Every little kid looks up to someone. In the early years, usually it’s someone within the family: first the parents, then the older siblings, cousins or parents friends. But as years go by, children start having other interests, and they shift towards people they don’t know personally, such as the cool neighbour who rides an awesome motorcycle, the popular girl in school and above all the celebrity of the year.
It’s inevitable. Celebrities are all over the Media. They are beautiful, cheerful and usually come with lots of cool accessories, like convertible cars, bling bling jewellery and crazy hairstyles. Whether they’re athletes, leading actors of the little ones favourite TV shows or pop singers, its no use to fight it: kids want to be like their beloved celebrity.
So, suddenly we have strangers being role models to our kids. And, as we all know, not every celebrity is a good one. At first, they seek fame at whatever cost and are the first ones to say how happy they are with all the attention they’re having and how grateful they are to all their fans, even the younger ones. But as pressure and fame rise, as their private lives are probed, some of them just lose their minds and start doing everything they shouldn’t do in public: smoking, drinking, using drugs, releasing sex tapes or showing the finger to the cameras. All the glamour and glitter fades and we are stuck with just another spoiled and messed up human being, that couldn’t care less for the fans.
What can a parent do? Well, on one hand, we can hope we’ve done a good job showing our kids what’s acceptable and what’s not and wait for them to see for themselves that their favourite person isn’t always that cool after all. On the other hand, we should, from an early stage, teach our children that celebrities are not super heroes. They can be extremely talented in some field, but they’re also human like the rest of us. They have fears, they have bad days, and sometimes they make wrong decisions. Most of all, when doing this, we shouldn’t be judgemental. Kids, especially Tweens and teens, don’t react well to prohibitions. For instance, we shouldn’t forbid our daughters to listen to Miley Cyrus songs just because her video clips are almost explicit, but we should let them know that girls don’t need to show their body like that to get attention and be desirable. Something that, perhaps, Miley’s parents forgot to do.
Filipa Fonseca Silva is a Portuguese writer and advertising creative. Mother of one toddler with another baby on the way, she felt the urge to share with other mums the incredible things motherhood taught her and no one talks about.
When she’s not writing about motherhood, fashion and lifestyle in her blog, she writes novels. Her first novel Thirty Something (nothing’s how we dreamed it would be) has been widely praised and recently reached the Top 100 on Amazon. Her second one, The Strange Year of Vanessa M. was launched last June. You can find them both at any online bookstore.
Besides writing Filipa loves painting, collecting shoes and eating watermelon.