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Culture
08/28/13

Who’s Influencing Kids These Days?

miley-cyrus

After Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance, many of us were left scratching our heads wondering where have our children’s role models gone?

Looking back through a timeline of photos, videos, social media platforms, and previous performances, were you really surprised by the former Disney star’s less than exemplary behavior?

Truth be told, I wasn’t surprised at all. Miley isn’t the first to give us something shock worthy on TV to talk about and certainly won’t be the last.  But even more shocking to me than the over-sexualized, nearly naked, bump and grind on stage, was the quick shot of Miley’s mom giving her a standing ovation after her performance.

Having been in the spotlight as a young performer, I was often asked who my role models and idols were. My answer was never a celebrity and always stayed the same: my mom and dad.

Yes, there were entertainers, singers, actors, athletes, and musicians I admired. But my Mom and Dad had the most influence on my decisions and were who I modeled my life after. My parents poured their love into me through teaching, training, encouragement–and most importantly through rules and boundaries. .

Not only did my parents speak to me in truth, but they modeled their words with their actions, applying the same love and discipline in their own lives as they did regarding my career choices.

This doesn’t mean I never made bad choices or went against what I had been taught. Sure I did. But my parents’ boundaries taught me that I had the ability to say no if it wasn’t in my best interest. So, when I was of legal age, choosing otherwise hurt my conscience because I knew better.

So who are your kids watching the most?  You might convince yourself its a popular boy band, a movie actress, a country singer, or a gold-medal athlete—but don’t be naïve. Kids may seem to follow their favorite celebrities every move, but the one they’re seeing up close and personal is you.

Whether you are an aunt, uncle, grandparent, sister, brother, friend, or teacher, remember that you may be the greatest role model in their lives. Kids are waiting for your approval, your warnings, your reactions,  your guidance, and watching whether you do as you say. You have more influence than any untouchable and unattainable celebrity seen on a screen or heard through a speaker.

Celebrity role models are fun to have, but it’s your job as a parent or mentor to discuss role models with your children and help guide them toward a good choice. Below are 4 key talking points to discussing celebrity behavior with our children who may be influenced by them.

  1. Listen. Be open for discussion, not just criticism. Ask your kids why they like a particular celebrity and what attracts them to be a devoted fan. Be conversational so they know they’ve been heard before you share your opinion and direction.

  1. Help your child understand that many young entertainers are guided by a team of people whose ultimate goal is to make money. Young celebrities can just as easily be manipulated and given an image to sell even with good intentions. Listening to or watching interviews of that celebrity may give your child a better understanding of their personal worldviews and their character.

  1. Discuss the content. Explain how the song lyrics we listen to and the images we watch affects our minds. Encourage them to be aware of what they’re really feeding their body. Is it truth or a lie? Uplifting or derogatory? Repetition will create habits. What habits do they think they’re forming based on their role model choice?

  1. Talk about self worth and value. From whom and where does it come from? Who sets that standard? Your parents, peers, friends, the media, or God? How does the way you dress, talk, and act reflect your beauty on the inside and outside?

Just as Miley watched her mom give her a round of applause for all the world to see, kids who look up to you are watching your actions.  Are you willing to step up and take on the responsibility?

Candace Cameron Bure - Candace Cameron Bure is an actress, author, and mother of three.

Comments

  1. I’m not a parent, but I totally agree and love this article. I have little cousins who I love so much and I definitely don’t want them looking up to people like Miley. I hope I can be a positive role model in their lives, and reading this article is very helpful. Thanks! :)

  2. StrawberryGirl says:

    It’s kind of ironic that this also involved the real life son of Mrs. Bure’s brother’s t.v. dad! (Whew!)

    I’d say be openly critical of entertainers and athletes who do bad things and praise the good things that they do. I think it teaches kids that character and personal behavior matter even over talent and good looks. Also, look past the fog of manipulative PR and image-spinning. It wasn’t all of that long ago that Miss Cyrus claimed to be a Christian back when her audience consisted of tween girls but her dad said he wanted to be her friend while her mom has long been the country-fried version of Dina Lohan. As the saying goes, there are no good girls gone bad just bad girls found out.

  3. Melinda says:

    Wise words from a well adjusted young woman. Funny, my 8 year old is all into reruns of Full House…so glad it’s a pretty decent show still! Thank you, Candace.

  4. Grace says:

    This article is on point. Thank you for your insight.

