midnight with a dinner break. The parents could come and take the child to dinner, etc but they didn't want paarents hanging around the entire time. They said they would keep an eye on the kids. When I went by at 7 pm, the room they were in had no AC (it was 90 degrees outside), there was no water available, and there was no adult in the room. I turned the thermostat down (the kids just didn't know how), got the stage manager out of the rehearsal, and called a few other parents I knew. In about 20 minutes, there were some other parents there, cold water was being served, and executive the director of the theater company (who was out of town)had been called. The director was less than thrilled about the whole situation but I didn't care. I did what was best for my child and the others. Is this stage mom or good mom?
Yes, I do make my daughter practice a song, etc until she gets it right (people pay a lot of money to see these shows). But she is the one who wants be in the shows and thrives on going to auditions, etc. If we make a long trip for an audition (like to NYC), yes, I make her get ready for it. She is told that if we make the commitment to go then she must make the commitment to be the best she can be at the audition.
So, how do you know when you cross the line to 'stage motherhood'?
I think there are degrees of stage moms. Should you protect your daughter from danger in the work environment? Yes. Should you make sure that your daughter is not exposed to adult behavior or language? Of course. Should you step in if the people who are in charge do not look out for the safety and welfare or your child? Yes, certainly.
As for making your child practice until she "gets it right," that is where I get a bit worried. I think it's important to stress to your child that auditions and professional opportunities are jobs, where people have expectations and you must always be prepared. I think if you are finding that your child does not want to practice his/her lines for an audition or does not work on the craft, then perhaps your child isn't as excited about it as you are. Of course it's exciting to get a job and to rehearse and perform in a show, but that is the end result of showing how much you love to act/perform when you go in to audition. If you can explain to your child that the audition or meeting is just an extension of the actual job, then you might not have to force the child into preparing. Auditions, in my opinion, are just other opportunities to do what I love to do.
Just for the record, and not to make you feel bad in any way, I don't think my mother ever had to force me to prepare for an audition or meeting or performance. I was so in love with what I was doing, that she often had to stop me from singing all the time, so that I would go to bed and get some sleep. I think you should evaluate your own child and see if he/she really loves it as much as you think. Look around and see how your child compares to other children also in the business.