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But Mom, Michael Phelps Smokes Pot!!

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So many of the stars our kids and teens look up to are letting them down. Michael Phelps was photographed smoking marijuana from a bong for the world to see. Miley Cyrus offended Asians everywhere with her thoughtless photo. And now Chris Brown has allegedly beat the crap out of Rihanna. How do we as parents deal?

MIley Cyrus, Michael Phelps, Chris Brown

Celebrities are our kids' role models.

Sure, we'd rather them look up to scientists, doctors, do-gooders ... but the fact is that movie stars and rappers are the ones who capture their attention, like it or not.

But when these stars do things that are questionable, it's not always easy to explain.

Psychotherapist Rebecca Grado, MFT, co-founder of the Mother-Daughter Empowerment Summit, and a mother of a teen herself, says, "For kids these days, it's so easy to lose their way because they focus so much on things like celebrity, money, fame, and success that they can forget what's really important and who they really are," she says. "They put these stars on such a pedestal. I'm just quick to remind my 16-year-old that role models are just human beings who make mistakes, too."

Chris Brown
When Rebecca heard about Chris Brown allegedly assaulting girlfriend Rihanna, she saw it as a teachable moment. "When we heard about it on TV about how Chris and his own mother had been abused at the hands of his stepfather, my teen daughter and I had a brief conversation about how abuse can perpetuate itself," she says. "People can have all the opportunities in the world, but if they don't have the consciousness and awareness, they can destroy it all. Chris Brown is a beautiful boy who had every chance in life, but his past got the best of him. That's something you can discuss with your teen."

It's also a good time to discuss teen dating violence -- and how this is never okay, under any circumstances.

No matter how strongly you feel about this situation, Rebecca does not recommend banning Chris Brown CDs from the home. "I feel like the minute you take something away, they're going to want it all the more," she says.

Michael Phelps
"When the Michael Phelps photos surfaced of him smoking pot, I also used this as an opportunity to talk to my daughter about accountability," says Rebecca. "I see Michael Phelps as a hero who made a mistake. I give him so much credit for owning up to what he did. The first thing he said was, 'I'm sorry. I blew it. I am going to face the consequences.' He is certainly going to pay the price through endorsements. With my daughter, I wanted to focus on the fact that he was accountable in his life. We all make mistakes -- but instead of hiding or denying that he did it, he was honest and accountable, and that shows character."

Miley Cyrus
"I almost feel compassion for this 16-year-old girl, because of the pressure, the scrutiny, and the spotlight she's under," says Rebecca. "It must be tough to be built up that much. Yes, she has talent -- but what is she REALLY doing to be afforded so many accolades? Isn't that a lot of pressure to be put under? In this particular situation, however, she was pretty insensitive and she just really wasn't thinking. She got busted for it, and it wasn't a smart move. I felt like her apology was not really heartfelt -- more like a statement issued by her publicist to make it all to go away. I used this situation as an opportunity to talk to my daughter about how insensitivity is not cool any day of the week -- I don't care who you are."

How do you explain to your kids when their role models let them down?

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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
Kiki February 11, 2009, 10:44 AM

My kids are 16 and 20 so easy to explain, they understand that those mentioned in the article are not perfect and my kids weren’t brought up to look up to “stars” whether sports, music, acting etc., my kids know that those people have peer pressure more than my own kids who have their share, they think that Michael was really stupid to mess up all that sponsorship, they understand that the money is fleeting and he should have capitalized on it while he could, he will be back on top when he performs well in the pool, we Americans LOVE our sports. He hopefully will get the drinking and partying out of his system and grow up to be okay, hopefully Chris Brown will get the help he needs to at least move forward from his abusive past, he was a victim too. As far as Miley goes, she will maybe learn to not be so public with every step of her life, or have we passed that point with everyone having a camera now days and they all must remember for all the fans that want to hold you on a pedistal their are three times as many trying to knock you off, whether you ment or want to be a role model that is what has been dealt along with the fame comes eyes everywhere. Good luck to all those mentioned in the article that they may move forward and take care. Be the people they want to be.

