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Teenagers and Celebrity – How to Talk to Kids about Celebrity Controversy

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Teens are constantly exposed to the shenanigans and tragedies of the lives of celebrities:  the death due to overdose of one of the stars of Glee, Lindsay Lohan’s continual arrests and rehab, and most recently Miley Cyrus’ unfortunate performance on the MTV awards, to name only a few.  When such events occur, they usually are given much airtime in the news and social media.  Rather than allow teens to make up their own opinions or perhaps be influenced by such events, we should view these occurrences as opportunities to talk to our teens.

There have been many blogs and posts about Cyrus’ performance on various parenting sites yet one which caught my eye provided excellent advice for parents of both teenage girls and boys alike was Eric Clapp’s post.

Mr. Clapp provides the following advice to start changing society’s objectification of women and and the glorification of celebrity lifestyle:

  • start with small conversations at home that treat all people as worthy and equal
  • model and encourage your children to have the courage to speak out against the forces in our society that objectify women or glorify celebrity lifestyle
  • help children understand that value comes from being respected and being loved as we respect and love the people who matter to us

Sage advice.  Yet we must keep in mind that not all celebrity attention is doom and gloom.  In August, Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech at the Teen Choice Awards highlighted personal life lessons gleaned along his road to stardom.  He shared how he has never had a job he was better than, and that opportunity looks a lot like work.  He explained that being sexy is not about looks; it’s about being smart, kind and generous.  Finally, he encouraged kids to find fulfillment by refusing to live “inside the world” but by creating their own life.  His speech is definitely worth viewing with your children as a prompt for discussion.

I will close with one of my favourite Winston Churchill quotes: A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Go out there optimists and grab those opportunities!

Nancy Alessandra Remondi

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Author: nremondi

Like many of my students, I am a Third Culture Kid - well, a Third Culture Big Kid. In my adult life, I have lived and worked as an middle school educator in Japan, Hong Kong, Jordan, England and the United Arab Emirates. In 2009, I returned to Hong Kong to take my first post as a middle school counselor where I have truly found my niche. My days are filled with opportunities to connect with students, colleagues and parents. I absolutely love my job. When not connecting with the school community, I enjoy all this great city has to offer - from its hiking trails and beaches to the crowded markets of Kowloon and the cosmopolitan chic of Central. My passions include travel, photography, service work, food, cinema, literature and the arts.

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