  5. Linda P. says:

    Wonderful article on celebrity and role models. My children are still young yet (6 & 8) so they haven’t been exposed to many of these tv characters. I really try to control what they watch and listen to. What saddens me most is there are no real kid friendly shows on television anymore. Shows like the ones I grew up on – The Cosby Show, Facts of Life, (and yes) Full House and Growing Pains – just don’t exist anymore. I have yet to come across a kid friendly Sitcom. Even the ones on Disney are a little mature for my kids yet. What I find us doing is watching reruns of the Cosby Show in TVLand – and luckily as of now, my kids like it!! I wish TV producers would try to go back to creating good, family friendly entertainment!!!

    • Jenny says:

      I agree, Linda. When my kids do watch TV, my husband and I have gotten them to enjoy The Cosby Show and The Little House on the Prairie (their favorite). Quality shows with very little to edit out. Thanks TV Land and Hallmark Channel!

  6. Little Things says:

    Wonderful article Candace, I completely agree! I know my nieces and nephews always prove that they’re watching every move I make, just like I did to my aunts and uncles growing up (and of course parents).

  7. Ronda Stewart says:

    I checked on my 14 year old daughter the other day, in her room, and she was watching FULL HOUSE reruns! Thanks for being a positive role model for young girls for since you were one your self! God Bless You!

  8. Linda says:

    Love love love. I am nobody famous, but I as well look up to my parents and brother. They have let me run into brick walls, but never told me “I told you so” because it would’ve done more harm than good. My relationship with my family was never easy, but we made it work, through to good times and the bad times. I look back on my 25 years of life and I can’t even think of a time where my parents, specifically my mom, wasn’t there for me. She is my best friend. The person I really do share clothes with, and have Friday lunch and a movie dates with. Now that I’m out of college and on my own, its easier to share everything with her, even my struggles. But at the same time, she knows when to be serious and be there parent.
    My dad was always the more serious one, but we still share those tender moments and he’s always there for me, especially those “dad, this is broken, will you fix it?” moments.

  9. Well said…….

  10. Tammy-Colorado says:

    Candace – God bless you for your words on this incident. My boys are all grown now, but I really like your insight and advice to parents of young kids. One thing that really jumped out at me was the fact that Miley’s mom gave her a standing ovation after the performance. Wow. I had not seen that part, and it made me sad.

  11. Jill says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Candace! I whole heartedly agree with you on parents being the number one role models, and our children are watching and learning from our choices and actions. Thank you for being a positive Christian woman and mother! Inspiring! I admire you and have been a fan since I watched Full House while babysitting back in the 90s! Still watching it on Nick!

  12. LMunson says:

    Wonderfully written article, Candace. So refreshing to see a young person in the tv business who gets it. Clearly your parents did an excellent job raising you. Who is a role model? YOU ARE. Thank you for being willing to be a part of the Hallmark channel who promote family programming. Their movies are my favorites. It must feel good to make those kinds of movies you can be proud of and ones that your children can watch. Thank you for speaking out on this and for setting such a good example.

  13. Lauren says:

    This is a great article. I totally agree too. I don’t have kids, but I know enough of them that what you say and do does matter. It should matter to an adult as well. You know what? I almost was going to stop watching anything on MTV because I don’t feel they handled this situation well. I am assuming there are fewer rules regarding what’s shown on that channel, but really?

  14. Kristin says:

    Candace: You make a point that has been largely ignored (in my limited viewing of this fiasco) and that is the role of her mother. If your mom is proud of you for behaving in such a demeaning way – there are serious and systemic issues.. Granted, there is a larger issue in society with young women using sexuality as a way to prove maturity which is just disturbing and shows how little they know about maturity. But I think this situation is primarily about a celebrity living in a bubble world and celebrity parents having the “I’m still relevant” need to the extent that they celebrate the exploitation of their own daughter. Miley is 20 and should know better but her brain hasn’t finished forming, apparently she smokes a bunch of pot, and is surrounded by not one real adult (including her parents). I hated her performance and simply can’t understand why she thought that was a good thing for her career. But I also feel sorry for her because she thought that was a good thing for her career and no one thought to tell her otherwise.

  15. Lisa says:

    I read this article and I completely agree with your opinion. It is a shame that Miley is going to such extremes to shed her Disney image. She does have a lot of young fans that do look up to her. Thank you for writing this.

  16. Charity Cooke says:

    Candace I just love you and what you stand for! Thank you for being vocal and standing for Christ! Your wisdom and lifestyle are very inspiring!

  17. Jennifer says:

    WONDERFUL!! So perfect for all the talk going on about this subject! THIS is very useful! Thank you for sharing your close up experience. As both a parent and a daughter- I agree wholeheartedly!

  18. i agree with what you are saying and we need to see what kids are watching and keep and eye on the content

  19. Amelia says:

    I’m 17 and not a parent, but I totally agree with this article. I have cousins from ages of 12 to 1 who I love so much and they look up to me. so I definitely don’t want them looking up to people like Miley. I hope I can be a positive role model in their lives.

