When Your Child’s Teen Idol Falls From Grace
My teenage daughter is a huge fan of current pop sensation, Justin Bieber. She even had a Bieber-themed birthday party decked out with purple everything (because it’s his favorite color) and a huge photo collage of him in various stages of cuteness. Recently, Bieber has been in the news and not in a good way. From rumors of smoking marijuana to passing out onstage and having physical altercations with the paparazzi, Bieber seems to be spiraling a bit out of control. All I can say is, “Here we go again.”
Bieber isn’t the first teen idol my daughter admired from afar who started off as a shining star only to end up with a tarnished reputation. Zoey 101, a Nickelodeon teen/tween sitcom, starred Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn. My daughter was never a Britney fan to my great pleasure, however, she really liked Zoey 101 and its young star. When it was announced Jamie Lynn Spears was pregnant at 16, it understandably caused a huge uproar among mothers everywhere. Their daughters were watching this show, after all, so what kind of influence would this revelation have on them? My then nine-year-old daughter took it all in stride but admitted she was a little disappointed in Spears because she felt the teenage star should have considered her fans. I had to explain to her that everyone makes mistakes, even celebrities but she needs to learn from them, not emulate their actions.
Another teen idol my daughter thought was the bees knees (sorry, just watched Princess and the Frog), was Lindsey Lohan. From Mean Girls to Freaky Friday, my daughter watched (several times) all of Lohan’s earlier movies that made the starlet famous. Then something happened. Not sure what it was but Lohan started driving, recklessly I might add, and things went downhill from there. Years later, my daughter rarely mentions Lohan but she will still watch Mean Girls (I think it’s because she’s now a huge Rachel McAdams fan).
Then there was Cyrus, as in Miley Cyrus, as in Hannah Montana. Hannah Montana, a Disney teen/tween show, was extremely popular to the point I couldn’t go to most stores without seeing that girl’s face on a t-shirt, lunch box, keychain, you name it! Cyrus was everywhere, or at least her Hannah Montana persona was and my daughter just thought she was great. I don’t know if Cyrus wanted to grow up too fast or she was tired of playing this teen pop star or what, but the next thing I know, she is dressing like a street-walker, getting under-boob tattoos and dating a guy, in my opinion, too old for her. I understand the need to transform from teenager to woman but Cyrus had to know the scrutiny she was under and how that would impact her fans. If you want to go from teen idol to Madonna, fine by me, just get your merchandise out of Target’s toy aisles. With that stated, I have to say my daughter was a loyal Hannah Montana fan until the series finale but to this day, she never has looked back.
So now the fate of Justin Bieber is uncertain. My daughter knows that no one is perfect, even her beloved teen idols. Although some have let her down, there have been a few who hadn’t gone down the road of reckless abandon. As a mother, all I can do is make sure my daughter understands that actions have consequences and no one is exempt from that, even celebrities. The question remains: will Mira continue to be a fan if Justin Bieber doesn’t clean up his act or will I be seeing “Believe” memorabilia in our Goodwill donation box?