Tag Archives: Miley Cyrus

Don’t you want your kid to be famous?

3 Feb
@JustinBieber via Instagram

@JustinBieber via Instagram

Does your child want to be famous?

How many kids fantasize about starring in a Disney Channel show, appearing in the pages of fashion magazines or singing onstage in front of thousands of screaming fans?

Think about it Mom and Dad. Your immensely talented kid could be adored and idolized for her artistic gifts.  He could be raking in big money that can help support the rest of the family. All of you can rub elbows with the rich and famous.

Don’t you want your kid to be famous?

Thousands of those kids are pursuing those dreams right now. Well, let’s rephrase that. Mom and Dad are pursuing those dreams right now by uploading their kids’ videos on YouTube, shelling out thousands of dollars for the right headshots, moving to California so their child can be closer to the action, and spending hours in acting, singing and dance lessons.

All in hopes that their child will be the next Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.

Lord have mercy! Why on Earth would you want that for your kid?

BBC radio recently ran a segment on “Would you want your child to be famous” * and invited a children’s talent agent, mother of an aspiring teen rocker and an American culture and parenting blogger to discuss the issue.  (Spoiler alert: I was the blogger.) Despite the recent headlines, many parents still pursue this for their children and swear/hope/pray their child will never let fame go to their head or act out in infamous ways. The other radio guests talked about “supporting their dreams” and being the voice of reason for them. I applaud these parents for wanting to help their kids attain these goals, but I could never do it. My children, who are entering their teens, are too immature to grasp the ramifications of some dreams, and as their mother, I sometimes have to protect them from themselves. I also have serious doubts  any parent can be a “voice of reason” when their talented child is surrounded by entourages made up of agents, photographers, directors, producers and others in the entertainment industry.

As history has shown us, the child entertainers who make the successful transition to well-balanced adult are few and far between. For every Justin Timberlake and Natalie Portman, there are dozens of others who fall victim to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, brushes with the law, outrageous behavior or diva-mentality – and it often starts while they are still in their teens. Even under the so-called “watchful eyes” of their parents and handlers, Drew Barrymore was snorting cocaine at 13, Demi Lovato developed an eating disorder at 8-years-old, and Joe Jonas smoked pot with Lovato and Miley Cyrus at 17.

Well-intended parents are encouraging their children to join a brutal business without understanding how it really works. I’m a veteran stage actor and video talent, and I can attest all is not bright in the spotlight. Auditions are grueling and time-consuming, and very few of them actually lead to anything; however, you keep trying in hopes that you’ll be the perfect fit for another project. If you’re not the perfect fit, you have to endure a producer or director ripping you to shreds over personal traits such as your voice, body, skin, height or weight. People in the business understand actors, models, singers and dancers are commodities that are bought, sold and packaged to meet a particular need, and those needs constantly change.

Performers tend to be highly creative and sensitive people, and it takes a lot of emotional strength to maintain the thick skin that is needed to survive the constant rejection and critiques. Most adults don’t have that kind of inner strength and stability, and yet stage parents expect an emotionally developing child or teen to have it. Without those traits, both child and adult performers can easily develop problems with insecurity, depression or narcissism.

For the rare performer that does “make it,” fame can be a fickle beast. Adored one moment and forgotten the next. It can be tough on adults, but even worse on a young person who isn’t mature enough to understand or deal with the changes. How will he react when no one is there to cater to their every need and offer endless praise, when the entourage leaves because the money runs out, or when good feelings can only be found in drugs or alcohol? How will his parents react?

For those parents who are encouraging their children’s fame dreams, I have no doubt your child is immensely talented, but I beg you to consider the real costs of fame – pressure, criticism, strained families and growing up way too fast.

They’re children for only a little while. Hollywood can wait.

 

What do YOU think?
Would you let your child pursue an entertainment career? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

*You can download the BBC’s “World Have Your Say Segment” at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/whys. Look for the Thursday, Jan. 30 WHYS link. The fame discussion is in the middle of the program. You can also get their podcasts off iTunes.

Mamapedia names Roadkill Goldfish’s “Dear Daughter” the best post of 2013

3 Jan

Mamapedia selected “Dear Daughter, Let Miley Cyrus be a Lesson to You” as THE top post of 2013 based on the most views, comments and social media sharing.

THANK YOU, Mamapedia readers! I am humbled and honored to be included in the list, and I commend the other awesome writers and fellow moms who are part of the Mamapedia sisterhood.

