Columnist reflects on possible reasons as to why some former child stars have ‘gone wild’

By Anna-Maria Thalassinos

I can easily picture the crafty Kevin McCallister in those Home Alone movies back in the early ‘90s, as well as girl-next-door Cady Heron in the well-known Mean Girls of 2004. Despite their auspicious beginnings, the legacies of these actors—Macaulay Culkin and Lindsay Lohan—are not ones of legions of fans and superstardom but of drug abuse and the paparazzi cataloging their every mistake.

Unfortunately, it is common to see a once-seemingly-innocent young actor, previously swarmed with an endless amount of fans and “A-list” status, become overwhelmed by their jail time and late nights out. Before, these celebrities would count down the days in anticipation for their next movie premiere, not their their next court date.

Goofy Amanda Bynes created many laughs in her Nickelodeon and The Amanda Show days, and later with She’s the Man in 2006. This past year, however, her life choices took a turn for the worse when her license was suspended Aug. 25, 2012 following a DUI arrest in April and two alleged hit-and-run cases in April and August, according to a Sept. 5, 2012 NY Daily News article.

Somehow, these former role models transformed into the very people we hope to avoid. It seems impossible to ever have imagined 12-year-old Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap getting multiple DUI’s and being in and out of rehab.

I pictured all of these child stars growing up to be just as they were at their young age, maybe even more successful. It was more realistic to envision them walking down the red carpet and accept another of their infinite number of awards than to see their mugshots posted on the Internet.

I consider the reason why these child stars ended up the way they do is due to their lack of a childhood. Rather than experience a normal youth, these actors were thrown into a lifestyle that skipped over various rites of passages that one experiences while growing up.

Their big acting breaks forced these young stars into the limelight, which created a lot of pressure for them. Everyone knew everything they did—all the time. It is strange to think that sometimes we take for granted our ability to attend school or ride bikes in the park without being bombarded by people trying to take our picture.

A simple solution to all of the unhappy endings for these child stars is to not have any child acting roles whatsoever. Obviously, this is a dumb idea and not even a possibility. A more appropriate solution, in my opinion, would be for paparazzi to be more gracious to these actors and their families by respecting their privacy.

Doing so would provide for more of a division between their role on the screen and their personal life so as to allow them to experience some kind of childhood.