Kiki February 11, 2009, 10:56 AM

Oh my, I didn’t say~Thanks for the article it was great!

wordsRmylife February 11, 2009, 11:44 AM

For me it’s easy. I don’t allow television characters or stars to be their role models. My kids watch television shows and take it for what it is. We always have discussion time to discuss things going on in the world so they were pretty much aware of the good bad and ugly before they saw it on the Headlines. I have to be their first role model. I’m not perfect at it, but that is the beauty of it. My kids see me on top of the world as well as struggling and if necessary, we talk about it.

Travis February 11, 2009, 3:30 PM

It’s not Phelps’ fault that the US government has brainwashed its citizens into thinking that marijuana is bad. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that marijuana is both safer and healthier than alcohol.

Sheryl February 11, 2009, 6:27 PM

To all you folks out there who are foolishly comparing yourselves to Michael Phelps,when you have won 7 or more gold metals feel free to do anything you want without infringing on the rights of others. Until then, bug off.

Stan February 11, 2009, 6:46 PM

I have a better Idea, let’s put Pap’s and hackers who go after Entertainers who are minors in Jail and maybe these kids will have a better chance of growing up like other kids their age and not be forced to act like adults all the time and always looking over their shoulders for someone trying to catch them messing up, which lets face it is a part of growing up and learning.

nancyinthesky February 12, 2009, 11:40 AM

Where was this outrage from the Moms when Phelps was arrested for drunk driving?
Taking a hit off a bong when you’re an accomplished ADULT harms no one. Not even the little kids and their mommies who look up to Phelps as a role model. It’s a great opportunity for parents to talk to their young children about drug and alcohol use - the message being that if you’re going to smoke pot (which most adult will eventually) make sure you do it with people who you can trust. And maybe, just maybe it’s time to legalize pot and teach kids that alcohol is the bigger danger to their health and to others.

Anonymous February 12, 2009, 12:37 PM

Phelps didn’t own up to it. His agent tried to pay the tabloid to keep the picture from surfacing.

That mom lives in bazarro fucking world and she’s lying to her child.

eric February 12, 2009, 2:39 PM

nancyinthesky, you are amazing

jeffrey February 16, 2009, 11:03 AM

can i have a whopper

jeffrey  February 16, 2009, 11:07 AM

oh wait with fries please

jakob February 16, 2009, 11:09 AM

yes sir that well be 10.95 please pull up to the next window

jeffrey  February 16, 2009, 11:11 AM

no that is over priced like yor mom

jeffrey  February 16, 2009, 11:14 AM

ill go to mcdonalds then i dont need my whopper i like big macs more any way

bob the manager February 16, 2009, 11:14 AM

sir you must pay or we well take your fod and give it to the homeless people

sally February 16, 2009, 11:17 AM

wtf are yall talkinf about ideots!

danny February 16, 2009, 11:19 AM

i like eggs

sally  February 17, 2009, 1:00 PM

stop doing that

sally  February 17, 2009, 1:00 PM

stop doing that

G Mo February 20, 2009, 8:22 PM

OK, I know this is a Mom site but I had to read, and I have to say, excellent articles.

I think from a Dad’s POV you need to get him involved. He is the one that sets the moral behaviour standard in the family(scientifically proven fact).

Most Dads will put the foot down to a degree where it will over the edge, but trust his instincts. Whether he puts the fear of God into these wayward kids or scares them with scared straight tactics, he is protecting your kids from further drug abuse. Mom instincts are to coddle and that will not encourage them to not do drugs. Trust me, I seen this upclose and Dad does the job while no Dad involvement sends the kids straight into hell with drug abuse.

I had my share of close calls with my new wifes kids, I was the one driving them to the hospital inches from death. I had to call their Dad into action and it worked. Me being their step Dad held no weight with them because I could not be the disciplinarian that the real Dad was to them as I am to my own kid.

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