Why Being Famous is the Last Thing I’d Want for my Children

Oh noes! Justin Bieber apparently got arrested for smoking weed and then drag racing his Lamborghini down the middle of a road last night. I have no personal beef with the Biebs. He seems to be carving out a nice little claim on Mt. Stupid these days. (He egged his neighbor’s house the other day? Really? What’s he going to do next? Go toilet papering? Although the report I read said his eggs did $20,000 worth of damage. Those are either some very explosive eggs or some very inflated figures.) But he’s just the latest in a string of prime examples for why fame and celebrity are awful toxic things, especially for children.

My kids are cute. I know that. People comment on them. There have been comments over the years that we ought to get them into modeling or commercials or acting. I’ve always been sort of stunned anyone makes this suggestion (or is this one of those “people just say that to be nice” situations? Does everyone have people tell them their kids should be models?) The last thing I can think of that I’d want my kids to get into would be doing anything that got them more into the spotlight.

How many child stars do you read about who actually turn out to be well adjusted individuals later in  life? And of the few, how many of them went through their own Bieber phase?

And yet there are entire television shows devoted to parents trying to promote their children and help them “break through” to the next level. (Again, I’ve never actually watched any of those shows. To me, it would be like watching someone have a meltdown. Just too painful to endure.)

Then again, I realize I don’t see eye to eye with the world on a lot of different subjects. I mean, if everyone followed my advice, we’d have no child actors at all, and then where would we be? Living in a world with no Bugsy Malone, that’s where.

(I’m not entirely sure if that video is legit. YouTube is pretty draconian about taking down pirated stuff, though . . . So I’m leaving it for the moment and letting the YouTube gods decide its fate. If you want to watch it, I’d say watch it sooner rather than later. I’m still trying to find the soundtrack available for sale.)

For me and mine, I’m much more interested in my kids growing up to be caring, thoughtful, strong willed, independent thinkers. And I don’t have to suck up to any Hollywood types to do that. I find Justin Bieber’s story pretty sad, honestly. Here’s a kid who had real talent and dreams. If you went back in time and asked him if his dream was to use his musical ability to get to the point where he could get arrested for drag racing Lamborghinis, would he have said “You bet!”?

I hope not. Maybe we could go into this video and ask him.

I realize that people change all the time. Plenty of cute kids turn out to be awful individuals. But it seems to me if you try to help your kid become famous, you’re just upping the odds for him or her. But I imagine there’s not a single reader of mine who is going to argue this point with me. So maybe this post is nothing more than a chance for all of us to say “You bet!”

Then again, what do you do if your child has serious music skills and wants to explore them to their fullest? Squash their dreams? Suggest they go back to video games? I have no idea what the right decision is in a situation like that. What are your thoughts?

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