Dealing with your children when Hannah Montana was part of the family

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How do young people react when their wholesome TV role model adopts a radically different image?

It’s been an interesting few days watching the TV and Facebook with regards to Miley Cyrus at the VMA awards ceremony.
She’s been a part of our family for quite a few years now, in that we have seen loads of Hannah Montana episodes, watched her movies, listened to her music etc. I have enjoyed it all as much as my twin girls who are now 13.

It’s one of those things that we have come to expect when we see a star emerge at a very young age – when are they going to lose the ‘good girl/boy’ image? It’s inevitable and so very very sad. Yes they absolutely have a choice, but I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in ‘celebrityville’.

We all know there’s exploitation happening and the sexualizing of women in particular, but the problem with starting this life so early is that it’s exciting, you are making money and you don’t get a chance to mature normally. I think they get used to adults making decisions for them, and it’s just easier to carry on doing that.

They also get used to being famous and having money – what tween or teenager would not like that? They don’t understand the downside and all the pressures that come with this kind of life, so when they get told you have to do this, this and that in order to stay popular and have all the money and more of it, what do we think they will do? It happens in front of us all the time.

Keep talking to children about what they see
I think it’s very important to keep talking to our children about what we see going on, as this is very confusing to them when the person that has been a role model to them is suddenly sending a very different message. They get put off at first, but they have been watching the person for so long that subconsciously, I wonder what goes on with this sudden change? It becomes normal to see this change (in many celebrities), so why should it not be normal for them to emulate the same change? I think it’s also very important to keep the person separate from their behaviour.

I love the comment from Joan Cusack in the movie ‘Raising Helen’ when she drags her niece from a hotel room just before a potential losing of virginity could have taken place. She turns to the young boy and says ‘You are not a bad person, but this is very bad behaviour.’

It really drives me mad when Christians get branded as being judgemental by commenting on the wrong we see in this world. Yes, obviously, there are times when Christians can be very judgemental and we should know that’s not ok, but do we then not have a voice? Someone pointed out to me this week that we speak under a greater authority when we speak to the wrongdoings in this world. Our authority is the Bible, God’s word. The person throwing the ‘judgement card’ is also speaking under a greater authority and is doing the very same thing. We absolutely have a voice in our world, but I think what will make a huge difference is when we separate the person from their behaviour. God certainly does that with us, so why, if we are living for Him and talking under His authority, should we not do the same?

I have spoken to my girls and told them that what Miley did on stage by her actions and underlying messages is unacceptable as a young adult girl. Miley is not the disgusting person here, she is still a person of worth and great value, but her behaviour is completely disgusting. I know many celebrities say that others should not look to them as role models, because they don’t want that title, but I think that’s just a cop out to be able to do exactly as they please and not feel or take any responsibility for it. The fact is that when you are in that position, people are going to follow you no matter what.

I also don’t go along with the saying ‘to each his own’ as this is also a cop out to not worry about values and standards. Think of the end result here….are we really happy with each person having their own set of rules for life? We certainly need a plumbline for guidance – I, for one, am very glad for the Bible and the unchanging wisdom it contains.

I do hope that Miley gets to see or hear of the letter that Rihanna wrote because it is not damning and shows the love of God for her, but I also love a post from a former stripper that says we should reach out to those around us first who will actually hear what we have to say in speaking to their behaviour and loving and supporting them in person. We have loads of people around us who need to feel the physical love of Jesus.

As a closing comment, it is often on my heart to pray for these young celebrities, and that’s certainly something we can all do.

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