See the Top 10 now.

My youngest’s Miley-like behavior leads to a “Come to Jesus Meeting”

28 Oct

I had a “come to Jesus meeting” with our youngest last weekend.

For those of you unfamiliar with Southern idioms, the phrase denotes a get-together between two or more people where a candid and somewhat harsh discussion will take place. The discussion usually centers on unacceptable behavior.

My behavior has been great, but Charlotte’s behavior and attitude have been rough for a few months now. She had always been a very sociable and happy girl, but she started acting out to get attention.  She’s been climbing up in boys’ laps and trying to kiss them.  She started walking around naked after her baths. She’s torn up the other kids’ toys and clothing. She’s ignored me when I’ve tried to discipline her.

As I looked into her brown eyes, I knew I had to be strong. Part of me wanted to scream and part of me wanted to cuddle with her. As a parent, it’s hard to discipline the youngest. Maybe it’s because we still see them as our innocent babies incapable of doing wrong or maybe we’re just worn out from the older kids’ chaos. Regardless of the reason, Charlotte needed to be set straight – for her own good and for the sanity of the rest of the family.

She blankly stared at me as I told her about her inappropriate actions. She didn’t understand why it was wrong to wiggle her butt in public or have her tongue hanging out all the time. (See related post on Miley Cyrus.) She found nothing wrong with climbing all over a cute boy. She didn’t care about the damage she’d inflicted on the other kids. Worst of all, she honestly believed rules apply to everyone BUT her.

The more I spoke, the less she listened. She whined and then walked away from me. I was angry, and I’m ashamed to say I committed a very heinous parental sin.

“You are acting like a complete and total bitch,” I said under my breath.

Charlotte heard my words and stopped in her tracks. Her face looked puzzled, but then she realized what she had done.

She slowly walked back to my chair, put her paws on my knees, licked my hands and then barked because she had to go outside after such a long conversation.

I was thankful I didn’t have to add pooping on the carpet to the discussion that night.

Angry “Dear Daughter” comment from 13-year-old girl has me worried

12 Oct

I received a lot of comments on my  “Dear Daughter, Let Miley Cyrus be a Lesson to You  post, but none of them could have prepared me for what came through this evening.

A comment from an angry 13-year-old girl has me concerned.  Here are the actual words she posted on my comment board:

I just like to say, when kids grow up they are alowed to do what they want if they want to be like miley cryus YOU CANT CONTROL YOUR DAUGHTER FOREVER and i just like to say im the same age as your daughter and i think you could have told you daughter this personaly not go out and imberess your daughter and “u dont have anything thing against miley” you should shutup an mind your own bussiness. i think you just did this just to get attention. Let me guess you also have some things to say about her new music video wreaking ball, well thats nice ur an adult not a child you dont need to gossip about it over the internet. 

How do you respond to a child like this? My first instinct was to go with a “How dare you talk to an adult like that,” but I had to take a step back.  Her attitude and anger certainly got my attention, but for reasons the young writer probably didn’t anticipate. I’m actually worried about this child, and I sense that she needs attention and guidance.  After a few minutes of contemplation, I penned this response:

Dear Paige,

You unknowingly provided validation for why moms need to stop being friends and start being parents. I’m saddened that no loving adult ever taught you the appropriate way to disagree with others. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to be disrespectful. That is not the mark of being “grown up,” that’s the mark of the immaturity that comes with being a 13-year-old child.

My daughter is not embarrassed; she is very proud her mom took a stand to protect her and girls like you. Yes Paige, you deserve to be loved enough to have someone teach you and protect you from the influences of Miley and other entertainers. Why? Because you’re too young to understand the consequences. Thanks to these stars, too many girls now think they have to show their bodies or act provocatively to get attention or they base their self worth on social media feedback. Too many adult women regret adopting Miley-style behavior in their youth because they hit some very real and painful consequences.

I sincerely hope there is a loving adult in your life who will take the time to love you and teach you to respect yourself and others. If no one in your life is willing or capable, please reach out to your school’s guidance counselor or a trusted teacher. My prayers are with you, kiddo.

Paige is probably going to hate me, but she needed to hear the truth and be reminded that she is valuable. I pray someone in her life reiterates this.

This is why I do what I do. This is why we need to be there for our daughters — and be there for the girls like Paige.

There’s no such thing as bad publicity? Think again.

