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Has anyone else gotten sucked into this vortex of Parenting Hell?

It’s a series on Bravo, following several families promoting their kids in show business, from Florida to New York to California.

I caught it by accident last week, thought it was a one-time special, only to find out it’s an actual, albeit short-run, series. I watch it, jaw slack with horror much of the time. Look, there are acting and modeling roles for children. Children cannot, on their own power, obtain head shots and auditions. They need parents to do this for them. True. But this. Oy.

The worst, as you might expect, is the Pageant Mom, from Florida. I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, I honestly don’t. What in God’s name possesses people to spend their days primping and prompting a 4-year old for pageants, training her to define herself by how others judge her at a cost of $2,000 for a pageant (entry fees and costumes, I guess?)?

Close, though, is the very weird Nutter Dad, who moved his family of seven from Vermont to a 2-bedroom apartment in Queens so they could all pursue acting careers, and they all seem to hate it.

One child of the several the series follows seems happy about the proceedings – a little 8-year old African-American girl whose single mom is an agent and who has a small, regular role in a show called She’s So Raven. She’s also, from what we’ve seen, the most talented, and has the most relaxed relationship with her parent.

What reigns, though, is delusion. Mad, frantic, delusion. Parents are constantly assuring the camera that the kids love what they’re doing, cut to kids crying or sniping or being amazingly obnoxious to same parent. Just as many assurances that no, the parent is definitely not trying to live out his or her own fantasies through the child.

It’s the risk and temptation we all face – to take that step over the line between guidance and shaping into sheer control and single-minded wish-fulfillment, which never, ever turns out well for anyone involved.

And it’s all twice as evil because I was supposed to reading Leon Bloy. But no…..

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