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Paris Hilton! What's Her Mother To Do?!

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Dr. Wendy Walsh: Some friends of mine recently became elated when their drug-addicted son turned 18. Finally: The next time he committed a petty crime (such as stealing a neighbor's DVD player so he could get his fix), the judge could order him into court-appointed drug therapy instead of sending him back into the arms of his parents. My friends couldn't privately afford to pay for a residential drug-treatment program, nor could they make their scoundrel son stay in one. Sometimes, even good parents have children who are completely unmanageable and out-of-control -- so it takes a village to help them.

Paris Hilton; Kathy Hilton
I thought about those friends this week when Paris Hilton, 29, got arrested in Las Vegas for cocaine possession. It's her third arrest in a short time. I can imagine her mother pulling out her hair. Parenting adult children is a sticky situation. First of all, our society (and courts) regard them as independent people solely responsible for their own actions. That's true, but in this current recession, many adult children are moving back home -- and are behaving like ... well, like children. Even worse, some parents are treating their adult children like preschoolers!

While I have no issue with multigenerational living arrangements (which are probably more normal for humans than isolated nuclear families without community support), I think the hardest thing for parents to do is to let their children be responsible for themselves. Those lessons should come earlier than adulthood. In the book "Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up before They Grow Old," authors Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen say that too many parents "disable" their teenagers. The Allens' suggestions include giving teens real feedback that contains constructive criticism as well as compliments, providing adult connections that teach teens how to relate to grownups in an adult world, and ultimately to do less for teens.

They also advise that parents require their teens to earn money and be responsible for their own spending.Wealthy parents face a unique challenge with this. However, while their teen's part-time job may spit out a paycheck that barely contributes to the lifestyle that Mommy and Daddy have set him/her up with, it will still teach the teen valuable business skills. (Question: Why wasn't Paris Hilton taught the family business?!)

To all those parents who've coddled their "little angels" a decade too long, I remind you that it's never too late to begin tough love.Make clear rules for adult children -- rules that have logical consequences that you are prepared to follow through on. Words don't work, mama, but action sure does. I wonder when Paris' family will tighten their purse strings as a punishment?

next: Cynthia Rowley Designs Fashionable Band-Aids
15 comments so far | Post a comment now
Scott Murray August 31, 2010, 2:51 PM

Actually, it’s been clearly stated that Paris makes her own money (you know from her own business enterprises, her perfume ranges, her acting, her music, her realtiy shows, modelling, etc?) and doesn’t rely on her parents. Sure, she had a pretty safe springboard but why should that be held against her. Should she have started her own career by living in a cardboard box on the street?

XXXX August 31, 2010, 5:03 PM

she needs a nose job!

michelle September 1, 2010, 9:31 AM

Seriously, did you not bother to do even a basic google search for this piece? The Hiltons have no real family money left, and they no longer own the “family business.” Maybe Paris can ask the Blackstone Group for an internship — lol. So how do you teach your child “rules” when your income and lifestyle depend on her breaking those rules and getting as much media attention as possible?

Monica September 4, 2010, 8:22 PM

Paris Hilton is a grown woman and she needs to take care of her grown problems. Even if a grown child moved back into my home that still does not obligate me to bail them out of their grown up problems. If you were living on your own and then decided to move back in, it doesn’t mean that I would be taking on the responsibility to take care of your grown behind. What problem they have, they take care of. You get arrested you find a way to get yourself out of jail. Tough love!

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Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

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I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t think you can measure life in terms of years. I think longevity doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with happiness. I mean happiness comes from facing challenges and going out on a limb and taking risks. If you’re not willing to take a risk for something you really care about, you might as well be dead.

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She failed in most aspect but her family members identify

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If you really want you can look the other way and not talk about it. Don’t give up your morals for anything. Generally this will lead to a mistaken and unproductive life.

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Pay no attention to what the critics say… Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!

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Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.

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Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

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