30 Sep
Photographic proof that bad publicity hurts all of us. Photo from http://kimkardashian.celebuzz.com.

Photographic proof that bad publicity hurts all of us.
Photo from http://kimkardashian.celebuzz.com.

As a public relations professional, I absolutely hate the phrase, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.”

The misguided mantra stems from the erroneous belief that it’s all good as long as people are talking about you – even if they are saying some pretty horrendous things. Why? It gives you name recognition. It means you’re worthy of attention. It means you’re relevant.

It also means you’re trying to validate the short term gains of bad behavior.

Many people desire to be famous, but few desire to be notorious – unless it brings in a lot of attention and money.

Miley Cyrus simulated sex acts on national television? Ooh, that’s not nice, but she got 306,000 tweets a minute after the VMAs, and she set the all-time record for viewers for her new video.  That is success!

The Kardashians built an empire based on a sex tape and relationship mistakes? Ooh, that’s a bit messed up, but the family’s net worth is estimated to be around $80 million, and Kim has more than 18.5 million followers on Twitter. (In contrast, the Dalai Lama, who has no sex tape, has only has 7.8 million.) Wow, that’s impressive!

Yes, these folks rolled in the dough and are known around the world – for now.  Bad publicity can bring in short term gains, but few stop to consider the long term personal and societal cost.

Take another look at Miley. She may have been the most talked about woman in the world for a few weeks, but the overwhelming theme of that talk was negative. The number of video viewers came in out of curiosity, not out of fan devotion or artistic appreciation. She did enjoy a brief blip of financial success with increased record sales, but the numbers will come down as people grow weary of the shtick. What will she do to earn attention and relevance then?

What is the societal cost of all this bad publicity? Outlandish behavior gets emulated and rewarded. Good behavior gets ignored and mocked. We have morphed into a culture in which the end justifies the means. Individuals try to get attention based on “shock and awe” rather than working hard on talent and character. We expect instant results with no thought of long term consequences. Get rich quick. Lose weight now. Buy now pay later. YOLO, dude.

Bad publicity may elevate a person for a brief period, but it can’t beat gravity. What goes up must come down, and we’ve seen countless bad boys/girls crash and burn due to their own actions or fade away because their sycophants grew bored. Sadly, the lure of “it’s all good as long as people are talking about you”  will never die as long as people continue to read the tabloids, fawn over paparazzi photos, pay attention to celebrities’ vapid comments, worship fame, and watch TMZ rather than CNN.

This makes me rethink my life and career. I’ve been playing it safe for years and focusing on being a generally decent human being. Perhaps I need to do something totally stupid and outrageous to get people talking.

Oh wait, I’m already doing that!  In many eyes, speaking out against today’s culture is stupid and outrageous enough.

Hey kid, learn from Latinos and respect your elders!

12 Sep

Esto es para mis familias latinas…

 

I did it once, and I will never do it again.

As a teenager, I committed a grievous sin in Latino culture- I talked back to my mother.

She paused for a moment, and I saw anger in her face. She didn’t yell at me nor did she hit me. She grabbed my arm, looked me in the eye and in a stern voice said, “You will NEVER disrespect me like that again.” I was then escorted to my room to begin what would be a very long punishment phase.

Respect for parents and elders is important to Latinos. It’s not oppression or a dominance issue; it’s just the way things are.

Get the full story from an op-ed I wrote for Fox News Latino.

See related Roadkill Goldfish post: My experience as a white Hispanic

My thoughts on Miley’s new video? Meh.

9 Sep

I’ve been asked to weigh in on Miley Cyrus’ new video.

Well, it’s definitely another teachable moment, but it’s also roughly three minutes of your life you’ll never get back. Don’t waste your time or give it the click endorsement. Here’s a one sentence review:  Her face beautifully conveys the song’s emotion, and the full nudity and hammer licking are done very artistically.

Who knew hammer licking could be artistic?

Shaking my head and laughing. Nothing left to say that hasn’t been said before.

Check out some people who really matter like a mama who fights for her girls with special needs. 

Comment Policy: 
I welcome your feedback, but I will not tolerate personal attacks against me, my family or another commenter.

It’s okay to disagree, but be respectful. Attack the issue, not the person.  Vulgarity, racism, religion bashing, slams about sexual orientation, name calling, advertisements and generally being a jerk to others will send your comment to the trash bin.

So play nice.

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