Raising children can be difficult. Parents are constantly questioning and complaining about the things that have a negative influence on children. This ranges from toys and video games for being too violent, TV and computers for being major distractions from their studies, and social-networking sites for encouraging procrastination.
If we put all of this aside, let’s talk about the real influence on children’s lives. Role-models. Exactly who are our role models?
If we ask a child: “Who’s your role model?” Do you expect your child to reply ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’? Hilary Clinton? Or even Nelson Mandela? No, not at all.
Growing up in a world that is constantly bombarding with gossip as ‘news’, media consumption, consumerism and materialism, it is not surprising to hear children are worshipping rockstars, pro-athletes, actors/actresses, and even animated characters such as Dora the Explorer– instead of their parents.
Let’s just focus on celebrities. Why are celebrities considered as ‘role-models’? Is it because they’re more talented? Rich? Famous? Glamourous? Successful, perhaps?
Obviously, there has been a lot of concern about the significant impact on children’s lives, especially when we encounter so many celebrities up-close and personal in everyday of our lives. Some music and concerts that have adult lyrics can make kids feel more grown up when they sing them. The skimpy clothing that is being worn by young female celebrities and pop stars have little girls as young as five or six wanting to imitate their style.
The funny thing is, is that when the media reports a celebrity going to rehab or even dressing that is deemed as ‘inappropriate’ for young children, parents start to complain and regard that celebrity as a ‘bad role model’.
Isn’t this a bit ironic? Aren’t parents supposed to be their children’s ‘role models’? What has the world come to when parents can’t be role-models for their own kids– when they let celebrities do it instead?
They may be rich and famous, but celebrities aren’t that different from ‘normal people’. They’re human beings just like the rest of us — they have flesh, blood, heart and emotions. They didn’t sign up to be role-models — they signed up to pursue their dreams of acting and singing.
Just because they’re in the spotlight and closely-monitored, that doesn’t mean that they should be 100% perfect. Regardless of who you are and how old you are, you will always make mistakes.
Young popstars, for instance, are still trying to grow up and going through stages of life. Miley Cyrus, for instance, has been highly criticised in the media as a ‘bad’ role-model. Her success has been built on the backbone of young audiences, and like any other ambitious individual – she is very brave to move on and ‘grow up’ in order to experiment and accomplish more. But because she has been ‘Hannah’ for many years, can you expect her to be Disney’s pawn forever? Is it wrong to grow up? If you’re someone’s robot, how will you be able to live life and be true to yourself?Everyone is entitled to live their lives their own way: have fun, experiment with life, make mistakes and live life to the max — no-one should pressure or force others to live in a certain way. Just put yourselves in their shoes. Even though you know that your actions are being watched, how could you possibly protect and/or prevent every bad thing you say or do?
So really, it’s not fair to place the blame on celebrities who we don’t even know. People shouldn’t even trust what the media says as they tend to erase major details in order to spin ‘news’ in a certain way, hoping to manipulate you and your views.
In the end, parents are the ones who are responsible for our kids, not celebrities. As parents, they must realize that how their children turn out in life is in largely due to 1) how they are raised at home and 2) the time and efforts that parents and siblings put into them. But remember, if you put restrictions on your children, they won’t be able to ‘grow up’ properly and ‘learn’ life. Just as long as you talk to them and steer them in the right (moral) direction, things should be okay. The rest is up to your children. They can’t always be kids forever.