It’s never 100 percent clear to me why anyone is ever surprised when kids who get shoved into the spotlight at an early age melt down at some point later in life, like Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Corey Haim, Demi Lovato, and Jodie Sweetin, to name just a very (very) few.
While she hasn’t landed in rehab or jail to date, Miley Cyrus is starting to show signs of trouble like those before her have also displayed along their paths to destruction. A video of the “Hannah Montana” star smoking a bong and a video of her performing a lap dance have surfaced in recent months, but now that she’s turned 18, it’s hard to wag a finger at anyone but her.
Still, her dad, country singer-turned-actor Billy Ray Cyrus is speaking out about his role in his daughter’s antics, and the regret and fear he’s feeling as a result.
“How many interviews did I give and say, ‘You know what’s important between me and Miley is I try to be a friend to my kids’? I said it a lot. And sometimes I would even read other parents might say, ‘You don’t need to be a friend, you need to be a parent.’ Well, I’m the first guy to say to them right now: You were right. I should have been a better parent. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough–it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have, but I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere.”
Billy Ray Cyrus and I don’t have much in common, but we agree on one thing: Being a parent first and friend second is of paramount importance. While I haven’t faced anything too serious with my young daughter just yet, from my own experience growing up, I know what I’m potentially up against. And there’s no doubt in my mind that it’ll be hard to parent when it comes time to making really hard decisions. Parents are faced with decisions about their kids every day that are unpopular.
My daughter didn’t want to nap today, and there’s no doubt she would have been happier playing with her dollhouse instead of getting into bed. But of course I know better — she’s a wreck without a nap and the consequences would have been a super bad afternoon and evening. Kids need boundaries whether they’re two or sixteen. While saying no to your toddler or teenage daughter isn’t always the easiest thing to do, everyone will likely benefit in the end.
My feeling has always been, too, that if you’re a good and strong enough parent, the friendship with your kids will come organically and in time. But you have to do the work in order to reap the reward. My parents are great examples of that, as I consider them among my closest friends now, although the same wasn’t true 20 years ago.
Let’s hope that Billy Ray can help turn things around for Miley, even though he declared he was “done” when she announced her plans to hold her 18th birthday party in a bar. After all, kids never really stop needing their parents — the good ones, anyway.