Family Magazine

What Miley Taught Me About Parenting

By Lindsayleighbentley @lindsayLbentley

I didn’t watch the VMA’s, but one glance at Facebook this morning told me that Miley did something.  I was curious, so I looked it up.  I watched about 10 seconds of her performance before becoming overwhelmed with sadness and turned it off.


I have a daughter.

It’s a theme that repeats itself over and over in the world of celebrity: young kid gets famous, young kid makes claims for purity and “being a great role model”, young kid gets super famous and implodes right around age 19.

Remember when Jessica was a virgin bride?  When Britney was saving herself for marriage? When Bieber was singing hymns?  When Lindsay was in Parent Trap?

What happens to these children during their teen years that none of them can seem to escape…?

Neither my husband nor I are famous, but spending enough time in the music industry, we have seen this trend play out in real life.

So I have a hunch as to why this happens.

At some point, it seems that these kids become so powerful that everyone around them is afraid to tell them “no.”.  Their parents become their employees, their friends don’t want to lose the reflected celebrity that they gain by being close to them, and the people around them who are supposed to protect them are too scared to lose their position to say anything the kid doesn’t want to hear.

I don’t believe that kids like these mature normally.  Hear me out, they may mature physically or sexually before our neighborhood kids, but I’m talking about real maturity.  The kind that comes with real life experiences.  The kind of maturity gained by being rejected, by being woken up early to do chores, by failing a test, or by not being waited upon hand and foot.   Growing up in these false environments often robs these kids of the ability to really, truly mature and be able to make good decisions based on their history of living with the consequences of their bad ones.

I don’t believe that Miley has the maturity to really know what she is doing and the ramifications that performances like hers would have.  I know, she’s an adult, but…not really.

And it would seem that no one around her loved her enough to tell her “no”…to validate her enough as a woman that she wouldn’t feel the need to exploit herself in that way.

These kids become fodder for money-making and unless someone close to them is willing to risk making them mad, and risk losing money, they become sacrificial lambs for the entertainment industry.  It seems that most record labels don’t care what moral boundaries they push people to cross, because they know that a freak-show brings in a lot of money.

So I got to thinking about my own parenting.

While we encourage our children to explore their own personal creativity and opinions, there are times when you simply have to save your children from themselves, from doing things like what Miley did last night.

But simply saying “no” doesn’t fix anything if you don’t heal the heart that motivated that kind of behavior in the first place.

I don’t care what my kids wear (as long as it’s modest) or what kind of haircut they want.  I don’t care if they want to get tattoos once they’re 18.

What I do care about is their heart…the why behind those decisions.

Why do you want to wear that?  Is it because you’re creative and artistic and your clothes are a way of expressing that?

Or Is it because you’re insecure and seeking validation?  Let’s focus on that instead, not the clothes, but the heart behind them.

Why do you want that tattoo?  Is it because you’ve had a special experience that you want to be reminded of, or have found something that you are truly passionate about?

Or is it because you are trying desperately for someone, anyone to notice you?

I’m sure poor Miley will defend her performance by saying it’s “art, and self-expression”…but you have to wonder…what’s at the heart of behavior like that?

My guess?  Insecurity.  A deep desire and longing to be loved and accepted. Really, truly loved in a way that this industry does not. I could be wrong, but that’s what my gut says.

My gut also tells me that there’s a good chance she cried herself to sleep last night.

So when it comes to my own kids, in addition to the “no” I want to find out the “why”….because healing the “why” will often take care of the “no”….

live well. be well.

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