    I know,I looked up to DJ on Full House when I was little 5-7, Miley when I was about 10, Taylor swift and Demi Lovato 12-now but I always look up to my friends and family that are in my life.
    It is a shame that Miley is going to such extremes to shed her Disney image, I wish she knew that most of her fans will always think of her as Miley from Hannah Montana just like i will always think of you as DJ from Full house, Demi as Mitchie Torres from Camp Rock, Hilary Duff as Lizzie McGuire from Lizzie McGuire and Raven-Symoné as Raven Baxter from That’s so Raven. It’s just how I see you all.

  20. When I first saw the title of your blog, I kind of snickered. Oh, the blasted prejudices we have. When I saw that you wrote, “Where have our children’s role models gone?” I was about to do a couple of linguistic back-handed flips on you. “It’s US,” I was going to say, “the parents!” You said that, though. I applaud you for not telling us to hide our children in their rooms.

    It is almost a given that the kids will be exposed to these types of shenanigans. We have to talk about them. Be honest. Be funny. Be the role model for your kids.

  21. brikko says:

    Good stuff, Candace!

  22. Iris says:

    You are an inspiration

  23. sofia says:

    I didn’t know the part about her mom. Shame on her. I get that a lot of the women in this industry try to be seductive & sexy…. but Miley’s performance was just nasty and disturbing in so many ways.

  24. Laëtitia says:

    Great article. Full of sense. You’ve translated perfectly what I thought about this.
    A lesson for all parents, not only in US.
    Thanks. Laëtitia from France.

  25. Well said! When everyone was posting this week,”What happened to sweet Miley??”, I saw the video of her mom’s ovation and thought,”THAT’S what happened to Miley.” And on a side note, my 13,12, and 8 year old started singing the Full House song at the table the other night and were SHOCKED when their dad and I joined in(at full volume). They couldn’t figure out how we knew it lol Turns out they love watching reruns at their grandmas house(we don’t have TV)!! Yay for quality TV shows! And may I say, your parents obviously did a wonderful job with your brother and you =)

  26. Linda Hlasta says:

    Well said. I am a grandparent now, and my grandchildren have said some stuff that made me change some behaviors (I quit smoking). I also just got a funny picture from my daughter of one of my grandsons eating French fries, “like Grandad”. You just never know what stuff our kids are seeing and emulating!

  27. Hallie says:

    Hey yes I totally agree. I think Miley isn’t the only one. What about Lady Gaga? They all play a role in the entertainment business. Selena Gomez new video? The upcoming stars are upto no good. I watched Full House, Dick Van Dyke Show, Perfect Strangers and I must say that was real entertainment. It’s not the kids who are being effected by this I think its the whole mankind. The people who are handling the media should also be blamed who are putting these young stars to this path

  28. Erin says:

    I think you’re article is fantastic but what I don’t understand is why something like Miley being inappropriate on National TV is getting so much media attention? There are some real important issues being by-passed because as unfortunate as it is, “sex sells”. Apparently the parents of these young women are more concerned with money and fame nomatter how negative, than what it’s going to do to their children mentally and emotionally in the long run. I miss 80′s and 90′s sitcoms. They were family friendly and always taught an important life lesson nomatter how cheesy. Thank you Candace for not falling into tbe negative part of fame.

  29. Being a mother of four boys I’m looking at this from a different angle. I want my boys to know that girls like ‘that’ are not the ones you bring home to your mother. If they don’t respect themselves they will not respect you either. Long gone are the days of courting and true family values. My husband and I are trying hard to teach them what a family is and to respect one another.

    Thank you Candace for your words from a mother’s eye and great role models for you to have!!

  30. Ray says:

    Okay, here is a slightly different viewpoint. Personally I like Miley as an actress and a lot of her music, ALTHOUGH…even I think her VMA performance went to far. Actually, her performance did nothing to show off ANY of her talents. The one thing everyone has to remember is that little Miley of Hannah Montanna has GROWN UP. She obviously needs a better group of people to help guide her in her career and in the area of public relations. I still have faith that she will get through this stage.
    The other point I wanted to make is that if you are a parent with young kids, then is it not YOUR responsibility to make sure that they do not watch shows that are known to be explicit such as the VMA’s? I also wish that there were more shows on like there used to be…like the one’s that Candace and her brother were in, because that was good clean family entertainment for all ages. Thank goodness for reruns and dvd’s. The movie “MOONLIGHT & MISTLETOE” is one of my most favorite holiday movies. (Thank you Candace for that movie) Just remember that NONE of us are perfect and we ALL make mistakes. Isn’t there something somewhere about living in a glass house and throwing rocks? Just saying.