Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parenting in the USA: The Cyrus Dilemma

Billy Ray Cyrus

Image via Wikipedia

This post has gotten a lot of attention from readers. I’m reposting it as a way to help us jump start conversations about difficult issues between parents and adolescents. None of us are perfect parents, and hopefully we grow and learn from one another.

In this article that came out February 15  in the New York Post, Billy Ray Cyrus is quoted as saying that he knows his daughter Miley is out of control, and he wishes that she had never become famous. He blames her fame and her “handlers” for ruining his family. He says that while he was often portrayed as the one to blame, he really didn’t have much to do with what was happening with his daughter, even when she was under the age of 18.

Um…..hello, Billy Ray. I’m no Hollywood Parent (thank goodness!!) but, when your children are under the age of 18, you are legally responsible for them. I understand that when children become famous, there is representation from corporations and such that comes with that. But, I find it genuinely impossible to believe that a man who was actually performing with his daughter for many years could have had this little control over what was happening in her life.

As the parent of adolescents, most people probably feel left out. It’s pretty normal to feel like your kids don’t want you around. But, here’s the deal: Most of us stick it out, refuse to be our child’s friend but focus on being their parent and lay down the law when we have to in order to protect them. Parents need to realize that the greatest disservice that they can do their adolescent is trying to be their friend rather than their parent. Adolescents NEED parents, they have plenty of friends. When they’re looking for guidance, trying to figure out what to do, their parents are the ones who can provide them with an experienced, loving view of the world. And, parents are the ones that can provide rules and limits that protect their children and allow them to grow in peace.

Billy Ray Cyrus isn’t the only parent who’s struggled to find the balance between supporting their child’s dream and setting consistent limits. He’s not the only one who’s figured out that being your child’s friend does them no good when what they really needed was a parent. His story is just being played out for all the world to see. And it’s a sad story right now. Maybe there’s hope that it will turn around and this family will heal. But, when one sees some of the images of Miley’s little sister, Noah, one has to wonder at that possibility.

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One comment on “Parenting in the USA: The Cyrus Dilemma

  1. whatsaysyou
    April 17, 2011

    Jennifer, you said it well. It is every parent’s responsibility, Hollywood parent or not, to make sure that a child is free from any negativity such as child sexualisation.

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