The downsides of having a famous parent

September 14, 2015 — by Shazia Gupta and Eric Sze

A typical day in the life of a toddler would probably entail  sleeping and attempting to walk. On the other hand, a typical day in the life of North West, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s 2-year-old daughter, might consist of avoiding paparazzi and attending high-profile events.

A typical day in the life of a toddler would probably entail  sleeping and attempting to walk. On the other hand, a typical day in the life of North West, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s 2-year-old daughter, might consist of avoiding paparazzi and attending high-profile events.

Being the son or daughter of a worldwide celebrity can be challenging, to say the least. The child grows up in a completely different environment than most children their age do, and is always subject to the public eye.

Fame and status for these children begin to accumulate even before they are born. Consider how the public was awaiting the birth of North West before her parents had even thought about having a child. And the public had fallen in love with her before she had learned to speak her first word.

This attention, while flattering, often creates pressure for these much-publicized children. From an early age, they are subject to public scrutiny, their every action and outfit criticized.

For instance, in June of 2014, a petition with over 5,500 supporters claimed, “Jay-Z and Beyoncé [have] failed at numerous attempts of doing [daughter] Blue Ivy’s hair,” and that the “matter has escalated to the child developing matted dreads and lint balls,” while that was probably just Blue Ivy’s natural hair. After going viral, the petition’s creator backed down, calling it a “joke.”

Making matters worse have been the paparazzi. In the past, the children of celebrities have been trailed by cameras wherever they went: to the school, to the park, to restaurants.  Fortunately, times have changed. Today, thanks to the efforts of actresses Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry, it is illegal in the U.S. to photograph children without their parents’ consent.

Other countries, however, have not been so lucky. In England, for instance, the paparazzi are known for being ruthless. Photographers there can go to extremes to give the consumers what they want, even to the point of upsetting children to get a better photo, as when they made Prince George cry at his sister Charlotte’s christening.

Still, we can’t feel too sorry for the children of the rich and famous. Many lead shockingly extravagant lives. For example, when Blue Ivy turned 1, parents Beyonce and Jay-Z spent around $200,000 on her birthday party — $80,000 on a custom diamond Barbie doll, $95,000 on roses, $30,000 on costumes, jewelry and toys, as well as $2,400 on a cake. Additionally, her nursery at Barclay’s Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena in Brooklyn, New York, costs her parents $1 million per year.

These children are famous for almost no other reason than their parents’ success and wealth and sometimes have trouble establishing their own careers.

Take, for instance, Jaden and Willow Smith, who are known for their father, the actor Will Smith. Jaden landed an acting career after he co-starred with his father in the 2006 movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” and Willow Smith launched her music career in 2010 with the single, “Whip My Hair,” though she hasn’t had a hit since then.

Although celebrities have opted for stardom, their children have not. Their children are simply born into the world of fame and thus have no choice but to live with the benefits of the silver-spoon life, as well as the drawbacks.

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