It’s rare that I take a page out of any celebrity’s parenting handbook. It’s not because celebrities don’t have valuable wisdom to impart, but rather, our realities are more than a little bit different.
Instead of running lines with my kid on a private plane to Paris or planning their upcoming world tour, my kids and I are running spelling words while I fry up hamburger and fold yesterday’s laundry.
That said, there is one mom who stands apart from the rest for me – Pattie Mallette, Justin Bieber’s mom.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, allow me to explain. From the very beginning, Mallette served a key fixture in the management and handling of her son’s career. She set boundaries, oversaw her son’s professional and personal relationships, and made the Christian faith an important part of his upbringing. But what happens when your kid skyrockets to international superstardom, comes of age and starts acting like an entitled twit? According to Mallette, you let go.
Indeed, Bieber’s been up to all sorts of moronic shenanigans which may have you asking, “Where’s this kid’s mother?” Oh, she’s there and she’s watching as mother’s do. If I had to guess she’s also praying and hoping that her son finds his way back to the values she worked so hard as a single mother to instill in him.
Mallette told People, “When your kids hit a certain age your parenting style changes and it is hard letting go. His life was my life and now I’ve had to let him go a little bit and let him be independent. It is hard to not be able to control everything that your adult child does.” I’ll say, especially when the foolish mistakes your child makes become front page news.
Mallette goes on to say, “Every parent worries. I text and call him every day. I definitely want to know everything that he is doing and what he is going through so I try to talk to him as much as he’ll let me.”
And with that statement she says it all: “as much as he’ll let me.”
Parents, we have to be practical about our kids growing up. We can do the very best job we know how, pour our heart, soul, and every last ounce of personal energy into our children, but one day in the not so distant future they’ll become adults and go their own way.
Our kids will make a million stupid mistakes and while they (hopefully) won’t become front page news, we’ll struggle to stand on the sidelines, bracing ourselves for the aftermath. Some of us won’t be able to stand there very long, jumping in at the first sign of trouble to cushion the inevitable downfalls of young adulthood, but without those downfalls, real lessons can’t be learned.
Mallette says that she knows who her son is. Meaning, she knows the contents of her son’s heart and the value of his character, but will the world?
Perhaps that’s the bigger question when it comes to releasing our children into the world. We know what we’ve offered, the sacrifices we’ve made, and the potential of what resides in our children’s hearts, but relying on the core of their character in the face of wrong turns and poor decisions takes a tremendous amount of faith.
Only time will tell whether Bieber finds a way to make his generation proud, but no matter how his story shakes out, it won’t be for failure on his mother’s part. In my book, Mallette succeeded as a parent; the rest is up to him…just as the rest will be up to our kids.
What’s your stance on letting go?