We’re in the midst of witnessing yet another child star implosion and, while it’s never pleasant to watch someone’s life unravel, especially someone we got to know as an adorable teenager, this time I’m finding it difficult to summon any sympathy for him.
Especially when dozens of media outlets start churning out articles pointing the blame finger at us. Society.
For example, Babble writer, Joanna, wrote a post called “Justin Bieber Arrested: How Fans May Have Contributed To His Downfall” in which she questions if we’re to blame for Justin’s downfall.
I can’t help but wonder if we have played some part in this entire mess. Are we partly responsible for this “God-like” worshipping and obsession that we’ve developed with celebrities? And by “we” I mean his legions of fans that use social media to put Justin, and other celebrities, up on a pedestal so high that the stars truly start to believe that they’re invincible. Celebrity obsessions can really make or break a talented star such as Justin, and in this day and age with social media at our fingertips, it seems like we want every little piece of the celebrities we follow that we can get.
I’m tired of society shouldering the blame for child star implosions. Are fans responsible for Justin Bieber’s actions? Absolutely not. At this stage in the celebrity game parents who allow their children to moonwalk into the limelight know damn well what can happen to kids who are thrust into superstardom at such a young age. And yet they seemingly do nothing but enable the kind of lifestyle that leads to the meltdowns that have become so commonplace. We’ve all heard the story of how Lynne Spears moved away from her family in Louisiana to live with an extremely young Britney Spears in New York City so she could work on her career. Pattie Mallette is Justin Bieber’s mom and she apparently began managing his career from the time he was a very young kid. And then there’s Dina Lohan …
These are parents who should have their children’s best interests at heart and yet one look at the immense pressure kids like Britney and Justin have labored under for years and it doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that the lifestyle is tantamount to child abuse. Whether mom or dad is achieving success by proxy or is just a well-meaning parent who mistakenly starts treating the child like the celebrity, the very fact that they are allowing their child into such an inappropriate environment is a parenting fail in my book. I don’t care how precocious you think your kid is or how many times your 13-year-old tells you they want to be a star, it’s your job to say no and maintain control over scenarios in your child’s life that could lead him or her into danger or trouble. As The Atlantic reports, parental limits are key to preventing bad behavior.
“If the parents are able to keep every other aspect of the child’s life controlled and normal and there are continued boundaries and rules, those are the kids that do well,” psychologist Ginger Clark, an associate professor of clinical education at the University of Southern California, told USA Today‘s Donna Freydkin. “If you don’t have a really stable parental unit that’s setting limits ahead of time, then the roles get flipped easily and the child becomes the parent. They’re not ready for the responsibility. And you see kids spin out a little bit.”
We’ve seen it happen time and time again with a parade of child stars not only self-destructing but dying as a result of stardom gone sour. Yet, for some reason, there is always another Lynne Spears or Pattie Mallette or Dina Lohan stage managing their kid directly into drug abuse. Money talks, I guess. Nonetheless, it’s your responsibility to parent your child and keep them grounded in the very same way the rest of us have to parent our kids — except maybe your job is harder … But that’s the path you chose. And yes, you did have a choice.
But it’s not all mom and dad’s fault. Bieber is a 20-year-old young man who knows the difference between right and wrong. He knows drugs are bad, knows drag racing is dangerous and yet he continues to choose to behave in ways that have very serious consequences. I have no sympathy for an entitled 20-year-old who has no concept of limits, even if his parents did fail him during his teen years. Because for every child star gone bad there is also a Drew Barrymore who figured it out, a Fred Savage who never set foot on the road to hell, a Ron Howard or a Justin Timberlake who had the same highs and lows as Bieber but managed to keep his head screwed on right and take his career to the next level.
So stop it with the “Who’s to blame?” nonsense when it comes to child stars acting out. Bieber’s bad behavior has nothing to do with you or me or even Us Magazine and everything to do with his parents and the man himself. Yes, I said man. Men years younger than him have lost their lives fighting for our country’s freedom so the whole “it’s hard to grow up in the spotlight” thing bears no weight with me.
Grow up, Justin. Get it together, man. Because before you know it you’ll just be another has-been child star constantly being served up as a cautionary tale for the next big thing. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at David Cassidy’s latest mug shot for a glimpse into your future …